Award category sponsored by

Winner: Great British Biscotti Co

No matter how many times it has been said: “The customer is king,” says Paul Rostand, owner of Dorset-based Great British Biscotti Co.

After spending many years sounding out new products for supermarkets, Rostand left retail to found his own company. He sought to innovate in a British way, with biscuits designed to linger and be savoured.

Rostand has created bespoke biscotti for two top-end customers – the National Trust and Hotel Chocolat – which were so pleased with his focus and efficiency in terms of creativity, production and delivery that he was asked to extend the ranges.

For the National Trust, Paul’s Great British Biscotti range includes flavours such as the quintessentially English Stilton & Raisin, and a distinctive North American range that includes Banoffee Pie. For Hotel Chocolat, the chocolate orange has had a makeover and is now crafted with the best Belgian chocolate, alongside biscotti such as Dark Chocolate, plus White chocolate, Cranberry & Pistachio.

Further exclusive lines are planned, and Rostand’s reputation has already reached Canada, where ‘baked in Britain’ and his artisanal exclusivity has yielded a significant order.

“The Great British Biscotti Company had a clear objective,
which focused on delivering an ambitious category-first,
while putting its customers at the heart.”

Ellie David, marketing manager at sponsor CSM Bakery Solutions

Finalist: Hungry Scarecrow

When Barbara Richardson founded Hungry Scarecrow in Stamford, Lincolnshire, her aims were not standard. She wanted to go one better.

A focus on her customers meant giving them wraps and products such as pizza bases that were not just gluten-free, but also nutritious.

Richardson wanted them to enjoy goods that were high in both fibre and protein, with superior taste and texture.

However, she also knew what she wanted to avoid: the usual ingredients such as starches, thickeners and high salt. This focus on giving customers – mainly online and via farmers’ markets – the necessary nutrition and quality set her apart from most other suppliers and led her to complete a project with Nottingham University.

The result was a clean-label, nutritious, gluten-free wrap, made with blended flours, including teff, coconut and quinoa and two prebiotics to help with flexibility and texture. One essential criterion was that the wraps should not dry out when being filled, while cost and shelf life were also factors. The project has achieved everything: functionality, reasonable cost and 4-6 weeks’ durability.

Finalist: Mark’s Cotswold Bakery

Mark Woodgate and his wife Sharn have just moved to a larger site, with him baking and her running the business side of things.

This small, artisan business is growing fast, which they put down to being customer-focused in all they do.

“We start every relationship with a pre-booked tasting of our award-winning breads,” says Sharn, explaining that the bakery’s customers are primarily restaurants, delis and village shops in the Cotswolds.

“We want to continue growing by contributing to their menus and experiences, delivering excellent, consistent, high-quality, handcrafted, tailored bread.

 As well as authentic handmade sourdoughs, the business has listened to its customers’ needs and is providing flatbreads, brioches and burger buns.

“We also work with new flours and experiment, down to granular detail, with different coloured seeds on their individual burger buns.” She adds: “Our high-level customer service means always being flexible so we will deliver additional products on Sundays and bank holidays.”