In one of the least surprising announcements of 2011, jams and chutneys are among the first wave of branded products to be rolled out by the WI.
The National Federation of Women’s Institutes is hoping to create “the closest thing to homemade” with its wholesome 15-strong WI Foods range, which also includes biscuits and flour and will launch officially on 23 November at the BBC Good Food Show.
News of the federation’s plans to develop a branded food range was first revealed by The Grocer in July. The NFWI has now confirmed that the range will comprise jams and chutneys, including English breakfast marma-lade and caramelised onion chutney (rsp: from £2.59), made by Mercers; and biscuit lines such as butter shortbread, ginger biscuits and triple choc chip cookies (rsp: from £1.75), made by another Yorkshire-based company, Grandma Wild’s. The flours – which include plain, self-raising, wholemeal and strong white flours (rsp: from £1.95) – are produced by W&H Marriage & Sons from Essex.
The concept had been in development for several years and recipes had been sourced from its archives and tested by federation trustees, said the NFWI.
Hampshire-based distributor Dart Valley Foods will sell the products to farm shops, delicatessens, garden centres and other independent retailers, while larger customers such as supermarket multiples would be handled by the three producers. The range will also be sold directly to consumers through dedicated website www.wifoods.co.uk.
A 12-strong team from Remploy, an organisation that trains people with disabilities and finds them employment opportunities, will work with Dart Valley in warehousing and packing, and will also provide telephone and online sales support.
“We recognise that it will take time for the brand to build but hope that as its sales grow, it will contribute financially to the NFWI,” said federation chair Ruth Bond.