THE sweet taste of success has been shared with businesses in the region, after syrup entrepreneur John Taylerson joined the board of the North Wiltshire Economic Partnership.
John, a high-flying marketing executive who gave it all up to build a niche business making and selling flavoured syrups for coffee, will represent the important food and drink sector on the board.
The man who helped set up Milk Marque, and is currently helping dairy farmers with Jersey & Guernsey breeds to develop a Traditional Speciality Guarantee, brings with him a wealth of experience from the food and drink sector, in which he still works as a consultant.
Taylerson’s Malmesbury Syrups was founded four years ago on a former dairy farm in Oaksey. John, who is also the South West’s food and drink ambassador at the Chartered Institute of Marketing, said: “The definition of marketing is anticipating and meeting customers’ needs profitably.
“I wanted to anticipate the next trend. I noticed more and more people drinking flavoured coffee, and also recognised the importance of provenance – that customers wanted to know what their food was made of and where it came from.
“The aim in the first year was to develop a product which would sit on the shelves at Waitrose. All of our 30 flavours are made with natural ingredients, using water from a bore hole so the taste is not compromised by water treatment.”
In 11 months, John went from finding and kitting out premises, experimenting with flavours and developing the company branding to have bottles of his syrup on the shelves of Selfridges, John Lewis food halls at Oxford Street and Bluewater, and 14 Waitrose stores across the South West.
Less than six months later his Amaretto flavoured syrup, one of a range which is also sold direct to customers through the Amazon website, had won a prestigious two star Gold Great Taste Award from the Guild of Fine Food – the Oscars of the food industry.
Continually innovating, there are now more than 30 flavours of Taylerson’s Malmesbury Syrups, with coffee shop customers and proprietors driving the development of new flavours. Strawberry is the latest flavour to join the range – by popular demand – with chocolate orange to follow. And John is promising a Christmas Cake flavour for this year’s festive season.
Malmesbury Syrups is also leading the field in technological innovation. Pasteurisation equipment which super-heats the product to kill bacterial has been replaced by a machine that zaps bugs with a specific frequency of light – preserving the delicate flavours in the syrup while being more ecologically friendly at the same time.
John is proud to be a small business – two members of staff work alongside him during the summer months with seven more joining the team in the busy run-up to Christmas – insisting that smaller businesses are better able to ensure quality and react to customer demands.
Neighbouring small businesses are used wherever possible to produce the finished product. Branded packaging is design by Peppermint Print in Cirencester and manufactured by Box and Seal in Wootton Bassett.
John was introduced to North Wiltshire Economic Partnership after meeting partnership manager Colette Mallon at a networking meeting.
“I was banging on about the food and drink sector needing more marketing support, why super-fast broadband was so important, and why roads and parking needed to be improved. Colette turned the tables and asked me asked me what I was willing to do to help.”
The relationship got off to a flying start: even before attending his first board meeting, the partnership had hosted a food and drink event at Wiltshire Council’s Chippenham offices.
“Food and drink is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, and we should be encouraging more people to launch food businesses, especially in rural economies like Wiltshire,” said John.
“But I’m not just on the board to represent the food and drink industry – what’s good for us is good for the majority of other businesses too.”
Colette said: “John is the first representative from the food and drink industry to join the board. He brings with him a wealth of experience, and we are delighted to welcome him to the partnership.”
North Wiltshire Economic Partnership brings together private and public sector organisations committed to the development of a strong and sustainable economy in North Wiltshire.
Its aim is to support existing businesses and help new ones to become established in Calne, Chippenham, Corsham, Cricklade, Malmesbury, Marlborough and Wootton Bassett.
The partnership provides an essential link between local government and the business community providing a direct route to the decision makers to facilitate business development and economic growth.