New opportunities on the menu
KK Fine Foods was established in 1987 by Leyla Edwards and is an award winning manufacturer of high quality protein and vegetarian meal solutions, priding itself on its commitment to foodservice and retail sectors. Over the last 30 years, KK Fine Food’s has become a market leader in the food industry by maintaining a passion for high quality, innovative products as its core focus.
KK Fine Foods’ achievements in 2017 have included the Innovation Award at the Pizza Hut Supplier Conference, the PETA Vegan Food Award for its vegan Teriyaki Noodles and the Gold Award at the BFFF Annual Awards for its Roasted Mediterranean Vegetable Lasagne. With KK now part of the Ter Beke group, MD Samir Edwards is keen to tell us what this means in terms of the future for KK Fine Foods and what customers and suppliers can expect to see over the next few years.
One concern Samir is keen to address is that although the company is part of a larger group he is still passionate about maintaining KK’s family business ethos, something that is reflected in its recruitment policies. With the company set to add 200 new jobs he has a clear view of what he expects from potential new recruits: “With a family business background it has always been about loyalty to the company. We want people to grow with the business and there are a lot of opportunities in the next three to five years, so we are looking for ambitious people who want to take our business forward and prepared to go on that journey.”
Over the course of the next 12 months Samir is both excited but also cautious as he accepts that the food industry will have to adapt to face new challenges. “There is a lot of cost inflation throughout our industry, in terms of raw materials and labour. ‘We can offer you more and we have the additional capacity to grow with you.’ There is also the benefit of some export opportunities as we now have access to a portal into Europe which will open up more possibilities in the later years,” he explained.
When asked about how KK is able to achieve this growth Samir believes it is a combination of being aware of trends while at the same time building on what works: “What has made us successful is the variety of cooking platforms that we offer, which in turn has enabled us to offer a wide variety of high quality products, including ready meals, sous vide meats, soups, sauces, pastry, world food and free from. Investment in technology is key, we have recently put more investment into sous vide technology this year which is still very much a core platform for product excellence.”
In many ways the issues that KK has come up against are true of a lot of businesses within the food industry – people are becoming more discerning and want a higher quality of food as well as more specific demands such as vegan and gluten-free options. However, with the recognition of KK’s work developing these products and the increased opportunities that being part of the Ter Beke group can offer, KK Fine Foods is in the strongest position it can be to rise to these challenges and continue to build on its already impressive achievements.