Inside...Pidy UK

22/11/2016 - 23:00
In Cost Sector Catering’s series of Q&As with suppliers, we talk to Paul Eason, chef and business development director at Pidy UK

Cost Sector Catering: What are the current challenges and drivers for the business?

Paul Eason: It’s an exciting time for Pidy. Whether it is the Great British Bake-Off helping to put pastry at the forefront of consumers’ minds, or our recent acquisition by family owned French operator, Biscuits Bouvard Group, which will see an additional range of products added to our portfolio, there are many reasons for Pidy and our customers to be excited.

What help and advice are you offering operators?

Cost sector operators are extremely important, especially in areas such as universities and workplace catering. The key is about providing usage ideas and income generation suggestions, which are specific to their business. We understand the all-encompassing needs that operators require – from the pastry to the filling and garnish for events such as banqueting. This is why we work closely with our 50 plus independent wholesalers so that they can provide a complete solution.

We work with colleges to teach them how to use our pastry, for example, with ingredients such as Sosa, which are widely used in molecular gastronomy, to transform veg such as tomatoes and carrots into gelled spheres and other shapes for fillings. I spend a lot of time going around the country demonstrating our products, showing operators how to make the best use of them. Our website also contains lots of recipes, and we have a section called Chef Paul’s Kitchen showing videos of me using the Pidy products.

What are your bestsellers?

It’s difficult to be precise as trends change constantly, but it’s safe to say that our French factory, which supplies 80% of our products in the UK from quiche cases to cream horns, eclairs and canapé cups and spoons, is now working seven days a week. Our gluten-free range is popular in the UK, and is starting to gain industry-wide recognition with our neutral 8.5cm tartelette being named winner of the Free-from Food Award Sweet Category in the Café Life Awards 2016 in September. The same product is also shortlisted in a further three awards, so it is very exciting.

Which trends are spurring on new product development?

Pidy has a very active NPD team that provides us with a constant flow of innovation and developments to fulfil both current and future trends. One of our latest developments includes our veggie and spicy cups, which can add colour and spice to a plate.

NPD is not just about new products though; it is also about providing new ideas and challenging the status quo. For example, why do eclairs have to be sweet? I believe they can be equally delicious served with savoury fillings. Likewise, you see vol au vents used as canapés, especially at Christmas, but what stops a chef from using them as the basis of a new style of pie?

Thanks to the recent Bouvard acquisition, we’ve introduced the new Technipat sponge sheet collection into the UK. This provides operators with something new for canapé presentation, or can be used flat to make layered cakes or filled to produce mini desserts. We can even change the patterns on top of the sheets from straight to wavy lines or if required brand them for complete personalisation.

What are your aspirations for the New Year?

Our aim is to keep improving our foothold in the ready-to-use pastry market and provide high quality products to keep our consumers happy. Healthier options are high on the wish list as it has mass appeal to many people who are driven towards a healthier lifestyle. We are always looking to create a guilt free indulgence without sacrificing the great taste of our pastry.

About Pidy

Pidy is a Belgian family food business producing high quality, ready-to-fill pastry products, which established its division in the UK 35 years ago.

The company specialises in puff and shortcrust pastry, fonçage dough and sponge sheets. It has three production units (Belgium, France and the US), and offers day-to-day service and market support to its customers in 57 countries worldwide, which includes supplying the UK foodservice and retail sectors.

Pidy’s turnover is €40m and, over the last three years, the business has achieved growth of 40%. This year, it was acquired by the Biscuits Bouvard Group, and the latter’s products will complement Pidy’s.

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