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Walking Group “Doughnation”

In May, we supplied some of our individually wrapped Ring Bake doughnuts to a North West walking group, hoping to gather some useful feedback. The group members took them on a 14km walk from Elterwater in the Lake District.

The doughnuts made a welcome addition to the walkers’ packed lunches and the feedback was generally very good. It included positive comments about both their taste and texture. None of the members had tried the Ring Bakes before and many were surprised to discover how soft they were. (The light structure is the result of a unique process that entails steaming and then baking.)

The individual packaging was also considered an attractive feature, making the products convenient and well suited for inclusion in rucksacks, picnics and packed lunches.

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Shortlisting for 2024 Grocer Gold Awards

We’re delighted to announce that for the second time in three years, Simply Doughnuts has been named as a finalist for the Grocer Gold Awards in the ‘Waste Not Want Not’ category.

We received our official notification on 10th May. The full list of award categories and finalists can be seen here on the 2024 Grocer Gold Awards website.

The ‘Waste Not Want Not’ award celebrates companies that have made significant efforts to minimise waste – in terms not only in terms of ingredients and packaging, but also in terms of resources such as water, fuel and energy.

Over the last 12 months, we have continued to reduce our use of energy and materials, despite rising demand and the launch of a whole new range in July 2023.  We now produce less waste dough, we have introduced more efficient plant and equipment, and we have further streamlined our logistics to reduce the need for road miles and associated emissions.

We have continued to divert 100% of waste from landfill but, now, we are sending a sizeable proportion of waste to anaerobic digestion plant, where it becomes a valuable source of low-carbon energy.

Our shortlisting in this prestigious industry award programme reflects progress in these and other areas.

“This is the second time that we have been named as a finalist in this category,” said company MD, Shiraz Master. “We know the competition is very intense so it suggests that we’re doing something worthwhile. We’ve been finding new ways to reduce our carbon footprint and to minimise material waste, but we’ve also been moving forward with new product development as well. For example, our new line of Ring Bakes offer even longer shelf-lives, so we’re offering retailers even more ways to reduce the risk of waste-related losses.

“Progress like this is always a team effort, of course, so I’m delighted that our collective efforts are being recognised in such a respected and fiercely contested awards competition.”

The Grocer Gold Awards will be held on Tuesday 2nd July at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

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Finalist – Food Management Today Awards

We’re delighted to announce that our Ring Bake Doughnuts have been shortlisted in the ‘Best Bakery Product’ category of the 2024 Food Management Today Awards.

The full list of finalists can be seen on the Food Management Today website. (Opens in a new tab.)

The shortlisting followed our official submission in November and the testing of product samples, which we sent to the judging panel in February 2024. The judges made their decision on the basis of criteria including great taste, value, and modern packaging.

The award ceremony itself will take place at the Royal Garden Hotel in Kensington, London on Thursday 27th June 2024. The event will be hosted by the renowned chef, author and TV presenter, Michel Roux Jr.

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Fundraising for Cancer Charity

At the end of March, we pledged to support a charity fundraising effort by four members of Tesco’s supply chain team.

James Clark, Matt Chapman, Austin Gwilliam and Grace Mitchell wrote to us to explain that, in May, they would be taking part in the Samworth Challenge, aiming to raise £2,000 for The Brain Tumour Charity. The event, which is known for being physically demanding, takes place in the Lake District and entails 10 hours of cycling, hiking and kayaking. The team made the commitment in memory of Grace’s aunt, Kim Mitchell who passed away in February 2023.

The Brain Tumour Charity is the world’s leading brain tumour charity and the largest dedicated funder of research into brain tumours globally.

Anyone wishing to support the team can make a pledge via their dedicated Just Giving web page.

Tesco staff fundraiser, 11th May

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Supporting Blackburn Food Bank

On 25 March, we donated 144 tubs of doughnuts to Blackburn Food Bank in support of its Easter Treat food parcels.

Based on Oakenhurst Road close to the town centre, Blackburn Food Bank is part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust. It is run mainly by volunteers and seeks to help those who may be struggling with poverty and hunger. In particular, it supports people who are referred to it by partners including GPs, social workers, housing providers and the emergency services. Since its foundation in 2012, it has provided over 440,000 meals to nearly 120,000 residents of Blackburn with Darwen.

In 2023, nearly 7,400 of the people it supported were children.

We first began working with the organisation towards the end of last year, when we contributed to its Christmas campaign. It performs a very valuable service for local people and communities, and we intend to provide regular support.

The organisation’s ‘Give Help’ web page provides more details about how companies, individuals and other interested parties can support its work.

Visit the Blackburn Food Bank website

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Committed to Waste Reduction

On 14 March 2024, Simply Doughnuts signed a letter of commitment to support the principles and delivery of the UK Food Waste Reduction Roadmap.

The Roadmap is designed by IDG and the waste-minimisation charity WRAP – ‘The Waste and Resources Action Programme’. It provides a structure through which UK retailers, food manufacturers, hospitality and food service companies can reduce food waste. In this way, all the organisations that sign up to it can contribute to delivering the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 12.3, which calls for a 50% reduction in global food waste per capita by 2030.

The Roadmap features several important milestones that will need to be reached on this ambitious journey. WRAP writes:

“With less than eight years left to achieve this ambition, we are calling on all large food and drink businesses to commit to the Roadmap by: adopting a food waste reduction target, measuring food waste in accordance with best practice, sharing their data with WRAP annually, and working together to take action to reduce food waste in operations, in supply chains and in households.”

Simply Doughnuts is proud to be supporting the initiative. Since our formation, food waste minimisation has been a key focus of our R&D work, and we have enabled retailers to achieve substantial reductions by offering products with greatly extended shelf-lives. However, there is always more that companies can do, and this Roadmap will help us to target incremental improvements.

Companies wishing to sign up can do so via the WRAP website, which also provides a number of free tools, templates and guidance documents.

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Food Bank Donation

In mid-December, we received an enquiry from Blackburn Foodbank, a charity that provides vital help for people in crisis, including those struggling with the cost of living. Its office manager Rachel Massey asked whether we would be prepared to provide some free stock to help the organisation produce festive Christmas parcels for the families that it supports.

We were happy to help and, on 20 December, we handed over a donation of 40 cases (320 units).

Shortly afterwards, Blackburn Foodbank wrote to us to say:

“I wanted to take a moment to personally thank you for your incredibly generous donation. Your kindness and compassion are truly inspiring. Due to your donation, we are able to provide essential food supplies to individuals and families who are facing challenging circumstances. Your contribution brings hope and comfort to those in need. We are incredibly thankful.”

Blackburn Foodbank is part of a nationwide network of foodbanks, supported by The Trussell Trust, which works to combat poverty and hunger across the UK. More details can be found on its website. The site also explains how individuals and businesses can support its work through donations, volunteering, sponsorship and food donations.

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2023 Outstanding Exporter Achievement Award

Simply Doughnuts is proud to have been named a winner in the 2023 International Trade Club Awards, which took place on 6th December at at Accrington Stanley Football Club. The awards are hosted every year by East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce.

At the event, we won an Outstanding Exporter Achievement Award, which recognised our success in developing key markets in the Gulf States.

In an official statement, the Chamber wrote: “Simply Doughnuts exports its fresh, long shelf-life doughnuts to the largest hypermarkets in the Gulf States. It has increased its exports year-on-year and has reinvested to boost production capacity, to drive continued product innovation and to increase its workforce.”

Responding to the announcement, company chair Mike Wilson said: “This is a wonderful way to conclude our series of award wins for 2023, and it’s especially nice to see our ongoing investments being acknowledged and applauded.

“This is all part of our continuing efforts to build our domestic and export markets while maintaining the highest quality standards. We’re doing this partly by highlighting the commercial and environmental benefits of longer-lasting ambient products. Food waste-minimisation is a growing trend and we’ve been a leading innovator in this sector for many years. We have a genuinely unique product and we intend to build upon our prominent position in 2024 and beyond.”

Speaking on behalf of the Chamber, Mandy Lockett, International Business Director said: “The International Trade Club’s final meeting of the year was a resounding success, bringing together the international business community to celebrate amazing achievements and set the stage for continued growth in 2024. A huge congratulations to each of our worthy winners – your successes this year deserve to be celebrated.”
Guests at the 2023 International Trade Club Awards

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Season’s Greetings from Simply Doughnuts

From everyone here at Simply Doughnuts, we wish all our customers the very happiest of holiday seasons, and a very prosperous New Year.

Looking back, 2023 has been important to us for a host of reasons. Some of the most important developments have included:

  • The launch of our new Ring Bakes
  • Renewal of our AA+ rating by BRC Global Standards
  • Joining the Craft Bakers Association
  • Joining RSPO (the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil)
  • Beginning an extensive, company-wide carbon audit
  • Attending international trade fairs and trade missions, and growing our export markets
  • Winning the title of ‘Best Bakery in Lancashire’ in the National Bakery Awards
  • Winning the ‘Diversity & Inclusion’ category in the 2023 Business Champion Awards
  • Winning the ‘Export Award’ category at the 2023 Food Manufacture Excellence Awards.

With new product development work progressing well and new stockists now trialling our products, we’re hoping that 2024 will be an equally successful year – for us and for all those who work with us.

Christmas tree decorated with doughnuts

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Fireworks Fundraiser

In November, the Simply Doughnuts team organised the delivery of 300 free tubs of Classic Mini Rings to support a school fundraising event, organised by the Home Farm School Association and Prettygate Schools in Colchester.

The event – the “Big Bang Family Fireworks Night” – featured mini fairground rides, drinks and a barbecue, as well as a food stall attended by volunteers.  All tickets sold out and the event was very well attended, despite some wet weather.