When Broad Bean, a family run deli in Ludlow, won Delicatessen of the Year at this year’s Farm Shop & Deli Awards held in Birmingham back in April, it was the perfect culmination for owners Ian and Alice Evans.
The Evans moved house and home to Ludlow back in 2016 and took over a long-running business revamping and reviving the shop. Before taking over Broad Bean, Ian Evans worked on the prestigious Sandringham estate as a butcher; preparing meat for royalty in residence whilst Alice was a deputy head teacher of a special school working with young people with Autism and challenging behaviour (Alice also writes a column for LGL).
Alice says: “We are in shock about the whole thing! Given that it’s less than 3 years since we took over the shop, to even be shortlisted was a massive achievement. To actually win is amazing and we are thrilled to receive this industry award.”
Ian and Alice focussed on stocking quality food and making Broad Bean a true delicatessen, carrying over 40 cheeses, cured meats, and antipasti, along with fresh homemade quiche and salads from the deli counter. They work closely with both local suppliers ” including McNeill’s Smokehouse, Paso Primero wines and Bennett and Dunn oils” and stockists from further afield.
Broad Bean also thinks very seriously about lessening any environmental impact and customers are able to find loose leaf tea and coffee beans, dried wholefoods and other specialist ingredients. Ian and Alice remove single use packaging where possible and encouraging reuse of packaging.
Last year, Broad Bean was a Finalist in the Guild of Fine Foods Shop of the Year Award 2018 and runner-up in The Observer Food Monthly Awards 2018.
The Awards, in partnership with The Grocer, are highly respected in the food industry for supporting, and championing the UK’s independent, specialist retail market. Broad Bean beat off competition from top delis across the country including the esteemed London delis Bayley & Sage, Giddy Grocer, Guzzl and MacFarlane’s.
An all around win
In winning the best deli in England, judges of the prestigious competition recognised Broad Bean as best in class in the specialist independent retail market. The deli is seen as having the very best standards, levels of service, product innovation and community involvement in the sector.
Ian and Alice are very proud of what they have accomplished so far and the plan they say is to continue to provide Ludlow and surrounding areas with good food. There are plans afoot according to Alice to grow their salad and lunch deli boxes and to produce more on site now a new kitchen has been installed. An important part of their future growth is to extend their network making more links with other small businesses.
A very Deli high street?
Broad Bean like delicatessens everywhere are responding to customer needs. The Guild of Fine Food found in a recent survey that specialist food shops and coffee shops were among the top 5 shops people wanted to see on their high street.
Alice says that delicatessen's are flling that gap by providing both and more. She commented: “If you are an independent retailer on the high street, you have to provide things people cannot get in a supermarket or online. Why should people use you over those other buying platforms? That is what we have to ask ourselves.”
Ian and Alice asked and answered the question and now try to provide ingredients that cannot be found elsewhere in town. They look for small independently produced goods with great stories behind them that Broad Bean can tout. They throw in a superior level of customer service and knowledge customers wont find in a large supermarket. A glowing accolade such as Best Deli in England confirms it’s a winning formula.