What do you think? Norfolk firm launches baked beans rival

Directors Josiah Meldrum and Nick Saltmarsh with their Baked British Beans Directors Josiah Meldrum and Nick Saltmarsh with their Baked British Beans

Saturday, January 25, 2014
12:20 PM

Some have it on toast, in a baked potato, or as the perfect accompaniment to an English breakfast.

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Hodmedod's Baked British BeansHodmedod's Baked British Beans

But few have eaten baked beans produced in Great Britain – until now.

One Norfolk company is hoping to capitalise on the nation’s love of the humble canned vegetable with its unique twist on baked beans in tomato sauce.

Diss-based Hodmedod’s have turned their back on the navy bean – sourced outside the UK and traditionally used by Heinz and Branson – in favour of the home-grown fava bean.

And this month, directors Nick Saltmarsh and Josiah Meldrum will discover whether there is an appetite for their new creation when they launch their canned products, which include: Baked British Beans, British Fava Beans in water, and spiced beans British Vaal Dhal.

Mr Saltmarsh said he does not expect to compete with the food-giant Heinz, which sells 1.5 million cans of baked beans a day, but is hoping that the fava bean will capture people’s imagination.

“We don’t really have any preconceptions of becoming a serious competitor to Heinz that has market dominance,” he said. “Our ambition is to provide an alternative which is a little bit different.

“The beans are more substantial, and quite meaty really, compared to the more tender Heinz bean. We hope to create a very humble small market that, over time, may grow as more people are introduced to them. The product is for people that are interested in eating British, and we see it being a little bit like hummous. People never used to eat it, but now its a popular item in the supermarkets.”

Fava beans are one of the oldest cultivated crops in the UK, eaten as far back as the Iron Age.

But while 500,000 tonnes is grown across the country each year, the majority is exported to the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East.

Mr Saltmarsh said the fava bean fell out of favour in this country when Britain became more prosperous and other sources of protein became more readily available, such as meat and milk. But he is determined to get the beans back on the British menu, and even has plans to launch other less well-known crops, including quinoa, spelt grains and baby kidney beans.

“We launched our first products over a year ago,” he said. “These were packets of whole dried fava beans and split fava beans which you can cook from dry. But we realised that these were quite a niche product, so we were very keen to develop a new range of products that would make the beans more marketable, which is why we developed the canned range.”

Mr Saltmarsh said the firm’s next step was to inject more cash into the business so it can grow, either through a bank loan, venture capital or crowdfunding – an internet-based platform where a number of people can invest in an idea or business model.

14 comments

  • Fava beans? Will they chuck in a free bottle of Claret?

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    One Horse Town

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • Sounds like good stuff to me. It's great to see local companies using local products as an alternative to brand names we are so used to seeing on the shelves of supermarkets.

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    Ar ya reet boi?

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • "A cencus taker tried to test me once.I ate his liver with fava beans and a nice Chianti..."

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    Nexus_6

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • They're available online at http:hodmedods.co.ukshop and in a growing number of wholefood and other shops - do look out for them and ask your local shopkeeper to get them in.

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    nicksaltmarsh

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • @DaveG Hi DaveG, thanks for your interest! At the moment you can buy them from our website (http:hodmedods.co.uk) and an increasing number of independant shops. They'll become more and more widely available over the next few months - in the meantime if you'd like to see them in your local shop ask please do ask them to get in touch with us...

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    Josiah Meldrum

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • Would I try them yes...If the price is right. BUT....They can only be a "rival" to baked beans if it is within the same price band...

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    el84

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • Outlets, places where they are on sale EDP? The web site is great but ordering beans on line is a bit of a faff. I hope local farm shops with specialist grocery sections and supermarkets will stock these. Increased demand for culinary beans as well as fodder beans would be useful for English farmers if they are affected by diversity of cropping regulations in the future.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • Beans beans good for your heart the more you eat the more you...

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • @Daisy Roots: Hi, Josiah from Hodmedod here, Yes our beans are exactly the same a broad beans - but they're smaller than garden varieties and are grown specifically for drying (rather than eating fresh). So we're calling them fava rather than broad to differentiate between fresh and dry (and because that's what the exporters tend to call them). In the dry form I think it's probably fair to say they have fallen out of favour in the UK - though they're widely eaten in the rest of the world. We've got some great recipes for North African dishes on our website - including Ful Medames: http:hodmedods.co.uk?s=ful&submit.x=0&submit.y=0 as well as for some of those medieval dishes: http:hodmedods.co.ukrecipesspiced-medieval-pottage but we love to hear about new recipes, if you have any favourites do let us know! hello@hodmedods.co.uk

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    Josiah Meldrum

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • Sounds interesting. Ok to have a poll as to whether we would eat them. Might be handy to say where we can get them from as well!

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    DaveG

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • Sorry, meant Chianti!!

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    One Horse Town

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • Anythings got to be better than Heinz Beans. They are too sweet and fairly tasteless. Its just the name that sells them. Branstons Baked beans are much nicer, and even Tescos own brand are nicer.

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    John Redfern

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • I find baked beans far too sweet. If they contain sugar or sweetener I would not buy them.

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    Johnny Norfolk

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

  • You mean broad beans? Staple diet of the medieaval peasant. Since when are they out of favour-unless you mean in the way every other English vegetable is out of favour with the TV chef-Pot noodle eating generation. Really easy to grow and freeze and yum with white sauce and gammon. Definitely try these and I would suggest the guys try North African style sauce-these beans are widely eaten in that region.

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    Daisy Roots

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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