Business and Entrepreneurship

Ingenious Britain

Quite a lot has been happening at SlimnSaucy HQ.

Our Freeze You Up! project has launched at Oasis Academy MediaCityUK, we’ve been interviewed by BBC Radio Manchester (listen here) and SlimnSaucy is featured in the Ingenious Britain publication, out in the Sunday Telegraph 28th April (download it here).

Thanks for your supportMost importantly though, our website has had a complete makeover in the wake of Freeze You Up! Check out all our new information and downloads at

Jayne and Jane


Ingenious Britain

Click the picture to read the full article.

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Slim n Saucy FREEZE YOU UP!

Slim n Saucy is launching two exciting new projects with Salford City Council’s Health Improvement Service and Oasis Academy Media City UK.

This first will enable seven female friends or family members, to use community cooking facilities at Oasis Academy once a month. Each woman will cook three nutritionally balanced meals (in large quantities) to share with the group and will take home twenty-one family meals to put into their freezer at home. These can be used conveniently, Monday to Friday for the whole month, to provide a varied and healthy, home-cooked diet for the family. If you’re interested in being one of the first seven women to try the ‘cook once a month and lose weight’ model, please email

I’m really excited about this project. I’ve been working hard to develop menus which include all of the major food groups. I’ll know, when I pull one of the Slim n Saucy meals out of the freezer, my family’s health has already been taken care of. As a busy mum, with a part-time job and starting my own business on-top of this, I can’t wait to not have to worry about weekly shopping and planning family meals every day. I’m hoping to reclaim some time to spend on myself.

At an average of £6 per meal per family, this model provides real value for money. It will enable families to eat home-cooked, nutritious meals, on a budget and in a convenient way. Full menus and recipes will be posted onto the Slim n Saucy website for you to download freely. There will be additional advice posted on how to start a ‘cook once a month and lose weight’ project near you.

With Salford City Council, the second project will roll out an adapted version of  ‘Freeze You Up!’ for schools. Eight school children from Year 7 at Oasis Academy will be coming together once a week to cook five family meals to put into their freezer at home. The project will run as a pilot for six weeks from 11th April 2013 and we’ll be interested to hear whether their families feel that it helps them to eat more healthily and spend more quality time together.

I’ll be posting images, information and results from the project onto this blog and Facebook.



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2013 is the year!


This time last year I was facing imminent redundancy and a very uncertain future. Having worked in the arts for twenty years, I felt I needed a serious challenge. With a new product in mind for food retail (a totally new industry for me) and cash to see me through to October, I was going to give being an entrepreneur some serious welly. How hard could it be?

Well, it’s turning out to be REALLY hard. The physical side of working two jobs (I’m now a charity fundraiser now part-time too) and having two kids I can cope with, but the emotional stress has been tough. The highs of the successes can make the lows of the failures seem worse than they are and there’s only you to pull up the bootstraps and carry on. I’ve clung to my motivational mantras ‘many of life’s failures are people who did not realise how close they were to success when they gave up’ or ‘failure is the line of least persistence’. They’re both good ones. But on the hard days you do wonder whether you’re a bit of a gambler, just one more bet at the table will make everything ok.

But, 2013 is the year! My products need to be produced in a temperature controlled environment, my factory needs volume to put the product on the line and the supermarkets need to know they’ll sell before they’ve hit the shops. It’s all very chicken and egg but it’s certainly not all doom and gloom. There are just the last few pieces of the jigsaw to put in and it’s a challenge but 2012 has been the most enjoyable, fulfilling year I’ve had in a very long time and I’m ready for what 2013 is going to bring.

I’ve achieved more and learnt more in 2012 than I did in the previous decade. I’ve discovered a love of learning and an interest in a subject that I haven’t felt since I was a kid when I devoured everything to do with gymnastics. I’ve got a great brand and product ideas that people think are innovative and the future. The gap in the market that I identified a few years ago is now being evidenced in market research, the trend is emerging and I’ve positioned myself to grab the opportunities as they arise.

I’ve come further  than many people could hope for so for this year at least, I’m sticking with the motivational mantras as opposed to the gambling metaphors and it’s onwards and upwards for us now (rather than me) as 2012 also brought on board a trusted business partner. 

Look out for the Slim n Saucy revolution in 2013 as its arriving in a store near you!


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Open Innovation

There are lots of food entrepreneurs out there who have spotted a gap in the market and created a genius product. I’ve loved watching Gizzi Erskine and James Averdieck and all the great food ideas on Cooks to Market, Sky Living. It’s well known that the road to market for food entrepreneurs usually involves a long, hard slog as well as a lot of financial risk. We think one answer could be the growing trend in the business sector, Open Innovation.  A term used when businesses work collaboratively, sharing risks (strategy, innovation and new product development) as well as sharing rewards. Could it be an effective route for supporting would-be food entrepreneurs who have great ideas and reduce risk for them?

In the food industry, Open Innovation only usually occurs where patents can be applied to a new food technology or design. That way a transaction can occur. Something that can’t be copied is licensed from one party to the other. Could this model work with a ‘good idea? The difficulty is that you can’t protect ‘a good idea’ if it doesn’t have a design or advanced technological element. Non Disclosure Agreements are useful, if you have the funds in place to back up a legal case should anyone try to use your confidential information.

Coming from the arts sector, Jane and I are used to working in partnership with other organisations most of the time, across museums, galleries, the public, private, charitable and voluntary sectors. Strategic partnerships permeate every bit of our business. Not for financial gain, but from an absolute belief that we’ll be stronger together than apart and that the sharing of knowledge and ideas will create something better and attract more people to it.

Personally, we would love to see Open Innovation in the food industry supporting the sharing of great food ideas at all levels. It would need a recognised model of protection and support as well a greater level of trust in the industry. Ultimately though we believe collaboration between businesses and consumers, through licensing or joint venture agreements remunerating both parties, would take products to market quicker and make them more vibrant, innovative and ultimately more competitive within the global marketplace.

If you want to be a food entrepreneur, or are living the dream already, if you’re an IP lawyer or work in the food industry, we’d love to hear your comments on Open Innovation. Let us know what you think.

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Intelligent Food

I’m genuinely interested in food, health and nutrition. I can’t work out whether this is my one true passion and I should’ve studied it at University instead of ‘Media’ or, whether I’m just vain and want to look better, for longer. In any respect, if there’s any new thinking related to food, diet or exercise, to read, watch or listen to then I’m there.

Recently I’ve learnt that not all calories of the same value react with our bodies in the same way. Processed foods, laden with refined carbohydrates and sugar are the foods which most rapidly turn to body fat. This includes most current weight loss foods which is particularly ironic or more to the point incredibly annoying!

This week, Tesco’s move to adopt the traffic light system on packaging after years of delay is signalling the universal adoption of the system by UK supermarkets.  But isn’t the system now proven to be flawed? Whilst a food might have a low fat, salt, sugar and calorific value (so every traffic light will be green indicating health) if it’s highly processed and uses refined ingredients, it’s now been proven that this choice isn’t the healthiest one a consumer can make. Perhaps it could be argued that the 5-a-day logo could go some way to helping with this. The official DEFRA stamp would again have to be universally adopted by manufacturers and matched to strict government guidelines as to what can constitute part of your five-a-day in processed food. At the moment these don’t exist.

Unfortunately though, I don’t think these things will help consumers to fully understand what is and what isn’t healthy and what will or won’t help them to manage their weight. In front of us lies a massive opportunity to educate consumers on healthy food through mass on-pack information. In the end it seems that this will just be an exercise in compromise and half-truths but perhaps a nice NHS poster campaign could fill in the gaps!


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