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Stir it up magazine May 2017

THE MAIN INGREDIENT Kenneth Axen Kenneth Axen is Managing Director of Futura Foods, which has been supplying cheeses from around the Mediterranean to the UK Retail, Foodservice and Industrial markets for 15 years. He has built a team dedicated to providing full Sales, Technical, Marketing and Logistical support as part of Futura’s tailored service. What is it about your experience and company philosophy that inspired you to champion the cause of Mediterranean cheeses in the UK? As a global supplier of Mediterranean-inspired cheeses, in 2013 Nordex realised there was a great opportunity to further develop their worldwide sales of Halloumi, Feta and their own products by expanding into the UK. Futura Foods provided the frame work to build that platform for the future, to expand and support Futura as it grew. We have also enhanced the significant benefits Futura adds to its customer relationships. Feta and Halloumi are now featured in the top 10 most popular cheeses in the UK and their respective volumes are growing at a fast rate in both Retail and Foodservice. Do you remember your first encounter with Mediterranean Cheeses? Nordex have supplied their products to the Middle East and its expat communities since the 1980’s. Today we are the largest distributor of Feta and Halloumi outside Greece. I have always liked the taste of white Mediterranean style cheeses and before joining Nordex I regularly enjoyed the products due to their smooth taste and texture. Do you have any advice/anecdotes from local producers you’d like to pass on? Feta and Halloumi are only a small part of the wider family of Mediterranean cheeses that Futura supply. Italy, France, Germany and Spain are all key countries where our products are sourced. UK consumers have become increasingly aware of the Mediterranean style diet and the high street now has an enormous selection of restaurant brands featuring this style of dining. The UK now consumes 45% of all the Halloumi produced in Cyprus and is the largest export market for its producers. I am sure that as people travel more widely now than they did 30 years ago, this is reflected in the foods we eat at home. What characteristics make these cheeses such essentials in the repertoire of chefs and catering managers? Mediterranean cheeses are popular due to their versatility and flavour profile. They provide a welcome alternative to the traditional cheddar cheese. Salads, burgers, recipe dishes can all be designed around one or more of these versatile cheeses. They are great eaten cold or cooked within a dish, to add a fuller, more distinctive flavour. Many are suitable for a Vegetarian diet as well. Halloumi has grown in the High street as it is a great side dish or the main protein ingredient in a vegetarian dish. We have customers who serve Halloumi as part of a breakfast replacing bacon and sausage, also vegetarian fish (Halloumi) & chips are extremely popular. In a few words, how does your team at Futura go about helping your clients? Futura add value to the supply chain by providing the link between producers and customers. Our team have become recognised experts at providing tailored solutions to ensure that access is available to as many of the products we supply as possible and in the most affordable and cost-effective way. Our suppliers also value our experience as we provide them with the best opportunity to present their products to the UK market. Our sales team has over 100 years of combined experience of the dairy market in the UK and across the continent. We provide a ‘one stop shop’ solution taking care of buying, distribution, NPD and technical functions in-house with our team members. What are the key benefits of buying Mediterranean cheeses from Futura? We have our own cold store in the UK, where our products are stored for daily distribution to customers all over the UK and Ireland. We have a team of customer service advisors who help answer questions about products we can supply, process all orders and arrange deliveries. We have a strong technical team who work closely with both customers and suppliers to ensure the highest quality products are supplied. Our team audit the supplier factories to BRC specification and this year we have also achieved BRC accredited status for agents and brokers ourselves. I am extremely proud of my team and our achievements during the last three years. The UK now consumes 45% of all the Halloumi produced in Cyprus Do you have any plans to introduce more cheese types and styles into your range? We already have a large range of products available. However, cheeses such as Beyaz Peynir, Yamasak & Domyati which originate from the Middle East and made from cow’s milk only are proving very popular. We will also look to other emerging market sectors such as Lactose Free whilst continuing to supply the highest quality products from Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Spain and Northern Europe. WWW.FUTURA-FOODS.COM  @FUTURAFOODS Feta & Halloumi are now featured in the top 10 most popular cheeses in the UK ADVERTORIAL


Stir it up magazine May 2017
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