In food we trust

PUBLISHED: 14:22 16 November 2012 | UPDATED: 22:27 20 February 2013

In food we trust

In food we trust

Mark Taylor finds out more about the high quality Cotswold-based 'one-stop shop' for the catering industry, Creed Foodservice.

In food we trust

Mark Taylor finds out more about the high quality Cotswold-based one-stop shop for the catering industry

Whether you are dining in a pub, restaurant, garden centre, office canteen or school, when it comes to eating out in the Cotswolds, the likelihood is that part of your meal has been supplied by Staverton-based Creed Foodservice.

Currently celebrating its 40th anniversary, Creed is one of the UKs leading independently owned foodservice wholesalers with a range that includes high-quality meat and poultry, fruit and vegetables, and all manner of other food products - fresh, frozen or ambient.

Creed supplies products to more than 1,700 customers across the UK via two distribution centres in Gloucestershire and Derbyshire. Now employing 250 staff, it has grown significantly in recent years and the acquisition in 2008 of fresh produce and speciality foods business Mise en Place has further extended the range of products available to caterers and chefs.

Managing Director Chris Creed is the driving force behind the companys growth in recent years and he has seen it grow from a regional foodservice supplier to a major national player.

After spending a year in government employment, Chris has spent 21 years growing the family business from 8 million to this years anticipated turnover of 49m.

He puts the companys success down to a total commitment to quality and customer service, but also innovation and flexibility. One of its innovations has been to invest in its own on-site fully accredited butchery cutting plant - one of the first Foodservice wholesalers to do so.

Creed and Mise en Place have become a one-stop shop for the catering industry locally and nationally.

Mise en Place is still overseen by founder Steve Wheeler, who buys daily from a network of suppliers, growers, producers and markets, from local farms to Rungis in Paris the worlds largest and best fruit and veg market.

Chris says that having people on the ground at Rungis is a point of difference for Mise en Place, which supplies many of the top-flight restaurants in the country, including two Michelin-starred Whatley Manor at Malmesbury.

Mise en Place is geared towards the more high-end customers and these chefs want the very best they can get their hands on.

They want a mixture of the speciality products coming in from Paris but also local cheeses and in-season fruit and vegetables from this country.

On the one hand they are looking for the provenance and quality of local produce but they are also looking for the product that comes out of Rungis, which has the best quality in the world.

We have a team at Rungis buying direct and having people on the ground is a big thing. Ours know the quality of the produce we are looking for and that makes a difference.

After two decades running the business, Chris says chefs have never been more aware of the produce arriving at the kitchen door, whether its lemons from the Amalfi coast or asparagus from down the road.

Chefs are definitely more aware than they used to be, especially at the top end where they are looking for the very best quality product available. Theyre not interested in something thats merely OK.

But thats how we differentiate ourselves from other businesses and if we can do that better than anybody else that makes us more successful.

Local food wasnt on anyones agenda back when I started 20 years ago but luckily it is becoming more and more so now.

There is definitely more regard to provenance now, more so than organic. People also want assurances on the quality of the meat and how its looked after.

Celebrity chefs like Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall and Jamie Oliver have brought it to peoples attention and that has made a big difference.

At the same time, local producers have had to increase their quality because the chefs demand it and theres little point being local if the produce is not good enough. It has to stand up against the best from elsewhere.

A company that refuses to stand still, Mise en Place and Creed have just taken on chef Robin Stock, who worked as senior sous chef at Whatley Manor for several years. He has been brought in to act as a conduit between producers and chefs and its a big step forward for the company.

Robin is going to look at product and menu development for us, talking to our customers and seeing how we can help them.

Having a chef on board who has worked at Michelin star level will makea big difference because the chefs inhigh-end restaurants can relate to him more. This is a huge development for us for the future.

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