Sausage County

Enjoying positive business relationships with some of the UK’s biggest retailers, The Taste of Suffolk continues to gratify its loyal customers with an exquisite selection of locally-produced sausages, hams, and bacon

The Taste of Suffolk has been a solid fixture in local East Anglian culture ever since the sausages, bacon, and ham wholesaler was established over 40 years ago. Today, the business is now in the TOS 139 bhands of the Simons’ family with Roger being the Manager. Based in close proximity to the historic market town of Bury St Edmunds, The Taste of Suffolk prides itself on the quality of the multiple brands it has created over the years, which, today, can be seen on the shelves of some of the largest food retailers in the UK, such as Tesco, Asda, and East of England Co-op.

A long-standing relationship with the latter has been a key business partnership for the company, as it provides bespoke ranges for East of England Co-op’s retail stores, including its Craske special recipe sausages, as well as its ‘Sourced locally’ range. With the retailer celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, The Taste of Suffolk rebranded its Craske sausage offering to commemorate the event and further increase brand awareness of its product. The Craske sausages have earned a legendary status down the years due to them being made to a secret recipe, which originates from Craske Butchers, its shop once located in the city centre of Norwich. Although a lot of water has passed under the bridge since Craske Butchers first wowed East Anglia with its thick pork sausages, East of England Co-op has preserved the recipe for the Taste of Suffolk to continue producing the much-loved treat.

“We have seen the initiative of relabelling the Craske sausages brand being very well-received by customers,” Roger points out with satisfaction. “I would also single out the pork and apple, as well as the pork and honey sausages we provide East of England Co-op with, as another two brands that have been performing successfully for us in recent times. The customers are coming back again and again to buy them, which is a clear indicator that they taste good and are being enjoyed by consumers.”

Supplying major retailers is by no means the only remit of activity for The Taste of Suffolk. The company is also a preferred provider of sausages and cured and cooked meats for a number of schools in Suffolk and Hertfordshire, as well as for local independent shops and delicatessens. Considering the universal excitement created by trends that promote a healthier and more balanced diet, it is far from shocking that The Taste of Suffolk has been engaged in supplying local schools with glutenfree sausages. “Children love sausages and we are content with this side of the business, at the moment, as we serve a lot of schools,” comments Roger, adding that the business also provides gammon stocks to Hertfordshire schools.TOS 139 c

New flavour launch
While The Taste of Suffolk has not undergone substantial infrastructure development in the past couple of years, the company has still made improvements to its equipment by purchasing two new temperaturecontrolled vans to improve the efficiency of goods transportation, and this year, it is investing in a bacon packaging machine to scale this part of the business up. “It will probably take a bit of a lead time – around between 14 and 16 weeks, because it is not the type of a machine you can simply pick off the shelf. We are currently working with two providers to select the best option for us,” Roger explains.

“We want to make a better job of packaging the bacon, because at the moment, we are using an old technique, so we need this new machine to move the bacon business forward.” Also indicative of The Taste of Suffolk’s ambition to develop in this area is the fact that the wholesaler is planning to launch a new product in the foreseeable future. Currently in its development phase is a maple syrup bacon range that will freshen up the company’s proposition with a new and exotic taste, and hopes are that it will appeal to the ever-adventurous customer, who is always on the lookout for new flavours in a food market that has never before been so varied.

Roger has invariably got the competitiveness of the market under his radar, hence the continuous product development to keep customers excited. “We tend to concentrate on perfecting an existing range, before we move on to launching new products,” he clarifies. “It is a bit of a challenging time for the business, as a lot of companies are fighting for a leading position in the same market, which has led to overproduction, but we believe, we can successfully address the issues we are facing,” Roger sums up.