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Chilli Gourmets is a unique food business specialising in the production of a wide range of chilli peppers, with various levels of spice. All chillies are grown by founder Jane Fern, before being used by Jane to prepare handmade chilli products that enhance the flavour of any meal.

Motivated by her passion for chillies and keen to develop her business idea, Jane began renting kitchen space at the University of Chester’s NoWFOOD - a centre of excellence for food producers across the region.  As well as encouraging and nurturing small to medium sized food businesses through dedicated business support, NoWFOOD provides state-of-the art facilities and analytical services enabling food and drink manufacturers to explore new markets and develop new product ideas.

Since being engaged with NoWFOOD, Jane has received a wide variety of support including HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Point) training and food product development assistance. The NoWFOOD team has also supported Jane to develop new products such as her Brilliant Beetroot Chilli Relish which recently won a 2017 Great Taste Cheshire Award. Jane comments:

“Without the support and advice I have had from NoWFOOD, I would not have had the confidence to launch my business!”

The University of Chester is a proud delivery partner of the ERDF funded Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme, which aims to provide local entrepreneurs and SMEs with 12 hours of fully funded business support. Through this initiative, Jane was able to attend a series of food workshops which explored food product development, scaling up production and how to get food products onto supermarket shelves. These workshops were delivered by industry professionals who were able to offer expert advice and share business success stories. Jane comments:

“The workshops helped me to really focus on how I wanted to develop my business. I have found the advice to be invaluable. It has given me the confidence to diversify my products which is working really well.”

Jane has seen a 300% increase in turnover since working at NoWFOOD, and a 100% turnover since starting the Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme.

With support from the NoWFOOD team, Jane is now expanding into retail outlets and developing “own brand” food products for a number of delis and farm shops. She has also organised and delivered her own cooking workshops which have proven to be very popular. Jane comments:

“The Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme has provided me with a real insight into the wider Food and Drink industry, and has helped me take the next steps to advance my business.”

For further information on the Cheshire and Warrington Business Growth Programme, and to access 12 hours of fully funded support, please email BGP_New_Enquiries@chester.ac.uk or call 01244 512655. 

To find out more about the University of Chester’s NoWFOOD Centre, please visit https://www1.chester.ac.uk/business-growth/locations/nowfood-centre.

To find out more about the University of Chester’s NoWFOOD Centre, please visit www1.chester.ac.uk/nowfood