|Lucy Gossage - Blowing Away the Cobwebs|
Blowing away the cobwebs
18 March 2013
Mum came down to Cambridge yesterday and we were walking down the backs in the pouring rain with winter coats, gloves and hats. Not the spring like stroll she had hoped for, though the sight of snowdrops, crocuses and the first daffodils is sure evidence that spring isn’t too far off.
And with spring comes ‘mini-races’; little tests to see where I’m at and get the mind and body back into racing mode again. I’m a big fan of using races for training. Firstly because I enjoy racing, particularly local races which friends and training partners are doing. And secondly because I think it’s much better to make mistakes in the smaller races which don’t matter than in the big ones that do. Lots of people don’t like putting themselves out there unless they’re fully fit and rested but I’m someone who likes using smaller races as good hard training sessions.
This year, rightly or wrongly, I decided to use exactly the same swim and run test format I did last year. A 1500m time trial in the pool on the Friday followed by Cambridge half marathon on the Sunday. Benefits being that I could make a direct comparison. Disadvantage being if I was slower than last year it would be pretty gutting! Fortunately I wasn’t slower on either though my run time was only 13 seconds quicker… Not exactly a ground breaking step forward but it was still a pretty decent run (1.18.29 and 3rd female overall) on a slightly different course in truly horrendous conditions. It wasn’t quite what I’d hoped for – I think I’m running a bit better than last year at the moment – but it was the best run I could get out on the day and all things considered was far from a disaster.
I was mega impressed with my boss who managed 2.02 in his first half marathon. I never thought I’d be having chats with him about losing toe nails after running when he appointed me 4 years ago. Unfortunately I missed seeing him finishing as I was having a chat with the lovely John Levison from tri247 about my plans for the year (read his post). Typical high flying Cambridge professor finishing 15 minutes quicker than he had told me he would….
The following weekend I raced the Monster Racing Ely Duathlon which is a brilliant local race. I’ve raced all their duathlons since they started in 2011 and they’re well organised and always good fun. They also do a superb middle distance in August. Well worth checking the races out if you’re local to Cambridge. Anyhow, I have to admit I wasn’t convinced racing it would be a great idea the week after the half and wondered whether it would just be a bit of an embarrassing dawdle. Particularly as I knew I’d have very decent competition in the form of Vicki Gill and my friend and running buddy, Esther. At the end of the day though I thought it’s a training race, man up and get on with it! More importantly I really wanted to try out my brand new, completely blinged up Vitus time trial bike. I’d ridden it once for a long ride on the Friday, then had a bike fit in the evening (I’d not set it up properly!) so it was raring to go and be ridden fast. So there wasn’t really an option other than taking it to play in a race! Good old Chain Reaction have really gone to town with it – thought to be honest I don’t know enough about bikes to fully appreciate the top end components they’ve fitted it with. Luckily however I have enough male friends who do to fill me in. “Blimey they’ve even given you a SRAM dome cassette”. Me – “Eh. What does that mean?!” Yes Chain Reaction, you’ve well and truly done me proud. I just hope I can do the bike justice! Thank-you – I really did fall on my feet when I signed with you last year.
So I’ve got the bling bike. What about some bling wheels. Well, what can I say other than I am one lucky girl…. Anyone heard of Lightweight? I’m probably the only person in the cycling world who hadn’t until they contacted me in December. A quick Google search made me think they must surely have emailed the wrong person. I didn’t even know wheels that nice existed! It turns out they did mean to email me, and somehow I find myself in possession of 4 of the lightest and fastest wheels in the world for the season. Wowzers!
Anyhow, I got side tracked – the point of all that was that I wanted to race and if I didn’t win it wasn’t the end of the world, at least I’d have had a good training session and test ridden the bike. And I always knew the Monster races are good fun, particularly with a good contingent from Cambridge Tri racing. In the end I did win though I had to work for it. I enjoyed a good old ding dong with one of the guys from Cambridge tri who I just beat but who will no doubt beat me next time we race, and it was great to have my buddy Tom Vickery racing again, though maybe he could have won if he hadn’t given out so many high fives! All in all a fun morning out and another little box ticked before the big ones.
I’m off to Majorca in a week or so for 8 days training and then it really is race season. First big one is the European Duathlon in Horst, followed by Mallorca 70.3 in May. Bring it on – I can’t wait!
|MERIDIAN PLEDGES TO PROTECT RAIN FORESTS WITH ‘PRIMATE-FRIENDLY’ RANGE|
the nut and seed butter brand is to cease using palm oil across its range of
peanut and speciality nut butters from January 2013. It is the first major nut
butter brand to make the move in the UK.
hopes that the move will encourage other food manufacturers to stop using palm
oil and by doing so, help halt the mono-forestation of critically endangered
wildlife habitats in countries such as Borneo.
Robinson, Groups Sales Manager at Meridian brand owner 3V Natural Foods comments:
“Our decision to stop using palm oil reflects the caring nature of the brand
and positions Meridian as Britain’s first primate-friendly peanut butter.
been producing nut butters at our factory in North Wales for over 30 years and
although we’ve never been a big user of palm oil, we wanted to be the first to completely
turn our back on this ingredient. Most of our lines are simply 100 per cent
nuts while other Meridian products contain very high percentages of nuts with just
a pinch of sea salt.”
large-scale cultivation of palm oil has been cited by environmental groups as a
threat to the Orang-utan and other primates that inhabit the rainforests of
Indonesia. The impact of these plantations includes deforestation, habitat loss
of critically endangered species and significant increase in greenhouse gas
has previously sourced its palm oil from ecological sources under the guidance
of the Round Table on Sustainable Palm Oil, an industry body established in
2004. But results from the company’s own consumer research confirmed that
shoppers are motivated to choose brands that do not contain palm oil.
stopping all use of palm oil, Meridian is aiming to help consumers make informed
purchases and in the nut butter aisle and to create a clear point of difference
from rival brands.
adds: “This step will mean that we will no longer make our Brazil Nut Butter as
our trials with alternative oils have proved unsatisfactory. But it does put us
on a new course for future product development of nut butters that taste great
without an environmental aftertaste.”
known for its Almond Butter, Cashew Butter and Peanut Butters, Meridian offers
a broad range of food and ingredients including nut butters, cooking sauces,
oils and fruit spreads. It has a retail value in excess of £12m.
brand’s nut butter offering has shown stellar growth in the past year. Nationally
the nut butter sector is showing strong year-on-year value growth of 11.0 per
cent to £48.7m*. Meridian’s value growth
is the fastest among the established players with an impressive 145 per cent
leap from last year’s figures, representing over £397k of new sales. The sector
is forecast to sustain annual growth of around 10 per cent during the next two
Scantrack 52 w/e 29 September 2012 **
|FILL UP THIS CHRISTMAS (PIES, PUDDINGS, APPLES…)|
Desperate to capture the taste and spirit of Christmas but no time to make your own treats?
Eager to enjoy traditional tastes but struggling to trust the products on the shelves? We’ve got Christmas in a jar for you.
Our Meridian Organic Mince Pie Filling provides a delicious taste of the season because it’s crammed with fruit and spices and little else. Naturally sweetened with apple and molasses, it’s free of all animal products and tastes heavenly. Its aroma alone will make you want to eat it straight from the jar.
We use orange, sultanas, lemon, raisins and spices such as nutmeg, allspice, cardamom and cinnamon in our recipe so it’s a perfect addition to pies, festive puddings, baked apples or even stirred into porridge. Try it with strong hard white cheeses and a glass of Madeira.
Wheat- free, nut-free, gluten-free and nut-free, we stuff this mix with 80% fruit and no nasties.
Find it in your local independent health food store, Holland & Barrett or online at Ocado or Earthfare.
|USA Peanut Butter Recall|
There has been a recall of peanut and almond butter products in America over possible Salmonella contamination in New Mexico-based Sunland Inc. products, Sept 2012.
However Consumers of MERIDIAN FOODS Peanut Butter and other nut and seed butters can rest assured. All MERIDIAN FOODS peanut, nut and seed butters are manufactured at our own production facility in the UK in North Wales. The peanuts we use are sourced from reliable, assured supply chains that comply with our very stringent specifications which include testing for Salmonella. All the peanut, nut and seed butters are fully microbiologically tested after manufacture and only released for sale on clear results. We can confirm our supply of peanut is not linked in any way to the Salmonella incident in the USA.
|MERIDIAN ORGANIC ALMOND BUTTER WINS ORGANIC FOOD AWARD|
Foods is a proud winner of a Soil Association Organic Food Award for its
Organic Almond Butter. The product topped the savoury preserves category and
was originally nominated for the award by members of the public.
from 99.5% organic almonds and nothing more than a pinch of sea salt, Meridian
Organic Almond Butter is produced in Corwen, on the edge of Snowdonia National
almonds are roasted with their skins on, ensuring that this nut butter retains
all the taste and valuable nutrients of the almonds.
on warm toasted bagels, it’s also great in breakfast smoothies. It can be used
in baking, for making salad dressings and you can even stir it through hot
Organic Almond Butter is just one of an impressive range of organic and natural
nut and seed butters from Meridian. Other options include Cashew Butter, Brazil
Nut Butter, Pumpkin Seed Butter, Tahini and Hazelnut Butter. Meridian also
makes several different styles of peanut butter including recipes using 100%
Organic Food Awards 2012 were announced as part of this year’s Organic
September, Europe’s biggest celebration of all things organic. Now in their
24th year, the Soil Association Organic Food Awards recognise and
celebrate the highest quality organic food and drink. The awards are among the
most prestigious and widely respected in the UK food sector.
three days at the Duke of Cambridge organic pub in London, an expert judging panel
of food critics, restaurateurs, broadcasters and chefs, including Hardeep Singh
Kohli and Jo Wood, sipped, nibbled and crunched their way through over 500
products across 28 categories.
in all categories was by blind tasting, with products rated according to smell,
texture, appearance, taste and overall 'yumminess'.
awards are open to all organic food and drink products that are certified by a
recognised certifier within the EU. Winners gain industry respect and are able
to use the recognised and trusted awards logo on their products.
|LUCY GOSSAGE WINS BRITISH ELITE DUATHLON |
Congratulations to pro-triathlete Lucy Gossage on her success in the British Duathlon. Lucy’s training and race day performance is fuelled by Meridian nut and seed butters. Here is Lucy’s post-race blog…
Yesterday I raced – and won – the British Elite Duathlon Championships in Loughborough. What an unexpected dream start to my season! Diesel engine goss – win – a sprint, drafting event? Surely not….!
I entered this as a bit of fun, mainly because training partners Esther (Rodriguez) and George (Schwiening) were doing it and I didn’t want to miss out. So it was meant to be a very low key, hard training session before flying out to Majorca for a training holiday. And that was the plan – until the ever optimistic tri247 MAGAZINE picked me out as one of the pre-race favourites. Which I guess watered the ever so slightly dormant competitive seed in my brain…. The big names weren’t racing, I knew I was running well, I hoped little George and I may be able to work together on the bike - who knew what might happen.
So overnight, a low key race I hadn’t thought about at all suddenly became something I did care about and something I wanted to race well. To the extent that I went and practiced transitions on not just one but two days before, knowing that seconds really can count in such short races.
Rachel Bamford and I had a 30 second lead at the end of the first run, and though I was a bit concerned that having done most of the work on the bike I would get out-run on the second run it turned out the reasonably quick pace I’d set on the bike had sapped Rachel’s legs more than mine. So I managed to win with a fairly comfortable margin and a smile.
Rachel is young and has only been on the scene for a year or so - definitely one to watch over the next few years. Little George came 3rd overall (and first junior) and Esther finished 8th. Overall a pretty good day for our lunchtime running club – those reps down the gene path outside the hospital pay off!
Funnily enough the few hours after the race were distinctly more stressful than the race itself…. Challenge Anneka turned into Challenge Goss and Esther! Our flight to Majorca was departing exactly 6 hours after crossing the finish line. Tight at the best of times. Even more tight with road closures, a bike falling off the bike rack on the A1M (seriously it was dangling by a bit of string….!) and packing bikes into boxes in the street. But we made it and now have a week or so of swim, bike, run in the sun to look forward to.
Comment from my flat mate the day on Saturday “But I just don’t understand why you’d choose to race the day you go on holiday?” Answer – “Why waste a day travelling when you can get a race done in the morning before you leave”. Thank god I have some friends who think the same as me! Life is good!
|LUCY GOSSAGE GEARS UP FOR BOLDEST SEASON YET|
Early spring blog update from pro- triathlete Lucy Gossage. Lucy’s training is fuelled by Meridian nut butters. Get the latest from Lucy at www.lucygossage.com.
Four weeks and counting until Challenge Fueretventura and I’m starting to feel a slight sense of trepidation! As always at this time of year I start to question where I am, what I might be capable of achieving and feel somewhat nervous of the first big “test”.
When I’m thinking rationally I know that I’ve had a good winter ensuring a solid base under my belt; however I have a tendency to be somewhat of a pessimist about my abilities and find it easy to convince myself that I’m slower than last year, am nowhere near good enough to be racing pro and am making a fool of myself by even trying. Enough negative thinking! Anyway as the saying goes, the cake is in the oven and it’s time to make the icing…. Exciting and scary at the same time!
I always enjoy racing and find entering low key, non target races is a fun way of challenging myself and keeping me on my toes. As such I raced the ECF monster duathlon in Ely a couple of weeks ago and Cambridge half marathon on Sunday.
I’ll be honest – the duathlon wasn’t my greatest performance ever. I’d had a cold in the week and neither my heart nor head really felt like racing. I was pleased to pull off the win but it certainly felt much harder work than it should have done. Still, a solid training session in the bank and a nice prize cheque too.
In contrast, I ended up properly psyched for the half marathon. It was hard not to as I could see them setting up the finish line from my bedroom window! I have to admit feeling a fair bit of pressure to perform well at this – Cancer Research UK (who funds my research) was the event charity so loads of guys from work were doing it, and the event was sponsored by Saucony, my running shoe sponsor who provided the fast twitch racers I was using.
So even though I’ll never be a proper runner, I did want to have a decent run. With that in mind I had a couple of easy days before, prepared myself mentally for some hurt and set off on a mission to break that 1.20 barrier (my previous PB was 1.20 and a solitary measly second at Bedford in December). I won’t pretend it was an easy run – it hurt from about 2 miles in! But I was really pleased to clock a 1.18.42 on a very twisty, on road off road course – 2nd lady behind professional runner Holly Rush and 19th overall. Chuffed! Four days later and my calves are still feeling it, though lots of time on the foam roller and permanent Compressport calf guards seem to be helping them heal!
|3V’S RUSSEL SMART IN OLYMPIC CHARITY CHALLENGE|
The countdown to London 2012 is well underway and even the Torch is on the move across the country. Russell Smart, commercial director at 3V Natural Foods is not one to sit and watch the rest of the country get athletic; he’s up for a challenge.
Along with several friends and a diverse group of people from across the country of Hampshire, Russell is tackling 10 Olympic events in a quest to help raise £100,000 for local charities.
Russell has already run 20k in March and raced around a velodrome on his bike in April but there’s a lot still to do:
4 hour Tennis Marathon
Triathlon (Swim, Cycle, Run)
5000m Middle Distance Run
100 km Road Cycle
Track & Field Athletics Event (200m, 800m, Long Jump. Shot Putt)
Table Tennis Event
1500m Long Distance Swim
Personally, Russell is aiming to raise at least £2,012 for Wessex Cancer Trust (helping cancer patients and their families in the Wessex region), Rose Road Association (supporting children with profound disabilities) and The Rainbow Centre (transforming the lives of children with Cerebral Palsy).
If you’re reading this and feel inspired, you can still play your part. And if you know that deep down you feel sluggish, out of shape and unable to be athletic in this Olympic year, you too can feel connected to this great challenge.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Your details are safe with JustGiving – they’ll never sell them on or send unwanted emails. Once you donate, they’ll send your money directly to the charity and make sure Gift Aid is reclaimed on every eligible donation by a UK taxpayer. So it’s the most efficient way to donate - Russell raises more, whilst saving time and cutting costs for the charity. http://www.justgiving.com/Russell-Smart
Good luck to Russell and all those involved.
|A FEW RUNNING RACES – AND WHY I LOVE CAMBRIDGE|
Leading amateur triathlete Lucy Gossage looks back at recent results and forward to 2012. Lucy's performance training is fuelled by Meridian Nut Butters.
I always think winter training can get a bit dull unless you spice it up. So I’ve been keeping myself interested by doing a few fairly low key running races. I view them as hard training sessions and find them a really fun way of breaking up winter training.
One of the most enjoyable was the Hereward relay, a mainly off road team relay race from Peterborough to Ely which I raced with friends from Cambridge triathlon club. I also raced the historic Oxford-Cambridge Varsity Cross Country (see pic) on Wimbledon Common and am now officially the oldest ever winner of this race – a fact I’m quite proud of!
In true Cambridge style there is a lot of tradition associated with the race and it’s certainly unique. Each university can field 6 runners so there are only 12 girls on the start line, all dressed in white (why?!). The course is fair and tough, including a river crossing and I felt a bit like the old granny, stumbling down the banks mid-pack. However I paced it well and ran into the lead about half way round, so finally I’ve managed to pace a cross country race properly – at last!
I then raced Bedford half marathon. Though I hadn’t rested specifically for the race, I did go into it with a very definite goal – a sub 1.20 clocking. So despite winning it, I was pretty furious with myself when I crossed the line in 1hr20 and 1 second! It’s a tough course though and was certainly a good hard training run – I just wish I had managed to go 2 seconds quicker!
To be honest I’m surprised I’ve been running so well recently, particularly as I have a couple of kilos of extra protective winter padding (which I intend keeping for a couple of months while the weather is cold). However I think most of this is down to my weekly training with Esther Rodriguez, a friend from work who is going to take the tri world by storm next year.
She used to swim for Spain and I used to punish her in running sessions. However, the table has turned and it is now me who is chasing her down the path outside the hospital which we use for our reps. Her huge improvement over the last year has got me thinking about how circumstance can influence aspirations, belief and performance. And ultimately, I’ve come to the conclusion that Cambridge is the perfect stomping ground for any athlete.
OK, there may be no mountains here. However the wind turns pretty much every run or ride into a mountain climb so that’s not really an issue. But Cambridge is somewhat of a unique city. It’s probably not to everyone’s taste and definitely gets some getting used to; when I moved back here I was astounded by students wandering around town in gowns in the middle of the day. However, Cambridge attracts a certain kind of person; driven, focused, determined. People don’t do anything by halves. They’re verging on obsessive and probably 80% have type A personalities.
Take the inaugural Cambridge half marathon for example – entries filled up in 2 days. And Cambridge isn’t full of runners. Yet it is full of people who will take up a challenge. So anyone who had ever picked up a pair of running shoes decided that, yes, actually, there was no reason why they couldn’t run a half marathon – and hence the race was full (sadly before my boss could enter it).
Consequently, Cambridge has a huge pool of talented, driven athletes so when it comes to training partners, there is no shortage of better athletes to push each other on and drive each other forwards. I run with better female runners, swim with better female swimmers and bike with better female bikers, as well as the plethora of supportive, surprisingly non-egoistical guys who are more than happy to have women fighting to keep up with them.
Though we’re all competitive individuals, as a bunch I think we celebrate each other’s talents and appreciate that we can learn from each other rather than turning every training session into a race. Success breeds success, of that I’ve no doubt. You see someone you train with do well and then wonder whether you could do the same. And I think that’s what’s happening in Cambridge. We have our own, non-official, very informal semi-elite training ‘team’ here.
|NUT BUTTER PRICES MAY GO A BIT NUTTY|
Nuts don’t grow near our factory in North Wales. We’ve tried but you know what the weather can be like.
We source our peanuts, cashews, Brazils and other nuts from different countries around the world and we keep a close eye on the quality with the help of our trading partners.
2011 has been a poor year for peanut crops, particularly in the USA. This is pushing global prices up and it can be a catalyst for fluctuations in the price of other nuts too. We’re hoping for better news from the South American peanut growers anytime now.
We’re keeping a close check on prices and we’ll absorb increases if we can.
We hope that you’ll continue to enjoy the Meridian range of nut and seed butters and that you’ll let us know how you use them in recipes, as toppings and in baking.
Follow us on Twitter @MeridianFoods or email us using the link on our Contacts page.
|LUCY GOSSAGE PODIUMS AT BARCALONA IRONMAN|Leading amateur triathlete Lucy Gossage grabbed a surprising podium finish in her end of season ironman in Barcelona at the start of October.
After her brilliant victory at Ironman 70.3 Ireland a month before, her Spanish adventure was supposed to be a gentle wind down at the end of a hectic season of races. Read Lucy’s race day blog to learn how to manage expectations ahead of a big event, then judge race pace perfectly to get on the podium.
Everyone at Meridian Foods is proud to help fuel Lucy's success with our organic nut butter range. Well done Lucy!
To find out more about Lucy’s on-going success as a triathlete, visit her website, lucygossage.com
|LATEST RACE NEWS FROM LUCY GOSSAGE|
As part of our commitment to a healthy and active lifestyle, we support some of Britain's best up and coming athletes.
Lucy Gossage is a rising triathlon star. Here's her latest blog update with news of more race success.
22nd August 2011
Race time again!
The last few weeks have flown by in a whirlwind. After a big block of races and holidays at the start of the season I realised I needed to get my head down and do some training again in order to move forwards. It felt good to get back into some kind of work and training routine again, and I particularly enjoyed doing some club swim sessions as without them my weak swimming had definitely got even worse.
I’d spiced up my weekend training with a few relay triathlons with friends for a bit of fun. The Eastern club relays (with Cambridge triathlete friends “Tween, the teenage prodigy” (aka George Schwiening and “super swimmer” Esther Rodriguez) was a fun sprint relay at Gosfield lake which we won, albeit in rather bad fancy dress.
Next up was the Outlaw triathlon followed a fortnight later by Bradwell waterside long distance triathlon. Read more...
|TOP 10 FOODS FOR GREAT ABS|
Not all of us here at Meridian Foods have great abs but it’s an aspiration.
Although few of us take part in triathlons, cycle to work in the rain or even get to the gym as often as we’d like, it could be argued that we’re in exactly the right workplace to get a ripped stomach in time for our holidays. And here’s why.
Nutritional experts continue to extol the virtues of eating nuts and nut butters as part of an active lifestyle and diet. Rich in beneficial essential fatty acids, our nut butters help to fill up the body for longer, helping to discourage over-eating at mealtimes. They are called ‘essential’ because the human body cannot make them and we must get them from our diet.
Plus there are lots of micro-nutrients in nut butters that can play a beneficial role in promoting general wellbeing and supporting the body before and after exercise.
This report continues to bust the myth that nut butters will add inches to the waistline. Instead they provide a great source of healthy protein that can help anyone trying to manage their weight.
Top 10 foods for great abs
2. Lean meat
3. Oily fish
5. Olive oil
7. Whole grains
8. Low-fat dairy
9. Peanut butter
|FOODS THAT FLATTEN YOUR TUMMY|
If you’re striving for a sleeker stomach this summer, check out Rachel Mainwaring’s guide to foods that flatten your tummy.
Rachel recommends almonds and other nuts that help you feel fuller for longer while peanut butter also wins praise as it is rich in niacin, helping to promote healthy digestion.
|EATING FATS CAN HELP FIGHT THE FLAB|
A news report on www.msn.com this week highlighted the positive role that good fats can play in a healthy diet and through this, help support weight loss. The good fats in peanut butter came in for particular praise.
For decades people trying to lose weight have been told to cut fats from their diet but experts are increasingly of the view that foods that are rich in the ‘good fats’ have a vital role to play in healthy eating and even in weight loss diet pans.
Research carried out at Brigham and Women's Hospital (a Harvard affiliate) found that people who eat a diet high in monounsaturated fat (also found in olive oil, avocados and peanut butter), are more likely to lose weight than those following a strict, low-fat diet.
“Fats have a number of crucial roles in our bodies”, says Ceri Morgan, nutritional therapist and food coach at Recipe for Health. “Fats can make us feel full and therefore help with appetite control. Eating natural foods including nuts and nut butters can help the body listen and respond to its own appetite control mechanism (a hormone called leptin). Other fats are crucial the performance of hormones such as insulin that takes glucose into cells and thyroxin which controls the body’s metabolic rate.
“Far from labelling all fats as bad, we really do need the right fats as part of our diet. Without fats we can’t absorb vitamins A, D, E and K so it is very important to eat the right fats, even during a weight loss programme.”
Peanut butter and other nut butters are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and help provide essential fatty acids including Omega 3 and Omega 6.
“The body cannot make these fats so they have to come from our food”, adds Ceri. “People following our Recipe for Health weight loss programme are encouraged to include nut butters in their food intake with Almond Butter and Cashew Butter being the current favourites.”
|FUTURE OF FOOD CONFERENCE, WASHINGTON DC|
As passionate producers of organic food, we have been keen to listen to the debates from last week’s Future of Food Conference, held at Georgetown University, Washington DC.
His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales made a speech to the Conference, before meeting the President of the United States of America, Barack Obama at the White House. With so many global and family matters to discuss, we very much hope that they made time to discuss the role of organic food in our world economy.
The Conference covered many topics but all the speakers seemed to concur that organic farming had a vital role to play. As one American commentator stated, the assembled experts had “a clear commitment to a vision of small, organic agriculture.”
Speaking at the university, The Prince spoke about sustainability and providing healthy food at affordable prices.
In the speech, The Prince said: “This is the challenge facing us. We have to maintain a supply of healthy food at affordable prices when there is mounting pressure on nearly every element affecting the process. In some cases we are pushing Nature’s life-support systems so far, they are struggling to cope with what we ask of them. Soils are being depleted, demand for water is growing ever more voracious and the entire system is at the mercy of an increasingly fluctuating price of oil.”
The Prince’s involvement in the Conference may have been missed by many Brits enjoying the weekend weather but the media on both sides of the Atlantic have feasted on his comments.
Thanks to civileats.com for the use of this image.
|Real Food Festival 5-8 May 2011|
This year’s event, which takes place at London Earls Court, today until Sunday, will feature a butchery demonstration, a re-creation of a working tea garden from Tregothnan estate, as well as 400 food producers, street food, tastings and debates.
Meridian Foods will be at the show to share tastings of our speciality nut and seed butters as well as our new Organic Licorice and Peanut Butter & Oat Bars. Come and find us on stand 74E.
The Soil Association will be there. For more information, please visit http://www.realfoodfestival.co.uk/
|FUEL UP FOR THE RACE|
If you’re about to embark on a springtime adventure, be it a marathon, a charity bike ride, a moon walk, a Race for Life fun run or even an Ironman, we recommend that you fuel up on nut butters.
Our range of organic and natural nut butters is hugely popular with those people looking for nutrient-dense and calorie loaded real foods free from artificial additives. They are a positive addition to a training diet anytime but if you’re gearing up for an event, fuel up with our Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter for example. Here are eight healthy reasons to try it:
1. A natural energy booster – 2,400kj per 100g
2. High in fibre – 8g per 100g (for slow-release energy)
3. Packed with protein – 29g per 100g (great for veggies and vegans)
4. A fab source of magnesium, 48 per cent of RDA (vital for nerve and muscle function)
5. Resveratrol from peanut skins – scientists believe that this antioxidant can boost longevity*
6. Rich in positive fatty acids – mono + polyunsaturated
7. No added sugar (+ a choice of a no added salt/sugar recipes)
8. No palm oil or hydrogenated vegetable oils
And if you think that’s healthy, take a look at our full selection of Peanut Butters and other products in our whole nut and seed butter range; Almond Butter, Cashew Butter, Pumpkin Seed Butter, Hazlenut Butter and Brazil Nut Butter. If you’re in need of nourishment on the move, try out Organic Peanut Butter & Oat energy bars.
GOOD LUCK, HAVE FUN, KEEP GOING
* Scientific references to resveratrol refer to an Italian study published in Current Biology in February 2006 and this was referenced in UK journal, Healthy in its March 2011 edition.
Following the recent tragic events in Japan, there has been some concern over the import of Japanese food products due to the potential of radiation contamination. We would like to reassure MERIDIAN customers that there is no immediate risk to the supply of MERIDIAN Teriyaki, Tamari and Shoyu soya sauces which contain soya sauce sourced from Japan.
At present there are adequate stocks of product in the UK which were supplied before the disaster struck and contingency plans are in place to maintain supplies. All current supplies are from this UK Stock. Checks are to be carried out by the Japanese authorities on food exported from certain regions of Japan, where production could be affected by the nuclear accident. There will also be extra checks when the food arrives in the EU, in addition to the routine monitoring of imported food which takes place, to ensure that food from Japan is compliant with all Food Safety Laws & completely safe to consume.
|HOW TO CLEAN OUT JARS OF PEANUT BUTTER|
If you love nut butters as much as the team here at Meridian Foods, you’ll regularly face the challenge of cleaning out the jars before recycling.
Determined to provide a credible solution, we’ve been conducting experiments, researching ideas and consulting our friendly experts. Before we pass on our answer to one of the stickiest of questions in the kitchen, take a look at some of the other considerations below.
Don’t bother – Some recycling experts believe it is futile to spend energy and waste water trying to thoroughly clean nut butter jars. When glass jars are recycled they are subjected to a heat treatment process that exceeds 2700 degrees. Not even Meridian’s organic whole nut butters can withstand such an attack.
Get saucy – A popular way to use up the last of the nut butter is to combine it with other ingredients in the jar as a final act of delicious thriftiness. If you love to use peanut butter to make a savoury sauce or dressing, try this approach from the Paid in Full blog. It’s packed full of frugal ideas.
Pooch power (do not try this at home) – Apparently dogs love nut butters, though we can’t imagine that it should be a regular feature of their diet. Several contributors to online forums report that they give their dogs the empty peanut butter jars to clean up before a final wash out with soapy water. This may give satisfaction to a dog with a generous snout but imagine the frustration it would cause a pug! Not recommended.
OK, enough of the doggie-style fun. Here’s our recipe for success to clean out your peanut butter jars.
Step 1. Pour in around 4 tablespoons (60ml) of spirit/white vinegar into the empty jar
Step 2. Add water from a freshly boiled kettle and top up the jar so it’s two thirds full
Step 3. Replace the lid, shake vigorously, then leave to stand for a few minutes
Step 4. Repeat step 3 a few times while the water/vinegar solution is still hot
Step 5. Rinse and recycle the jar
If this solution has worked for you or if you’ve got other great nut butter, recycling or domestics tips to share, email us and we’ll post up the best ones for others to see.
|POWERS SNACK AND TEATIME TREATS|
Our range of speciality nut butters is as versatile as it is delicious.
If you’re looking for recipe ideas that can fill up a lunchbox or you’re just in need of some high energy snacks to fuel up ahead of your next run, cycle or gym workout, here are a few ideas.
The first two suggestions are from the recipe section of this site while the others are favourites that we’ve found online and that have been written by healthy eating experts and peanut butter lovers around the world.
For a great natural hit of the right kind of energy, try No Bake Fruit & Tahini Slices. These are so easy to make and can be prepared in a tray to create slices or instead roll into walnut-sized balls to create a batch of energy bites.
If you and your family love a flapjack but want a nutritious twist to the traditional theme, make these Date and Peanut Slices. The combination of peanut butter, oats and wholemeal flour ensures that energy is released slowly to maintain a flow of nutrient-packed oomph throughout the day. Try them as a healthy breakfast bite or add them to lunchboxes.
For more foodie ideas, check out the recipe section of this site and discover lots of ideas for cooking with our nut butters
A contributor to online health community wellwire.com recommends a Walnut and Pomegranate Stack.
This recipe for Almond Butter Balls looks scrummy and chocolatey and is taken from the Pebble Crossing blog.
And if you just fancy a piece of cake with a brew, we recommend this Banana Almond Snack Cake that blogger Marla Meridith has featured on her site familyfreshcooking.com.
Don’t go hungry…
|ARE YOU IN LOVE WITH PEANUT BUTTER, EXERCISE OR BOTH?|
It’s that time of year when you’re either motivated to do lots of exercise and have become a gym junkie or, you spend your time wishing that you could find the energy to get more active.
Regardless of which camp you fall into, we recommend a dose of Meridian Organic Smooth Peanut Butter with no added sugar and no added salt.
Always on the move
If you’re in the first camp and you’ve already started training hard for a big event in the spring, you’re probably aware that good quality peanut butter is something of a superfood to runners, triathletes, cyclists, walkers and others that love to be active. A great source of protein and rich in several important vitamins and minerals, our organic peanut butter is also naturally high in monounsaturated fatty acids that help to provide energy and also combat bad cholesterol.
Unlike most producers, we make our Meridian Organic Smooth Peanut Butter with the skins still on the nuts. This increases the fibre content and ensures that it delivers slow, sustained energy to the body – ideal for those on the move for any length of time. The skins of peanuts are rich in polyphenolic compounds. These are the antioxidants that are found in red wine, green tea and fruit and vegetables and that have been linked to a wide range of health benefits, including reduced risks of cardiovascular disease and certain cancers.
If you like the idea of being more active but would actually rather stay in and eat peanut butter, we’ve got lots of ideas to help.
Eating too much of anything and being physically inactive is not a recipe for health and vitality but we like to think that our organic peanut butter can be a catalyst for action. Try any of the recipes on the links below and we hope that you’ll be sufficiently energised to walk a while, dust off that mountain bike or maybe sign up for your first fun run.
The links below are from some of the best blogs by peanut butter lovers around the world. If you’ve got recipes to share or just want to tell us about the exciting and energetic things you do after eating peanut butter, drop us a line and spread the word.
Peanut Butter Apple Cheesecake Squares
Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Bars
Husband-winning Peanut Butter Cookies
Peanut Butter Protein Crunch Balls
|Meridian at NPE|
Meridian will be exhibiting at the Natural & Organic Products Exhibition at Olympia once again this year. It will be the 4th year in succession that the company has supported this trade show since it was returned to independent ownership in 2005.
|MERIDIAN Organic Peanut Butter & Oat Bars|
Further to the information provided below concerning the salmonella in USA peanut butter we would like to let everyone know that our MERIDIAN Organic Peanut Butter and Oat Bars are made from MERIDIANS own Organic Peanut Butter produced in North Wales & are not associated in anyway with other Peanut Butter Snack Bars sold in the UK that may have be en recalled.
|Salmonella outbreak in USA Peanut Butter|
In January 2009 The UK's Food Standards Authority announced that it had been informed of a large outbreak of Salmonella Typhimurium in the USA that was thought to be linked to peanut butter and products containing peanut butter.
Consumers of MERIDIAN FOODS Peanut Butter can rest assured however. All MERIDIAN FOODS peanut butters are manufactured at our own production facility in the UK in North Wales. The peanuts we use are sourced from reliable, assured supply chains that comply with our very stringent specifications which include testing for Salmonella. All the peanut butters are fully microbiologically tested after manfacture and only released for sale on clear results. We have contacted our peanut supplier who has provided a written assurance that our supply of peanuts is not linked in any way to the Salmonella incident in the USA.
So, carry on enjoying them!
|MERIDIAN High Quality Tamari|
The reason that MERIDIAN Tamari is such good quality is that it is made from a completely Wheat and Gluten Free Recipe, coupled with the fact that it is very concentrated compared to other Soya Sauces. MERIDIAN buy their Tamari direct from Japan. The protein content, a measure of concentration and flavour, of MERIDIAN Tamari is 50% higher than many other Tamaris and Soya Sauces on the market, which means that consumers need to use less in their recipes.
|MERIDIAN Launches Pumpkin Seed Butter|
MERIDIAN has launched an Organic Pumpkin Seed Butter 170g and has immediately got a listing for it within the new SAINSBURY Whole Foods Section.
|1 KILO MERIDIAN Organic Peanut Butter|
MERIDIAN has launched its top selling Organic Peanut Butter as a 1 kg tub. Russell Smart, Commercial Director, says "Consumers are looking for getting great value for money without comprimising on quality. Buying in bulk is certainly one way of saving money". MERIDIAN Peanut Butters are available in Holland & Barrett and many independent health food shops.
|MERIDIAN at NPE 5th/6th April 2009|
MERIDIAN will support the Natural Products Exhibition for the 4th year in succession since the brand was returned to independent ownership. Peter Otto, Sales Consultant, says "MERIDIAN has always supported this show as it is a great opportunity for us to meet many of our loyal independent wholesalers and retailers. MERIDIAN is one of the top five brands in the Health & Organic Food Trade and it is right that we are at this showcase event in London".
|Biofach 2009 19th-22nd Feb|
Come and visit MERIDIAN in Hall 3 Stand 110i where it is exhibiting as part of the British Pavilion. There will be a lot of interest for UK produced food and drinks as the weak £gbp is making UK manufacturing appear more competitive than the rest of the €uro zone.
|Meridian Foods – “Going Back To Their Roots”|
When Meridian Foods, was returned to independent, private ownership in October 2005, the production facilities were not included as a part of the acquisition. However, the new owners recognised that having direct control of manufacturing would underline and support the credibility of the company as a specialist supplier in the health food market.
The new owners, who based the company head office in Sutton Scotney, initially focussed on creating a radically different image, to represent the rejuvenation of the Brand, and also on developing an extensive range of new products.
However, over the first 18 months it has become increasingly apparent that there would be considerable benefits if the company had greater control of the development and manufacturing process.
Neil Butler, Operations Director of Meridian Foods Ltd., is therefore delighted to announce that the Corwen facility has been acquired from Greencore PLC for an undisclosed sum.
Based in the beautiful Dee Valley of North Wales, Corwen is the birthplace of the Brand, and where the founder, Andrew Jedwell, built a successful and pioneering health food business, prior to its acquisition by Greencore in 1999.
By strengthening the links with the Brands “spiritual home”, the new Meridian Foods Ltd can also safeguard the employment prospects of the 13 staff, one of whom is the longest serving Meridian employee, Site Manager Brian Jones, who originally joined Andrew in the 1980’s ! One of the first projects Brian worked on was the launch of a range of pure Peanut Butters, which became a core part of the range and still symbolises Meridian’s philosophy, which is to create natural, healthy foods with a minimal amount of processing. The nuts are gently roasted with their skins on to extract all the goodness and then simply crushed to create a delicious nut butter spread.
Brian commented, “This is tremendous news for the staff and the local community, as the new owners have demonstrated their desire to grow the sales of the Brand and expand the range we produce here. We have already introduced several new Organic lines, in response to the continued increase in consumer demand for healthy, natural products”.
[Picture: Brian Jones (left) and Neil Butler at Corwen overlooking the beautiful Dee Valley]
|NEW MERIDIAN FREE FROM PRODUCTS - SUMMER 07|
Meridian Foods has added to it's delicious range of "Free From" Cooking Sauces with five great new flavours. The new products are made with ingredients that are specially selected to be free from dairy products, wheat & gluten, and are all packed in 350g jars as are the existing four flavours.
The new products are:
All these great new sauces can be used for a complete variety of cooking methods being suitable for meat, fish vegetables and quorn, either accompanied by wheat free pasta or rice.
|GREAT NEW ORGANIC PRODUCTS - SUMMER 07|
Meridian continues to roll out an innovative new product development programme with the launch of some new organic products to add to its portfolio.
Organic Almond Butter
- 170g - An organic version of the top selling, great tasting, Meridian Natural Almond Butter. Almonds are packed with nutrition and are particularly good sources of Vitamin E, Riboflavin, Calcium, Phosphorous, and Magnesium.
Organic : Barley Malt Extract
- 370g - An extract of organic barley and organic malted barley which contains a complex mix of carbohydrates, trace elements and vitamins. Great with hot milk before bedtime or as a natural sweetener in cooking.
These three products are made at our factory in Corwen, North Wales where the experienced Meridian team continues to work at developing new healthy products to tickle the taste buds and contribute to your natural lifestyle.
|Meridian Foods win at The Natural Trade Show - Sep 2007|
Meridian Foods beat off heavy competition at The Natural Trade Show in Harrogate in late September 2007, to win the prestigious Best Product Organic Award for Meridian Organic Honey & Cider Vinegar. The renowned health benefits of these two ingredients [ 51% /49% respectively ] are now available for the first time as an Organic blend, produced in the UK.
Nominations were entered throughout the day by keen exhibitors and then judged by The Health Food Institute.
Neil Butler of Meridian Foods said, “Since Meridian was returned to independent private ownership 2 years ago we have worked hard to develop an innovative new product development programme, with an emphasis on organic products. We are very grateful to receive the Best New Product Organic award for the Meridian Organic Honey & Cider vinegar. It is great news for the brand and recognition that our strategy is being well received by the independent health food trade. With a strong NPD programme and our distinctive new packaging rolling out across our entire product range now, we are confident that Meridian is leading from the front and will help drive growth for the independent retailers and the continued promotion of healthy, natural nutrition.”
Meridian Foods was established over 30 years ago and is committed to providing wholesome tasty foods, without the use of artificial additives and with the minimal amount of processing.
From humble beginnings Meridian Foods today produces a huge range of foods to the same high quality and principles. The company scours the globe for the finest, most authentic ingredients, to bring the health conscious consumer a range of delicious options that are, Naturally Different ....... Naturally Better. The delicious organic range includes everything from Fruit Spreads, to Olive Oil; Fruit Juice Concentrates to Pasta Sauce. The entire Organic range is certified by the Soil Association, which monitors and maintains the standards of organic foods.
|New Meridian Organic Products - Sep 06|
The first new products to be developed by the new owners of the Meridian brand have now been launched.
There are 4 new great tasting 350g Organic Premium Pasta Sauces Organic Tomato & Chilli Organic Tomato & Basil Organic Chunky Vegetable Organic Sundried Tomato These pasta sauces, which are all labelled with the new Meridian organic logo, have no added water or starch and a higher tomato and oil content as a result.
There are also 4 new 250ml Organic Fruit Juice Concentrate flavours:
Organic Pear, Organic Apple and Blackcurrant, Organic Apple and Blueberry, Organic Apple and Cranberry.
These delicious additions to the Meridian range are a convenient way to buy healthy and great tasting organic fruit juice, in recyclable glass bottles.
All these new products should begin to appear in your local health food store from September 2006 onwards.
For your nearest retailer click on "where to buy" on the menu.
|New Meridian Logo - Sep 06|
Following research of what the MERIDIAN brand stands for the new owners embarked on a revamping of the brand image during 2006. Neil Butler, Operations Director, said "We wanted an image that not only refelcted the brand's natural, healthy and ethical values, but also stood out on the shelf so that our customers will recognise the wide range of Meridian natural and organic products in store."
Labelling incorporating the new logo will first be seen in stores from September 2006 with the launch of new Meridian organic products (see separate news article). It will then be rolled out across the Meridian organic range in the remainder of 2006, and across the free from and natural ranges during 2007
|Meridian Back In Private Hands - Oct 05|
The Meridian brand, synonymous with Organic & Health Foods, for over 20 years has been returned to private ownership following its sale by Greencore Group plc to private investors at the end of September 2005.
Neil Butler, the new Operations Director, said “This is an exciting time for the Meridian brand which we will reinvigorate with some exciting new product development and innovative marketing. Our first objective, however, is to address some of the supply chain problems to ensure that the planned growth is managed from a sound base”.
The new owners have appointed Peter Otto, the former Meridian Foods Managing Director, as the new Sales & Marketing Manager. Peter said “I am delighted to be back working with the Meridian brand. It has always been a strong independent brand in the Organic & Health Food sector. We look forward to discussing our ideas for marketing and new product development ideas with our distributors in the health food trade”.
The Meridian brand was established by Andrew Jedwell in 1986 and the brand now has sales of £5 million at rsp, making it one of the top five health food brands in the UK. The focus of the business is on Organic & Health food products produced to a high quality, with a further emphasis on special dietary requirements through the Free From range.
Currently the range includes Fruit Spreads, Nut & Seed Butters, Edible Oils, Soya Sauces, Natural Sweeteners & Molasses, Fruit Concentrates, Yeast Extracts, Cooking Sauces & Table Sauces.
The new owners intend to maintain the high integrity of the brand and will be looking to expand the range with truly innovative product launches in the next year.
|New Meridian Free From Range - 2004|
This range has been created to meet the huge increase in consumer demand for products which are clearly labelled for “allergy avoiders”, and are free from gluten, wheat and dairy ingredients.
The range features the two most popular Indian sauces, 2 versatile Italian sauces which can be served with pasta, vegetables, meat or fish, and a traditional Green Pesto.
The Tikka Masala (350g) is created from a blend of authentic ingredients. Coriander leaf, lemon juice and tomatoes are indicative of this medium curry.
The Creamy White Wine and Mushroom Sauce (350g) is a classic combination for fish, chicken or pasta and is enhanced with the earthly pungency of porcini mushrooms, and the herby aroma of thyme and marjoram.
Korma Sauce (350g) is traditionally a sweet curry of ground nuts and pureed onions to give a pulpy texture.
Sundried Tomato Sauce (350g). Originally from southern Italy and Liguria, sun dried tomatoes have become a must for any Italian cook. They are used sparingly because of their rich malty flavour.
The Green Pesto (170g) is a traditional and classic Pesto, of which 34% is Basil to enhance the overall flavour. The key ingredients are basil, olive oil, garlic and pine nuts.
The 4 sauces have an RSP of £1.29 and the Green Pesto has an RSP of £1.49