Ethical Food Producer Muddy Boots Thinks Local Choosing Oakland International
Supporting specialist gourmet burger producer Muddy Boots Real Foods, distribution partner Oakland International is providing a firm foundation from which the Worcestershire-based company can continue to meet rising demand, recently tripling their retail listings.
Speaking about the role Oakland International continues to play in their expediential growth, Miranda Ballard Co-founder of Muddy Boots Real Foods Ltd explained: “The massive attraction was Oakland’s ability to consolidate picking, meaning we could share pallets with other small producers, helping reduce our costs. Some of our first orders to Ocado or Budgens were for less than 20 cases and if we used a pallet on its own, our product would barely be higher than my knee! So it made so much more sense to try and fill pallets with other producers; from both environmental and bottom line points of view.
“We also loved the fact that Oakland was local, and that everyone was telling us how fast it had grown and how great it was.”
Muddy Boots Real Foods is headed by husband and wife team, Roland and Miranda Ballard, who started the company in 2008, supplying stores across the country with their archetypical and fresh approach to beef burgers, proving that they could promote top quality, ethically farmed British beef as well as produce a product that would not only taste delicious but would literally challenge many of the stigmas attached to burgers.
Both innovative and fast growing Worcestershire companies, Oakland International’s close working team assisted at every step with their ability to offer unrestricted order quantities which made a significant difference to the small but growing producer. “Oakland has great knowledge and contacts in the whole industry and it’s a business which is very well respected.
“When we started supplying Musgrave (Budgens), and said we were looking to use Oakland International, they were really pleased as they’d already been working with them and knew it was a great company which provides great service. For us it meant that at a stressful time of launching a new contract, it was a lovely relief that the relationship between the retailer and the distributor was already established and it was one less thing to worry about.”
Offering a growth partnership for food producers, encompassing distribution, warehousing and logistics, Oakland International gave Muddy Boots the opportunity to move to EDI ordering, currently supporting six pallets per week for their Budgens and Ocado contracts, freeing them to focus solely on growing the business.
Oakland International’s MD, Dean Attwell commented: “Muddy Boots is a great example of British entrepreneurship at its best, and it is a real pleasure working with them and their first-rate products as they continue to expand and further develop the brand and their retailer relationships.”
Muddy Boots will be launching two new premium products this autumn in addition to their much-loved classic recipe, and caramelised onion and mozzarella handmade Aberdeen Angus beef burgers, continuing to work hard rebranding the face of the burger and proving that it is a versatile and nutritious meal option for today’s modern home kitchen.
Miranda offered these final words of advice for other burgeoning food producers looking to enter the retail market: “There’s a simple problem which small producers don’t tend to be aware of until nearing a deadline… Loading bays in big depots don’t accept transits!
“Working with Oakland International allows you to access even the big depots, even when it’s obvious you’re not really ready! It’s also the most exciting thing to see a pallet of your stock go up on an articulated lorry! We still haven’t got used to that.”