Monthly Archives: February 2014

Shazia Saleem jokes that she started her food company simply because she was hungry.

ieat foods

ieat foods was founded by a foodie frustrated by years of restricted, ‘same old’ boring choices. Bubbling away for years, this frustration fuelled a personal quest for Shazia Saleem to create the most exciting halal food range ever developed in the UK.

ieat LasagneThe team have  been busy working  in partnership with  consumers and some of Britain’s  top development chefs at NPD Direct to design an entire range of delicious, contemporary British dishes – made from the finest ingredients and bursting with flavour.

The potential market for ieat is huge. According to the 2011 Census, there are 2.7m Muslims living in Britain and well over half of those are under 30. “It’s the younger generation who wants to eat spaghetti Bolognaise and cottage pie,” explained Ms Saleem. “Our parents wanted the food they grew up with but we feel British, we are British and we love the culture.”

Ieat’s recipes are not only Halal, but “Tayyab”, which means “pure” or “ethical”. “All the recipes use only kitchen cupboard ingredients – you could make them at home,” explains Ms Saleem. “The animals come from certified farms to guarantee the best quality meat.”

Non-Muslims have also taken to ieat’s products. “We’ve given the dishes a bit of a twist for an ethnic palate,” said Ms Saleem. “We’ve added more spices, herbs, garlic and onion. But it’s not just Muslims who like the extra flavour. People are having Mexican for lunch and Thai food for dinner. The dishes we created, with these different flavour profiles, were extremely popular with the non-Muslim testers at our focus groups, too.”

ieat foods logoAll of their first 12 dishes can be found in the new halal section in the chilled ready meal aisle of selected Sainsbury’s stores in London, Birmingham and Leicester from Wednesday 26th February 2014.

All at NPD Direct wish Shazia and her team every success.

Click on the link below for an introduction to ieat foods:

Exotic fruit achacha goes on sale in Britain for the first time


Achacha, a small orange-coloured fruit in the same family as the mangosteen that has a melon-like taste which can be eaten at room temperature, cold or frozen.  The skin to make a “thirst-quenching drink”.

The easiest way of accessing the soft fruit inside is piercing the skin with a thumbnail and then squeezing the skin on each side to pop it open.

Originated in the Bolivian rainforest and is now grown in Australia.  The farmer of the fruit grew up eating the achacha in Bolivia and, on moving to Australia, missed it so much that he spent four years cultivating it to be grown successfully and sustainably.

Its nutrients include calcium and vitamin C and less sugar than many other fruits, it is  rich in antioxidants, potassium and Riboflavin which neutralise “free radical” molecules in the blood thought to contribute to ageing and illness.  Dietary gurus claim it can also benefit pregnant women because of its high levels of folate, a naturally occurring form of folic acid which promotes healthy blood cell formation and circulation.

The Achacha shall be available at Marks and Spencer, £2.50 for a pack of four.


Fruit Logistica 2014 – Berlin, Germany

NPD Direct chefs participated at the Fruit Logistica trade exhibition in Berlin, Germany – Europe’s largest fresh produce exhibition (more than 60,000 visitors from 130 countries meeting over 2600 exhibitors from around the world).

Working with Gourmet Garden herbs and spices the chefs joined Gourmet Garden’s new distributor for Holland and Germany – Nature’s Pride – on their large, end of aisle stand in one of the prime positions of the show.

FL NP FL-NP-1-e1392631722340 FL Chefs


FL-NP-2-e1392631656267 FL Stir Fry FL NP Z

Using the event as the ‘launch’ of Gourmet Garden products to Nature’s Pride’s existing and potential new customers, the two chefs demonstrated both Gourmet Garden’s herbs and spices and Nature’s Pride’s wide range of exotic vegetables and fruits. The chefs, Chris and Marcus, ensured that everyone got off to a healthy start with fruit smoothies that contained a hidden ‘kick’ of either Gourmet Garden Ginger or Lemongrass; lunches over the three day event consisted of a range of stir fries that mixed Nature’s Pride’s exotic vegetables (including edible flowers as garnishes!) with a variety of Gourmet Garden herbs and spices; during the afternoon Chris and Marcus made fresh dips flavoured with Gourmet Garden products and served with raw vegetable crudités.

More than one-third of US consumers cut back on red meat for health reasons

Red MeatDespite prevalent health trends encouraging consumers to eat less red meat, 90 per cent of US consumers are eating some kind of red meat at least once a month, but 39 per cent of beef and other red meat consumers ate less in 2013 than they did in 2012, according to new findings from market research organisation Mintel.

Furthermore, a quarter (25 per cent) of pork consumers claimed to have eaten less pork in 2013 than they did in 2012. In contrast, only 10 per cent of beef and other red meat eaters said they were eating more, and only 13 per cent of pork consumers said the same.

“Health trends motivating consumers to cut fat and cholesterol intake are by far the most dominant factors affecting the red meat market,” said Patty Johnson, Global Food Analyst at Mintel. “While some consumers are turning away from red meat, in favour of healthier alternatives, there are still a staggering number of Americans who partake on a regular basis. For many of those who are cutting back they are very well trading up to a higher quality meat product,” she said.

Opportunity for higher quality meats

Indeed, 16 per cent of those US consumers who said they were consuming less red meat were eating less, but a higher quality red meat. Mintel said this creates an opportunity to market higher quality meats to consumers.

Packaging innovation potential

While innovation in this category has been low for several years, packaging may be an area for meat manufacturers to innovate, particularly to appeal to women. More than one-third (35 per cent) of women would like to see more resealable packaging, 26 per cent said they want individual-sized portions and 23 per cent said they would like to see recipe options on the package.

Price also a reason for cutting back

Piggy BankWhile health concerns were the top reason consumers were cutting back on meat, the price of meat was another matter of contention. More than half (58 per cent) of consumers said they had noticed the price of red meat increasing in the past 12 months, and 36 per cent said it was too expensive to buy it as often as they would like.

“The red meat category is facing a difficult future, as both health trends and price are working to discourage consumer demand for red meat products,” Ms Johnson said. “The industry also has done little to innovate since the recession and therefore has offered consumers little to get excited about. This presents an opportunity for the industry to try to invigorate the market with new products, improved quality and improved functionality,” she said.

The hidden amounts of suagr contained in your alcoholic drinks

Scientists have recently recommended to the World Health Organisation that men shouldn’t consume more than eight teaspoons (32g) of sugar a day or women six teaspoons (24g) a day.  The amount of sugar hidden in alcoholic drinks has been revealed by nutritionists and it’s probably more than you think.

How much sugar is in your drink?

Pint of real ale  9

Pint of Guinness or Stout  5

Pint of Premium Lager  3.5

568ml bottle of Magners Pear Cider  8.5

Pint of Strongbow Dry Cider  3.5

175ml glass of Mulled Wine  11

175ml glass of medium Sweet Wine  2.5

Vodka and Red Bull  7

Gin and Tonic  5.5

Vodka and Coca Cola  6.5

Sambuca shot  4

Amaretto shot  4

50ml glass of Baileys  2.5

50ml glass of Port  3

50ml glass of Sweet Sherry  2

Smirnoff Ice  7.5

Barcardi Breezer  5.25