Morrisons gives small Cheshire foodmakers a chance to shine

Liverpool Road store will be location for pioneering new scheme

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In Cheshire we have a wealth of independent food and beverage producers selling quality products like cheese, eggs, beer, gin and even pickled onions.

But how often do these hardworking artisans get the chance to put their goodies centre stage on the shelves of a supermarket giant?

The answer is probably rarely or never.

Now there are more reasons to shop at Morrisons as the supermarket responds to customer demand by giving local food makers the opportunity to showcase the 2000 ir wares from under its influential roof.

Morrisons is piloting the idea at some stores including its Liverpool Road outlet in Upton , Chester , as it strives to stand out in a competitive marketplace.

Morrisons supermarket at the Bache

To help decide which suppliers win the golden ticket, Morrisons held an X-Factor style competition at Lache Community Centre where producers were introduced to wannabe customers for a chat but also to share samples of their wares. Guests were invited to rate the offer on a score card.

Henry Cooke, a partner in Clotton Hall Dairy at Tarporley , said of the Morrisons initiative: “It’s great. I’m a very young company. I wasn’t going to touch supermarkets for quite a while but when they came to me and offered me the chance to take part in the local scheme I was very attracted by it. We started off with local shops but this was an opportunity we didn’t want to miss. Hopefully we will get something out of this.”

Explaining the product, he continued: “We’ve called it Cheshire clotted cream because there’s not really anyone around the Cheshire area that makes clotted cream. It’s more usually associated with the south west – Cornwall and Devon. We want to cut the food miles out, support our own farm, push local produce and people seem to be loving the final product.

“It’s taken a lot of work to get it where it is now. I think it’s starting to pay off.”

Brigid Killen, owner of Ellesmere Port-based Mrs Picklepot.

Brigid Killen, otherwise known as Mrs Picklepot of Ellesmere Port , sells a range of pickles, piccalillis and chutneys with an appeal that combines nostalgia for homemade recipes and a modern twist.

She said: “I’ve got a range of pickled onions and nine flavours. I’d been doing food festivals and markets before then. I had a stall at the butchers’ market at Wrexham. But I upscaled last year. In that year I’ve been taken on by some big wholesalers so just moving into the retail market now.”

“There aren’t any other flavoured pickled onions. I’ve got the classic and the traditional pickled onion, balsamic and the shallots and then I’ve got a range of another six flavours. I’ve got hot ones and then with honey, garlic, sherry, cider vinegar so it’s elevating the humble pickled onion! And it fits with current trends – it’s vegetarian, vegan, carb-free, low fat.”

Talking about the Morrisons pilot, she commented: “It’s really exciting and they are very understanding of the small producer, a small business. Normally you wouldn’t get through on the telephone to a buyer. You are small and they don’t know who you are. So this event is brilliant, plus you’re getting instant feedback because they’ve invited guests – honest feedback which helps the buyer.”

Mark Stanley, part-owner of Chester-based Cheshire Distilleries.

Mark Stanley is part-owner of Mollington-based Cheshire Distilleries which makes premium gin under the brands of Arrowsmiths and Cheshire Grins.

He said: “I think it’s really good. I think it’s excellent that Morrisons are looking to support local producers and hopefully we’ve done enough to be considered.

“Arrowsmiths is more of a product we’ve got in mind for volume because it’s a lower price point. Grins, the price point means it’s more of a considered purchase but both would sit well on the shelf. But in terms of volume, Arrowsmiths, with rhubarb-flavoured gin being so popular at the moment, it would really be a good seller."

Julian Bailey, public relations director for Morrisons supermarket.

Julian Bailey is public relations director at Morrisons.

He said: “The reason for do e9c ing it is that it is something that customers appreciate. They go into a lot of supermarkets. They might see a lot of the same brands – Mars, Nestle – but if we can provide something that is just from down the road they think, it’s supporting local businesses, it’s fewer food miles, it’s something that might be fresher because it’s come from down the road rather than across the country.

“It provides something that’s a little bit different to our stores.”

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0 HTTP/1.1 200 OK Server: Apache-Coyote/1.1 Set-Cookie: JSESSIONID=1E981062E9427C1CB9ACE5EFDB4E31AD; Path=/; HttpOnly X-Escenic-Widget-ID: 13078213 Cache-Control: public,s-maxage=300 Content-Type: text/html;charset=UTF-8 Transfer-Encoding: chunked Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2018 08:45:31 GMT Connection: close 8c 0 Glass plant to face fresh legal challenge - Chester Chronicle

Glass plant to face fresh legal challenge

A CONTROVERSIAL bottling plant on the outskirts of Chester has started producing glass - even though it does not have planning permission.

A CONTROVERSIAL bottling plant on the outskirts of Chester has started producing glass - even though it does not have planning permission.

Chester City Council environment manager David Hosker was at Quinn Glass in Ince last Thursday to witness glass containers being manufactured. He believes they will be stored and transported at a later date.

However, a rival has issued a legal challenge to the council over its granting of an operating permit to Quinn.

Rockware Glass says the city council should not have issued the integrated pollution prevention and control permit (IPPC), allowing the plant to begin working.

The IPPC has been problematic for both Chester City Council and its partner council, Ellesmere Port and Neston borough.

Mr Hosker initially considered the Quinn scheme would exceed the IPPC standards for nitrous oxide emissions and particulates.

And Mike Whittaker, Ellesmere Port's head of environmental services, also believed the IPPC should be refused.

However, both were eventually satisfied when Quinn agreed to comply within 'an appropriate period of time'.

But Rockware says plants must comply with the guidance from day one.

A letter from the firm's lawyers to thecouncil's representativessays:'Al-though [Chester City Council] was considering a new installation that had not yet been commissioned, it failedto impose a condition requiring the emissions limit value for nitrous oxide contained in the statutory guidance from being met until before the beginning of the fifth year of operation, without any lawful basis or adequate reasons for doing so.'

Rockware said the council also failed to require the use of best available technology and claimed city council chief executive Paul Durham had 'no authority' to issue the IPPC.

The letter commented: 'The decision to issue the permit was taken by the chief executive of the council following a 30-minute oral briefing of which no agenda, advice, report, note or written record of any sort exists.'

City council spokesman Mike Mc-Givern responded: 'We are aware Rockware has been in touch with our solicitors.'

Quinn's original planning permission for its bottling plant, which will be one of the biggest in Europe, was successfully challenged by Rockware intheHigh Court.Afurtherplanning application will now be determined following a public inquiry.

Rockware wrote to the office of the Deputy Prime Minister in a further bid to stop production but responsibility for this decision has been passed back to the city council.

The authority says it will 'formally consider at an appropriate meeting' whether there is any case for taking enforcement action to prevent operations continuing.

Quinn Glass spokesman Brian Bell said Quinn would co-operate fully with the public inquiry. david.holmes@cheshirenews.co.uk

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