Harvey & Brockless: When fine foods meet success
PUBLISHED: 11:25 08 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:25 08 August 2018
From a humble cheese business to one of the best-known fine foods brands, Worcestershire-based Harvey & Brockless is going places, as Tanya Gledhill discovers
You can’t miss Harvey & Brockless buzzing around the Worcestershire lanes.
No, staff at the fine food company don’t trek around in a Transit, but in a beautifully sign-written, steel-grey Land Rover Defender.
This coveted workhorse is one of 70 vehicles delivering Harvey & Brockless’ remarkable chilled food to customers from the Highlands of Scotland to the beaches of Cornwall every day.
The firm, based in Broomhall, near Worcester, works with artisan food producers across the globe supplying speciality cheeses, charcuterie, olives, flours, butter and chocolate to some of the world’s most renowned food emporiums.
The company started in the Seventies when Frank Day, one of the original Stalag Luft III prisoners of war who famously tried to escape - better known now as The Great Escape - bought a cheese wholesalers from a Mr Harvey and Mr Brockless in Hailsham, Sussex. In the cellar, Frank’s son Michael discovered some Cheddar Trads and he headed to London to peddle his wares at Harrods.
His speculative trip worked, and Harrods - still a customer today - was joined by The Savoy, The Ritz and The Dorchester.
And the rest, as they say is history.
Since then, the company has been through some name changes, engineered some impressive acquisitions and moved house several times.
But in 2015, it returned to its roots and rebranded as Harvey & Brockless with a trio of directors, Simon Yorke, Jonnie Archers and Nick Martin, at the helm. And it hasn’t looked back since.
New contracts and a series of glittering awards have come thick and fast for the company, which supplies its speciality goods to fine food establishments from tiny delicatessens in the Cotswolds to some of the world’s most luxurious hotels.
Last year, it moved its sauce production division - Harvey & Brockless Kitchen - from New Covent Garden Market in London to a new, purpose-built site in Evesham. With almost £100,000 of financial support from the Worcestershire Growth Fund, the firm invested £128,083 in the move, creating 41 new jobs in the process. It was a move that Nick Martin knew would propel the company to even greater heights.
“The relocation of some of our storage and production facilities to the well-connected central location of Worcestershire will enable us to reach new customers more effectively, increase production capacity and ultimately lead to greater turnover,” he said at the time.
“The food industry is continually seeking new and innovative ways to develop new products and processes, and our new facility enables us to accommodate the expansion of our growing business with access to a skilled workforce required for innovative product development.”
Here, the team produces restaurant-quality sauces, dips and dressings and creates its range of more than 30 olive mixes for Dell’Ami, it’s Mediterranean arm.
If a product makes the cut in the development kitchen, it goes through a series of trials before being added to the daily distribution network. Continually pushing the boundaries of new trends, from street food to super-foods and gluten-free, the company says it wants to help evolve modern British food.
But cheese is still at Harvey & Brockless’ heart. Its Cellars are a result of 40 years of building relationships with the very best UK and European cheese producers.
It champions British farmhouse cheeses and from its dairy in Worcestershire, produces sublime goat’s cheeses, winners of several British Cheese Awards.
The company holds regular tastings and open days for customers and producers.
And it is a founding patron of the Academy of Cheese in London, a not-for-profit, industry-funded organisation.
Here, it has developed a bespoke training programme designed to qualify delegates with the ultimate title: Master of Cheese.
For Harvey & Brockless, the future’s bright. This year, the company has opened a new site in the United Arab Emirates, servicing Emirates and Etihad airlines and several five-star hotels.
“We know our food,” the firm proudly announces. “Whatever we do, from sourcing amazing food to delivering it on time, we always stick to one simple rule: an absolute dedication to honest, authentic, remarkable food.”