Winning BBC food award ‘shifts the business up a gear’

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Ed Andrew and father Graham found winning a BBC Food and Farming Award ‘shifted the business up a gear’
Ed Andrew and father Graham found winning a BBC Food and Farming Award ‘shifted the business up a gear’

Related tags: Future food award, Milk

Winning a BBC Food and Farming Award “shifts the business up a gear”, according to the winner of last year’s Future Food Award, diversified dairy Our Cow Molly.

Ed Andrew, one of the owners of the Sheffield-based business told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We found winning the Future Food Award really shifted our business up a gear and openned doors in all kinds of places.”

After last year’s win, Andrew received a phone call from the Co-op. “The biggest difference the award made to our business was receiving a phone call from the Co-op supermarket to ask if we would be interested in them stocking our milk,”​ he said. Andrew did not take long to consider his reply.

One year on, Our Cow Molly supplies the Co-op and is in talks with Morrisons about also supplying the Bradford-based retailer. “If we had not won the award, I don’t think the Co-op would have phoned us,”​ added Andrew.

‘If we had not won the award …’

This latest business follows a deal to supply fresh milk to Sheffield University, which attracted the attention of last year’s Future Food Award judges.

The 73ha dairy farm, which also makes ice cream, is the last one processing and bottling its own milk in the Sheffield area: the nation’s eighth largest conurbation, with a population of 640,720.  

In addition to delivering to 900 doorstep customers, Our Cow Molly supplies all of the university cafes, with orders placed on smart phones and computers. Milk is processed and delivered on the same day ensuring that they receive the best possible product.

‘The biggest difference’

“The biggest difference the award made to our business was receiving a phone call from the Co-op supermarket to ask if we would be interested in them stocking our milk.”

  • Ed Andrew

Formerly, the university sourced Yorkshire milk, which had to be transported to London for processing before making the return journey to Yorkshire. Forging a supply deal with Our Cow Molly allowed the university to use milk with a longer shelf life, while avoiding the costs – financial and environmental – of transporting milk to and from the capital.

“The savings are obvious, since it takes about three pints of diesel to transport every pint of milk,” ​said Andrew. “The new arrangement makes sense because its avoids using fossil fuels and prevents clogging up roads.”

Imaginative use of social media by Our Cow Molly helped to turn the award to maximum commercial advantage. The business has been active in mobilising social media support for the Our Cow Molly brand.

Maximum commercial advantage

Truly a family partnership, key responsibilities are shared between Ed, brother Dan and their father Graham and mother Thelma. The dairy has a capacity of 42,000 litres of milk a week and a daily peak production of about 7,000 litres.

Meanwhile, Nominations for entries​ in the year’s BBC Future Food Award 2017 closes on Sunday January 29. The category is one of nine awards​ this year.

The award category celebrates the achievements of manufacturers, retailers, farmers and distributors that are driving food industry innovation. The judges want to hear inspirational stories from food businesses, big and small, about how ground­breaking new ideas are promising to revolutionise the food supply chain.

Finalists in last year’s Future Food Award​ were: GrowUp Urban Farms – a hydroponic salad growing operation in central London and McDonalds’ Beef Carbon Project, which aimed to cut the carbon footprint in its beef supply chain.

Andrew said: “Even if you don’t win, becoming an awards finalist gives your business fantastic exposure.” 

Our Cow Molly – at a glance

  • Won the Future Food Award category of the BBC Food and Farming Awards last year
  • Landed a deal with the Co-op after winning the award
  • Supplies fresh milk to the University of Sheffield: avoids need to transport milk to London and back for processing  
  • Family-run dairy in Sheffield
  • 900 doorstep customers
  • Used social media to exploit the value of winning the award

Related topics: Dairy, Dairy-based ingredients

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