Jordan Kerridge, Higgidy

Source: Higgidy

In this series, British Baker speaks to the people behind the products to find out where they get their inspiration from, what a typical workday looks like and which piece of NPD was hardest to perfect.

Next up is Jordan Kerridge, culinary chef at Higgidy. Having trained in high-end kitchens across London, he became interested in product development after a visit to Unilever in 2015. He joined the Higgidy team in 2021.

What does a typical workday involve?

It’s so varied! Every single day is different which always keeps things interesting. The week centres around our weekly NPD tasting session where we review new product concepts and flavour combinations that the team has been working on.

Most days start with a senior food team meeting in the morning, to discuss the business of the day and review our product innovation pipeline to make sure we’re progressing with all the new recipes that are in our plan – we’re currently working ahead to 2024.

Following the meeting, I head down to the kitchen to work on our current projects. We have a dedicated NPD kitchen area that we use solely for product development, and I work alongside our junior development technologist and NPD assistant.

I usually attend a few meetings with various teams across the business, including marketing and commercial to work through things like titles for new products and opportunities for new launches. I try to finish in the kitchen in the early afternoon then spend some time researching, looking at new menus, food trends and checking in on what our competitors are up to!

A Mediterranean Pepper & Feta Quiche

Source: Higgidy

75% of Higgidy’s range is vegan and vegetarian

What does your process for creating new products look like?

I mainly focus on innovation so its long-term projects. We will start with a base idea or concept, like snacking and sharing formats. As a food team we work closely with marketing, looking at our target consumers to make sure we’re producing food that people want or are currently missing. I also have to be abreast of what’s on trend, not just in stores, but also in restaurants that help me think up innovative flavour combinations that haven’t been done before or giving popular flavour profiles a signature Higgidy twist.

My job is not to think about how something will be made but purely come up with ideas which I love as it gives me creative freedom and the chance to experiment. We have a whole set of other talented people in the business whose job it is to turn those ideas in a commercial product. I feel lucky that Higgidy allow me to have time to play with new ideas and experiment – there’s no holding back.

Recently I’ve been looking at what else we could do with pastry as it’s so key to our food, so looking into ways of cramming vegetables in it (like out veg-packed quiches) or using new flavours and textures. I just want to push boundaries and question everything.

What is your favourite ingredient to work with and why?

Vegetables and lots of them!

We are super proud to be veggie focused at Higgidy and over 75% of our range is currently veggie or vegan. The variety we have in the range is huge and there is always an appetite to cram even more veg into our food which is no bad thing.

I’m determined to get Jerusalem artichokes into a product as I think there incredible because they are so versatile – watch this space.

Which piece of NPD are you most proud of and why?

My first piece of development has been my proudest moment so far. I developed a Petit Pois & Courgette Vegan Quiche with a hint of mint and chilli. As you can imagine, it is quite tricky to make a great tasting quiche without using eggs or dairy, but I used a different method to create an indulgent vegan quiche and was very proud to see my creation hit the supermarket shelves for the first time earlier this year.

Spinach & Red Pepper Vegan Muffins on a white plate with a yoghurt dip

Source: Higgidy

Higgidy’s Spinach & Red Pepper Vegan Muffins

What was the hardest piece of NPD to perfect and why?

The Spinach & Red Pepper Mini Vegan Muffins that we launched in September were slightly tricky to perfect. As a team we had so many attempts to get it right as it proved incredibly difficult to achieve the flavour and texture of our current muffin (which is veggie) but in a vegan format, again without being able to use eggs which give a light airy texture to our muffins. I’m pleased to say we finally cracked it (no pun intended!).

Tell us about a product you really believed in but didn’t quite work out?

We worked on “mega” muffin last year, based on the concept of our successful mini muffins. We were really happy with the idea, but just couldn’t work out where to pitch it. Was it a snack or a meal? How would people eat it? Could it replace a sandwich? This proves that having insight is invaluable and it’s something we might be coming back to in the future.

What is your favourite bakery product and why?

I’m a sucker for a large Melton Mowbray pork pie, it reminds me of being a kid and sitting with my granddad on a park bench.

What are your top bakery trends for 2023 and beyond?

A bigger push into more vegan and wholesome, healthier food. Palm oil reduction and sustainability. There’s lots going on right now and I’m excited to see where the category and Higgidy will go next.