Simnel cake provides helping hand for firm

Julian Day of Meg Rivers Artisan Bakery, Blackwell, nr Shipston on Stour. NNL-150414-133246009
Julian Day of Meg Rivers Artisan Bakery, Blackwell, nr Shipston on Stour. NNL-150414-133246009

A bakery in Shipston-on-Stour has been shortlisted for an award by online supermarket Ocado.

Meg Rivers Artisan Bakery is among five businesses to be shortlisted for Britain’s Next Top Supplier.

Each year, Ocado looks for the next big thing in food and will be announcing this year’s winner in May.

The winner will receive an opportunity to go national with an exclusive six-month Ocado listing, a £20,000 marketing support package and four mentoring sessions with last year’s winner, Hannah Rhodes of Hiver Beers.

The awards are judged by Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge.

The company made it through to the final 50 and had to give a Dragons’ Den style presentation at Ocado’s HQ in Hatfield. Owner Julian Day presented a Simnel cake. He said: “It is just as well I did because it happened to be our judge’s favourite cake. It went down very well. It certainly helped us to get down to the final five.”

He added: “There is a very attractive prize which includes a £20,000 marketing budget, which for a little company like me would be a huge boost.

“But to get this far is already an achievement. It is a great way for small producers to get their name in front of a much wider public.”

Meg Rivers Artisan Bakery started 25 years ago and Mr Day took over the firm in 2001 following the death of Mrs Rivers.

He used to be in the catering trade in Tysoe and was asked to take over the bakery by Mrs Rivers’ family.

The firm is now based in Blackwell Business Park.

The shortlisted five will have to give a further presentation to a panel of judges, including former Marks and Spencer chairman Stuart Rose.

See Ocado’s YouTube video from last year’s Britain’s Next Top Supplier competition embedded in this story.