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High expectations

The six finalists in the 2019 Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Competition were invited to Middleton Food Products in Willenhall, West Midlands, for an exclusive behind the scenes tour

Middleton’s was delighted to host a visit from the Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year Competition finalists last month. The day included a tour of Middleton’s new factory and test kitchen plus a visit to the separate gluten free site, followed by a look around Middleton Paper and rounded off with a fish supper at Merchants in Bewdley.

During the new factory visit, the young friers were given the full tour and shown the whole process with all the quality checks at every stage, followed by product sampling in the new test kitchen. The Batter Boys we on hand to demonstrate the Roosters Southern Fried Chicken products plus the new Smooth and Spicy Curry Sauce and Gluten Free Gravy.

Lee Woodward, Middleton’s regional sales manager, said: “The new product sampling went really well with several shops now trialing them over the next few weeks. It is always great to invite customers to our factory and to have a great group of Young Fish Friers was a real pleasure. Their enthusiasm for our trade can only be good for the future of the fish and chip industry. Good luck to all the finalists and any one of them will be a fantastic ambassador for young fish friers.  See you all in London next year.”

Dean Baker, Middleton’s regional sales manager, added: “The Smooth and Spicy Gluten Free Curry was very well received with positive feedback on the look and taste as well as its suitability for vegetarian and gluten free meals. Since the tasting, one of the young friers has introduced the Smooth and Spicy Curry onto his menu in his family-run, very busy and successful shop.” 

Ryan Baker, Middleton’s sales manager, summed up by saying: “It was very enjoyable and rewarding to see the Drywite Young Fish Friers at Middleton Food Products. The level of professionalism shown was very high and all of them will make great ambassadors for our industry in the coming years. We would like to extend our thanks to Nicola Lewis and everyone at Drywite for arranging the visit.”


The Drywite Young Fish Frier finalists found the visit most interesting - they had no idea just how many quality checks go into making a batch of batter mix

“There was so much to learn on the visit and it was a real eye-opener for me to see what a big company Middleton’s is, the amount of different products it manufactures and how it develops new products too. It gave me a much wider understanding of the processes in place, the products produced and the impact this has on the fish and chip industry.” James Workman, Miller’s Fish & Chips, York

“The factory tour was incredibly insightful, showing us the history of the company, how it all started from one fish and chip shop and its full operation. This highlighted to me how the level of detail in the safety and quality control processes means we get consistent products from unstable natural ingredients that can vary depending on weather. Middleton’s really is an expert in its field and using one of the off-the-shelf batters can really give a consistent product.” Charlie Collins, Frydales, Leicester

“It was a fantastic day with lots of opportunities to learn new things. I was very impressed with the lengths Middleton’s goes to make sure its customers are getting the best quality products. For example, staff taste every single batch to make sure it’s right! The most impressive thing, however, was the dedicated gluten free factory and seeing the complex processes involved in creating gluten free products. I think everyone in the fish and chips industry should see where their products come from and how hard other people are working to achieve their highest expectations.” Magda Ilioiu, Papa’s Fish & Chips, Hull

“I found the Middleton Foods factory tour really informative and it was amazing to see how all the different products are produced, every batch of batter is tested and recorded to ensure consistency. We got to visit the gluten free factory, which is on a completely different site to ensure no cross-contamination. We were also lucky to visit the site where the development of a new paper factory was nearly complete. Overall, I learnt a lot about the history of Middleton’s and how the company has developed from a single chip shop into a huge organisation.” Lauren Kellaway, Kellaways Fish & Chips, Truro, Cornwall

"We learnt so much about the tight regulations regarding creating gluten free products. For example, ingredients like sugar and salt cannot be passed between the gluten free and non-gluten free factories to avoid cross-contamination.” Sam Parry, Top Chippy, LLanrwst, Conwy

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