Eyes on the pies, as food innovation experts at the University of Nottingham support new venture
Feast your pies on this….plant-based Jampa’s Porky Pies has officially launched and it’s already winning awards.
Jampa’s Original Porky Pie started life as a lockdown idea when plant-based chef Richard Fox suddenly found himself with time on his hands. He was keen to create a plant-based pork pie to rival the appearance, texture and taste of a traditional pork pie.
With support from food technologists at the Food Innovation Centre at the University of Nottingham, he’s now perfected the Porky Pie and it already has listings in both the retail and the wholesale sector, with interest from the food service sector too.
Jampa’s officially launched at Food & Drink Expo at the NEC, Birmingham, with their Original and Spicy Chorizo Porky Pies – both of which won gold awards at the neighbouring Farm Shop & Deli Show. A meat-free steak and ale pie will be following shortly.
Food innovation technologist Dr Annie Blissett, who supported Jampa’s with technical advice and knowledge, said: “This is a really exciting plant-based range, and it was brilliant to see it being showcased at the Food & Drink Expo and to hear that the brand is already achieving success with awards and listings.
“Jampa’s is a highly innovative plant-based food company. With the ethos of ‘alchemy not chemistry’, the company has a strong moral drive to study, learn and create 100% plant-based products which look, smell and taste as good as their traditional counterparts.
“The role of the Food Innovation Centre is to support innovation ideas in the food and drink sector and the team was delighted to help the Jampa’s enterprise on its journey from inception to launch. We wish them our very best for the future.”
The original Jampa’s plant-based Porky Pie had already tasted success when it was previewed onto the market last year. It won the Dragon’s Pantry feature at the inaugural World Plant Based Expo Europe. Since then, Richard and his business partner Simon Hurley have been working to secure investment, develop new products, upscale the business, find a manufacturing partner and bring Jampa’s Porky Pies to market.
Award-winning cookbook author and ex-carnivore Richard said: “I didn’t give up meat because I don’t like the taste of it, as a former meat eater, perfecting vegan alternatives has been a passion of mine for some time. It was important that the end result had the appearance, texture and most importantly, taste, of an actual pork pie. My mission was to give committed meat eaters, flexitarians and vegans everywhere the ultimate meaty experience – without actually eating meat.
“It started as a labour of love when I was playing around in the kitchen during lockdown. It became an obsession to create the perfect plant-based pork-style pie. I wanted to create something that would give a meat-eater a quality experience comparable to a pork pie. It took six months to get the texture right.
“While this started out as passion project, I was bowled over by the positive feedback and the encouragement I received towards launching in the retail market. I wanted Porky Pies to retain their artisan status and as a chef, I flatly refused to create anything that wasn’t entirely natural or that would require ultra-processing. After careful development, I’m proud to say that we’ve achieved that goal.”
It’s not just the meatiness that’s impressed consumers, Jampa’s 100% plant-based Porky Pies have zero cholesterol and around 70% fewer carbon emissions than a traditional meat pork pie of the same size. As a passionate foodie, Richard has lost none of his commitment to natural, quality ingredients since his plant-based epiphany. As such all Jampa’s products are completely free from artificial additives and additives – therefore no Methyl Cellulose.
Food technologists at the Food Innovation Centre supported Jampa’s with development work on the products.
“We were introduced to the University of Nottingham Food Innovation Centre, and they have become integral parts of our team,” explained Richard. “It’s very much a collaboration. Annie brings that fantastic scientific expertise and background to help in the development process. She’s applying science when I was applying chance which can save a huge amount of time.”
Richard praised the role that food innovation technologists at the University of Nottingham have played in supporting the enterprise as it developed.
“I think what they do is fantastic,” he said. “The facilities are fantastic, and the support is too. They are a great asset to the team and are very much part of the team and that’s how we view them. It gives me another sounding board. It really helps to have that resource at hand.”
As a plant-based chef consultant, Richard used the opportunity of a hiatus in his work during the covid pandemic to develop the concept of Jampa’s Porky Pies.
Richard added: “There’s no way that this business would exist today if it hadn’t been for lockdown.”
Despite only just launching officially, the brand already has listings in supermarket chain Booths across all its 28 stores in the North, with plans to launch into Waitrose too. It is also available via wholesaler Cotswold Fayre, the largest independent wholesaler supplying farm shops and delis in the UK.
For retail, the Jampa’s Porky Pies will be sold baked and chilled. For foodservice, and retail, they can also be supplied unbaked and frozen.
Richard and Simon have ambitions to grow the business.
“We want to be seen as very much at the quality end of the plant-based sector and crucially our target market is meat-eaters who are flexitarian,” added Richard, who has an office in Nottingham.
Richard is a plant-based chef consultant, presenter and writer who transitioned from carnivore to vegan overnight in 2019 and has since become an ambassador for the sector.
The Food Innovation Centre, based at the Bioenergy and Brewing Science building at the University of Nottingham’s Sutton Bonington campus, offers free support to eligible small and medium-sized food and drink manufacturers in Derbyshire and Nottinghamshire under the Driving Research and Innovation project – a three-year project that runs until the end of June 2023. Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the D2N2 LEP, the project is run by the Food Innovation Centre at the University of Nottingham School of Biosciences, in conjunction with the Chemistry Innovation Laboratory in the School of Chemistry and Institute for Advanced Manufacturing and in association with the Midlands Engine. It is a unique collaboration project that provides free specialist innovation support to small and medium-sized businesses.
For more details about the Food Innovation Centre, visit https://www.nottingham.ac.uk/fic/food-innovation-centre.aspx
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