When the Delicious Ideas Food Group (DIFG) team went on a treasure hunt to find vegan bakery products that would send their taste buds to cloud ten, they headed off to The Harrogate Fine Food Show, albeit with with low expectations.
‘Speaking as a vegan, and with my consumer hat on, it’s a struggle to even find bakery products, let alone good ones,’ says Chris White, DIFG’s food service controller. ‘So when I tasted The Bakeshed’s vegan offerings, I was ecstatic. They weren’t just gluten-free, they weren’t just vegan, they also tasted incredible.
‘There was no doubt that we had achieved our goal in meeting Will, founder of the Bakeshed. It made our trip worthwhile.’
Making vegan and gluten-free baking accessible to a mainstream audience had always been Will Rhys-Davies’ dream, and his team’s tireless work recently paid off when it scooped a major award.
‘Whenever you see vegan or gluten-free on the label you assume it’s not going to taste very nice, that it’s going to have a horrible texture, it’s going to taste like cardboard,’ says Will. ‘We really wanted to change that view.
‘I knew we were making real progress when our gluten-free chocolate brownie, known affectionately as The Badass Brownie, won a Great Taste Award in 2017. That’s a top tier industry affirmation for the quality of gluten-free food we’re creating at the Bakeshed.
‘We have 23 products in total including brownies, shortcakes, oatcakes, and tray cakes. Overall, ten are gluten-free and three are vegan. And one—the Ginger, Lime and Parsnip Slice—is both gluten-free and vegan. It would be marvellous if we could win another Great Taste Award with that!’
So impressed were they with what Will had on display at the show that Chris, along with Bex Goldsmith, one of DIFG’s senior account managers, headed back to their Peterborough offices laden with Bakeshed loot, eager to run a taste test with their colleagues.
‘We taste a lot of different things here, so it’s always exciting to stumble on something new and unexpected,’ says Bex. ‘The real surprise was that pretty much everyone said that it wasn’t the best gluten-free brownie they’d ever tasted—it was the best brownie they’d ever tasted—bar none.’
As a result of the successful taste testing, DIFG decided to firm up an exclusive deal with The Bakeshed, and will now be selling its full range of products into contract catering firms across the UK.
Says Jonathan Potter, DIFG’s CEO, ‘We were looking for great vegan and gluten-free products that would sell, and Chris and Bex went out, found them, and brought them back.’ He adds, ‘There’s so much flavour and texture in his baking, we just had to team up with ‘The Brownie Man.” I’ve got to say, Will’s produce feels new and different. It oozes quality. And that’s what we’re always looking for.
‘We’re excited to have teamed up with The Bakeshed. Once the word is out, I’m in no doubt that we’ll experience a run on their products. All I can say to Will is, “look out”, because pretty soon he’s going to need a bigger oven!’