Waitrose Takes the Biscuit - from Brecon Based Cradoc's savoury Biscuits
A niche range of high quality, hand made and home baked speciality savoury biscuits – created by Allie Thomas in her own kitchen - are soon to be stocked in Waitrose and launched at their new store in Cowbridge.Allie, whose Cradoc’s Savoury Biscuits are produced in a purpose built kitchen in Brecon, said she was delighted and excited by the news.“In the last eight weeks, working with Waitrose Product Development buyer Oliver O’Mara and our mentor David Edwards, we have jumped from being a micro business to one in a position to supply three major retailers and the potential to build a national brand.
“We are building capacity slowly and may expand through working in partnership with other bakers in order to cater for increased demand over the next year,” she explained.Allie, who runs the business with her 23 year old daughter Ella, said support from the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Mentoring programme had been vital in the company’s development. “The programme is designed to help businesses reach their potential; the support from mentors has been very helpful and totally professional with sound advice available on a range of issues from quality control to pricing.”Deputy Minister for Food Alun Davies congratulated the company on its success. He said: "We have an extensive number of small food producers with first rate products and it's always good news when this is recognised by our leading supermarkets.“ This is a tremendous opportunity for Cradoc's Savoury Biscuits and I am delighted the company has benefited from our mentoring programme and that its presence on the Welsh Government stand at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair brought such a great result."The business began when Allie could not find a good quality biscuit to compliment the excellent range of Welsh cheeses. She began experimenting with recipes to make her own and started trading in 2010 selling at farmers markets, food festivals, farm shops and delicatessens and now has distributors in Wales and England.Her breakthrough came when she had Welsh Government support to exhibit at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair in London this year, an event attended by buyers from around the UK.It resulted in 98 enquiries – including Waitrose, Fortnum and Mason and Harvey Nichols.
Oliver O’Mara, from the Local & Regional Buying team at Waitrose, said:'We were bowled over by Allie’s vegetable crackers which are really quite different and certainly very moreish. After meeting them at the meet the buyer event we were very keen to get Cradocs up and running as soon as possible and delighted that they will now be on sale at our Cowbridge store.”Allie’s vegetable crackers made from chopped and pulped, juiced and roasted fresh vegetables proved irresistible – they come in three flavours beetroot and garlic, chilli, ginger and garlic and spinach and celery seed.She said: “I thought we had a good product and I am convinced it’s all about quality – from high quality local ingredients right through to quality packaging. Now that Waitrose plans to stock them I am beginning to believe they really are good!“Our contact in Waitrose has been very supportive, not just helping us through the process in order to meet their standards and procedures, which can be quite daunting for a small business like ours, but assuring us that we can do it!”Cradoc’s Savoury Biscuits have three ranges and fourteen different flavours. The vegetable crackers are on sale in the new Waitrose Cowbridge store and there are plans to stock the product at other Waitrose stores in the UK.