Hilltop Honey was founded in 2011 when Scott Davies, head beekeeper and now Managing Director, started beekeeping as a hobby in his parents' back garden. The company has since moved to a 14,000 sq ft unit in Newtown, Powys, and supplies some of the UK's major supermarkets as well as hundreds of independent farm shops and delis.
Hilltop Honey's range has grown over the years and now offers an exciting selection of British, Speciality, Organic, Fairtrade and Manuka honey varieties, along with bee pollen and cut comb. Products are available in reusable glass jars and 100% recyclable easy squeezy bottles.
The company's values are to provide the highest quality honey to its customers; to educate consumers on the benefits of honey; to support the honey bee and to be a trusted, informative and transparent brand. The company is now supplied by thousands of hives, whose beekeepers also share Hilltop Honey's values.
SUPPORT RECEIVED FROM FOOD TECHNOLOGY CENTRE
Since late 2018, the Food Technology Centre has provided a breadth of support in terms of product testing and training.
As part of Project HELIX at The Food Technology Centre, New Product Development (NPD) trials were carried out to help expand Hilltop Honey's product range. This enabled Hilltop Honey to put a number of products forward to retailers, to secure its shelf space, and to indicate that the company is continuously developing new products for the public.
The NPD trials included analysis and knowledge transfer of water activity testing and natural acidity on the company's various honey blends to validate the products' shelf stability. Microbiological testing was also carried out at the centre, and nutritional information was also provided.
Product safety is paramount, therefore, the Food Technology Centre ensures that companies have an understanding of the key assessments, such as water activity, and their implications of shelf life.
BENEFITS OF THE SUPPORT
With the assistance of the Food Technology Centre, Hilltop Honey gained 'A' rating BRC accreditation in January 2019, and with the continued support and subsequent site visits, the company can now maintain and monitor their rating and consider any necessary adjustments during the process of re-auditing.
The company also saw developments within its team's skillset and expertise. A warehouse-based member of staff was offered the opportunity to receive training through Project HELIX and is now the company's technical manager.
Scott Davies, Managing Director of Hilltop Honey commented,
Project HELIX support has allowed us to access an invaluable source of information, training and assistance at The Food Technology Centre in Llangefni. Not only has the centre helped us to ensure that our products are safe and marketable, but we have also gained technical skills within our team through Project HELIX training. The centre keeps in regular contact with us, be it on the phone or email, which is very reassuring. The whole experience has been key to us expanding our range and growing our business.