Burnham Norton’s Norfolk Saffron is inspired by Downing Street visit

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Having been chosen as one of the UK’s 50 Food Stars as part of new Government initiative, Dr Sally Francis of Burnham Norton-based Norfolk Saffron, is keen to get started on developing new ideas.

Dr Francis, along with Patrick Saunders, from Fakenham’s Norfolk Sloe Company, were among 50 food and drink entrepreneurs chosen to feature in the initiative launched by Defra last week.

Environment Secretary and South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss was one of the speakers who addressed those who attended Defra’s offices on Friday, followed by a reception at No 11 Downing Street.

Said Sally: “It was a very inspiring day with useful workshops by different speakers. One thing we learned from all of them, even the really high-powered businesses, is to ‘trust your gut instinct’.

“What I really appreciated was that people were honest about their business mistakes and it was really helpful to hear what they had to say.”

Among the figures to address the food stars were Justin King, former CEO of Sainsbury’s and Dame Fiona Kendrick, CEO of Nestle UK and Ireland.

“The Food Stars between them all have a wealth of expertise and we will certainly be networking and looking to support each other,” said Sally, who like Patrick, has previously been awarded three gold stars in the Great Taste Awards.

Sally said expanding her market is now a key objective for her. “We do well in Norfolk and are looking to develop our market UK wide and get the Norfolk Saffron message across.

“I am also now starting to export overseas, having had orders from Canada and also the EU through Norfolk Saffron’s online shop.”

Following last week’s launch of the Food Stars, they will receive continued support from the Food and Drink Federation and Cranfield University over the next year.

Liz Truss commented: “We’ve created Food Stars to recognise the bright innovators of today and support them to become the major players of tomorrow. Our Food Stars show if you want to see a vision for Britain’s bright economic future, look no further than the UK’s food and drink industry.”