Local producer receives pioneering award

Head of food Mark Finn and David Esberger
Head of food Mark Finn and David Esberger

A small local producer who took the move to go gluten free has scooped a national award.

Just Like Your Grannies chilli chutney owner David Esberger has been honoured with the Local Producer of the Year award at Pioneer Awards 2017, an honour that recognised his innovative and creative approach to redeveloping his brand and recipes.

Working with Lincolnshire Co-op, who he currently supplies with over 80 cases of chutney a month for its food stores across the county, David looked to the local market to redevelop his brand and product.

Realising that Lincolnshire Co-op had a ‘Free from’ range in food stores, David decided to adapt his recipe and made his chutneys gluten free – a pioneering move made simply by replacing malt vinegar with distilled vinegar.

“A lot of people don’t realise that most chutneys aren’t gluten free, so I found a gap in the local market and now my spicy chutneys can be enjoyed by even more people,” David said.

With the help of his daughter and advice from Lincolnshire Co-op, he also worked collaboratively to update the packaging of his chutneys to make his jars modern and eye-catching with new branding including imagery, font and colours.

The Local Producer Award was officially presented to David by Lincolnshire Co-op’s Head of Food, Mark Finn, at Burton Road Store in Lincoln.

Lincolnshire Co-op’s Head of Food Mark Finn said: “We’re really proud of our Love Local range because we can support small local producers who are making fantastic products.

“It also makes it easier for communities to access these products right from their doorstep, which allows these businesses to flourish and thrive.

“That’s why we’re so delighted that David’s hard work has been recognised with a national award.”

David, who has been making chutney for almost 50 years, said: “I’m over the moon to have won Local Producer of the Year, it’s such an honour.

“It’s amazing what can be achieved when you put your mind to it – no matter how big or small your ideas are.”

The Pioneer Awards are hosted by Co-operative Group to recognise the achievements of producers who supply the group and other independent co-operatives like Lincolnshire Co-op.

Lincolnshire Co-op’s Love Local range currently supports 40 producers from the area.