When I wanted to bring something different but essentially British as a gift on my recent business trip to Australia, there was one brand that sprung to mind immediately – Summerdown Mint.
Their story is a fascinating one. The company was started by Sir Michael Colman, of mustard fame, who set out reviving an English variety of peppermint that in bygone days was famous around the world for its distinct flavour. Frustrated by the fact that British food producers were having to rely on inferior imported peppermint oils, Sir Michael decided to produce and distill the Black Mitcham mint variety at his Hampshire Farm.
You would have thought that after racking up many years at the helm of the family business that you might want to spend your latter years sitting back and enjoying a slower pace of life, but that is not the case for Sir Michael.
Summerdown Mint has become a successful premium brand bearing all the hallmarks of attention to detail, value and fastidious customer service. I enjoyed working with the brand when I was asked to help write some copy to describe the chocolate peppermint. Products are beautifully packaged and the awards for them are steadily growing.
Sir Michael’s vision for the company is very clear. Speaking to Country Life magazine he said: “I’m an “added value” man. I’m not good at cutting costs. That may work in the short term but, for the future, you need to add value.”
Summerdown won’t be found on the supermarket shelves anytime soon (Sir Michael prefers farm shops) and it’s now easy to buy them online direct from the Summerdown Mint website. So as the gift season approaches, why not step back in time and discover a forgotten but beautiful flavour.
Food industry expert Jane Milton has been in the business for more than 30 years and has the inside track on all things food!
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