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A net-zero Christmas pudding

A net-zero Christmas pudding

A traditional Victorian-style recipe handed down through generations has been given a modern, eco-upgrade. Entrepreneur Lisa Fraser, from Frasers of Egerton, has developed one of the first net-zero Christmas puddings. Thanks to a referral from Low Carbon Kent, Lisa joined our network as part of our Growing Green net-zero project and then went on to join our Food Accelerator. With support of like-minded entrepreneurs who she met through our programme, sales of the festive desserts are now soaring.

About Frasers of Egerton

Frasers is a small private estate focused on biodiversity and based outside Ashford in Kent. The family-owned 250-acre livestock farm has diversified over the last few decades. It now boasts boutique holiday accommodation, converted barns for weddings and corporate hospitality, a restaurant and shop, as well as offering well-being retreats.

The Estate operates as net carbon neutral, and sustainability and locality are at the heart of their ventures. They have been recognised for their eco-credentials with many awards, including the Kent Excellence in Business Awards (KEiBA) 2021 for their commitment to the environment and the Kent Sustainable Food and Drink Award at the 2022 Taste of Kent Awards.

This year saw Frasers win Silver in The Beautiful South Awards for Ethical, Responsible and Sustainable Tourism Business, and as a finalist in the Kent Invicta Chamber of Commerce Awards for Sustainability and Decarbonisation Business of the Year.

Over 55% of their energy is generated from renewable sources; which contain a mix of air and ground source heat pumps and solar arrays. They have incorporated rainwater harvesting technology and closed composting and recycling systems. They also operate with short supply chains, choosing local producers and suppliers where possible.

An opportunity to upscale

Using a recipe adapted from Lisa’s grandmother, Frasers has been making hand-mixed, luxury, artisan Christmas puddings for their restaurant and hospitality customers. 

While reminiscent of traditional Victorian puddings, the festive desserts have a modern ethos. They are steamed during warm summer days, using excess energy generated from their on-site solar panels. The ingredients are sourced from local artisan brewers and distillers, including Greensand Ridge Distillery, Biddenden Vineyards and Shepherd Neame. All of the packaging is sustainable, with recycled and re-usable basins, and recycled material ribbons and labels.

Demand for the products from their own customers was high. Having won a ‘Guild of Fine Food Great Taste Award’ and beginning to sell to local farm shops and retailers, Lisa decided to look at upscaling their production and growing their sales distribution.

Frasers Luxury Christmas Puddings

Connecting with our network

Lisa was initially introduced to us through our net-zero training pilot programme, Growing Green, following a referral from Low Carbon Kent.

Through Growing Green, Frasers was awarded a grant worth £8,000 to convert a 40-foot shipping container. This would create a large commerce area for a ‘click and collect’ food hub for local producers, as well as creating ambient storage for their Christmas puddings. 

The extra storage space would enable Frasers to upscale their production and continue their manufacturing process throughout the year. The container was fitted with a roof-mounted solar array to provide the energy needed to run an air-conditioning unit to keep the products at the right temperature.

Following Growing Green, Lisa was referred to our Food Accelerator programme where we offer four months of technical and business support.

Accelerating Success

Lisa already had extensive experience running her own business, finding funding, and managing finances. The Food Accelerator however offered her support specifically by arming her with the tools and knowledge required to scale-up food production. Over the four-month programme, Lisa attended workshops and webinars that provided information on managing supply chains and developing business and marketing strategies.

Most critically for Lisa, it also provided her with a new network of other like-minded entrepreneurs, all working towards scaling their businesses. Bouncing ideas from other people in the same situation, was, for Lisa, invaluable.

Achieving results

Following their successful attendance at the Speciality Food Fair in September 2023, Frasers now has several large contracts in negotiation to supply luxury Puddings to high-end venues and retailers around the UK. They have even started selling their mincemeat in the Seychelles. A vegan and free-from version of the pudding is also in the pipeline.

Recognising the value of receiving support from peers, Lisa is now considering ways to mentor other start-ups and smaller businesses through our programme.

In Lisa’s words
“I was delighted to be invited to be part of the Growing Kent & Medway Food Accelerator Programme. Frasers was looking to design and market a product that was scalable using the excess power from our solar array to cook. We had been making Christmas puddings for our restaurant for many years so had confidence in the quality of the product. Our philosophy was to create an ambient product that was sustainable using local cider, rum, and stout with all recycled and reusable packaging.

“I cannot convey how much the Food Accelerator Programme helped and supported us in our journey- the tremendous scope of expertise available for us was coupled with the enormous camaraderie and genuine support from other participants.

“On a particular note, was the gentle, unwavering support from Valerie Pondaven [Food Accelerator Manager at Growing Kent & Medway] - her tremendous commitment to both the programme and us as individuals was so greatly appreciated.

“We have achieved enormous success in our first year and have secured many large contracts. I cannot recommend this programme enough - if you have a product that you are looking to scale up - make use of this invaluable resource."

Interested in scaling-up your own production?
If you’d like help taking a new product to market or scaling your plant-based food and drink brand, get in touch to see how we can help.

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Food Accelerator Growing Green