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Dorset’s biggest food and drink brands
IN honour of World Food Day, we thought it appropriate to celebrate the very best food and drink that Dorset has to offer.
From iced coffee and cheese to baby food and booze, let’s take a look at the varied collection of food and drink offerings from across the region.
If we’re going to talk about Dorset foods, few can claim the success had by the cereal brand founded in 1989 by Terry Crabb.
Headquartered in Old Wareham Road, Poole, Dorset Cereals is the alternative to the muesli giant Alpen and has been a stablemate of Jordans and Ryvita since 2014, when it was purchased by Associated British Foods for a reported £50m.
In 2018, the company left its Poundbury base after 18 years and moved to a dedicated part of the Ryvita site in Old Wareham Road. It employed 115 people at the time.
In 2020, Dorset Cereals was the UK’s 16th best-selling cereal brand, with sales of £18m.
Jimmy’s Iced Coffee
A relatively recent addition to the list, the Christchurch based ice coffee brand founded by siblings Suzie Owen and namesake Jim Cregan tapped into a rising market in 2010.
Jim Cregan developed a taste for iced coffee when travelling in Australia.
After being turned down when he asked the makers of his favourite brand whether he could bring it to the UK, he teamed up with his sister Suzie to create their own. The first version of the product was mixed at her coffee shop, Blend in Christchurch.
It is now stocked in 5,000 shops including Waitrose, Tesco, M&S, Boots and most recently the Co-Op
Jimmy’s has had at least one takeover bid, turning down an offer of more than £5m in 2019.
Baby and toddler food still counts as food, right? Regardless, the Organix brand is a true Dorset success story.
Founded in 1992, Organix was the vision of campaigner Lizzie Vann who set up the baby finger food and toddler snack brand in Christchurch.
Now headquartered in Commercial Road, Bournemouth, the brand has a market share of more than 36 per cent. In recent years, it launched the award-winning Gruffalo Claws range.
Acquired by the Swiss-based international Hero Group in 2008, Organix had a turnover of £31m in 2019 and employed 52 people.
Plenty of tea
Clearly the people of Dorset love a brew just as much as the next Northerner as we boast two highly successful tea brands with international flavours.
Firstly, Dorset Tea. Launched in 2009, this is the most famous of the brands belonging to Spicers – a business that started in 1934 when Keith Spicer used a bicycle to deliver the tea he blended at home in Bournemouth.
While the commercial department and tea blenders are based in Ferndown, Keith Spicer Ltd’s production was centralised in North Shields.
Keith Spicer Ltd had a turnover of £21m in 2019 and estimates that customers have drunk 1.6bn cups of Dorset Tea.
Elsewhere, husband and wife team Mike and Lorraine Brehme founded Beaminster-based Clipper Teas in 1984.
Clipper Teas became the UK’s first Fairtrade tea company a decade later and arrived in supermarkets in 1996.
It was purchased in 2012 by Royal Wessanen, now named Ecotone. With more than 150 products sold in 50 countries, Clipper Teas says it is the world’s largest producer of Fairtrade tea.
Dorset Blue Vinney
A traditional blue cheese made near Sturminster Newton, Dorset Blue Vinney was once made in every farmhouse in Dorset until production stopped during the World War II.
After Michael Davies resurrected a 300-year-old recipe in the 1980s, the Dorset Blue company has continued to make its famous blue cheese for almost 40 years.
In 1998, they were the first food producer in the country to be awarded a PGI (Protected Geographical Indication).
Bit of booze
Fancy a pint? Or maybe even a shot? Either way, Dorset producers have you covered.
Starting with the Blandford brewed Badger Beer which has been tantalising the taste buds of drinkers in Dorset since 1777.
Umbrellaed under The Hall & Woodhouse brand, the family-owned business has more than 180 pubs across the south of England and sells 16 million bottles of its Badger Beer in supermarkets alone.
In the year ending January 2020, Hall & Woodhouse made a pre-tax profit of £6.9m.
A botanical vodka brand with a splash of Dorset salt, Shanty Spirit Ltd is based in Poole and can often be seen at food and drink festivals throughout the region.
Last but by no means least, Purbeck Cider. Described by the company as “nestled in the heart of the Purbeck hills in Dorset,” the cider brand produces premium ciders “from some of Dorset’s long-forgotten traditional trees, including those in our own orchards”.
Joe Hartle launched the Purbeck Cider Company in 2006 and is now producing more than 200,000 litres a year.
His best-selling Dorset Draft is also sold in London, Somerset and the West Country.
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