Me and My Factory

Inside manufacturing: Ramona’s Kitchen

Hazan: ‘I still test all my new product development on my friends and family’

It takes talent and drive to go from a home cooking enthusiast to an award-winning manufacturer of Mediterranean cuisine, and Ramona Hazan appears to have both in droves.

A decade ago, Hazan was making houmous from a small one-bedroom flat in north London, but now she operates from a factory in Watford, employing 15 staff and turning over £1.5M a year.

Ramona’s Kitchen draws on Hazan’s Mediterranean heritage, making houmous, falafel, dips, soups, salad dressings, vegetarian burgers, relish and sauces for retailers, wholesalers, sandwich shops and sandwich makers.

Rise in vegetarianism

Buoyed by the rise in number of vegetarians/vegans, and food-to-go’s increasing market share, Hazan – who has a Turkish father but grew up in South Africa – believes she can grow the business to £5M in five years.

“I moved to London about 15 years ago, and took on a job as a computer engineer. I used my spare time to experiment with recipes in the flat I lived in with my husband, and it wasn’t long before there were chickpeas in bowls all over the place,” she explains.

“My first few recipes were quite rubbish, to be fair. But slowly, I got better and better. Eventually, when my friends would demolish everything put in front of them, I knew I was onto something. In fact, I still test all my new product development [NPD] on my friends and family today.”

Food-to-go opportunity

Meanwhile, a Scottish bakery manager has also said the food-to-go market presents a major opportunity for her business.

Tracey Lindle, who manages the day-to-day running of Cake – part of Glasgow-based Lomond Foods – told in this exclusive video interview that consumer demand for products that look like they are made by hand is driving growth in the sector.

Do you and your factory have a story to tell? If you think you would make a suitable Me and My Factory candidate, Food Manufacture’s associate editor Noli Dinkovski would love to hear from you.

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