Highland Fayre Goes Gluten Free!

by Olivia Bugaj 24. September 2013 00:10

On the back of launching our three new gluten free hampers, we thought it would great to tell you about some of the suppliers that have made this range possible. In a three part series we will tell you about the tasty treats we have sourced from these companies, plus their motivations behind supplying products for Coeliac’s.

We decided to create 3 gluten free hampers in order to offer an alternative for those living with Coeliac disease. In the future we will also be going the extra mile to present recipes and tips in our blog to help you live a smooth gluten free life, so watch this space!

We are really happy to be working with House of Sarunds, supplier of the Belvas Fairtrade Assorted Belgian Chocolate Ballotin, the Belvas Flaked Belgian Chocolate Truffles, and both the quirky Moo Diary Free Organic Cranberry & Hazelnuts and the Organic Banana Dairy Free Milk Chocolate Alternatives.

House of Sarunds is a company focused on delivering the best products on the market, be it chocolate or confectionery. Recently, House of Sarunds realised that many people who had intolerance to dairy, gluten or who were diabetic, had no tasty alternatives for chocolate. This is why they were willing to cater to this specific group and provide chocolates that are just as delicious as any other currently on the market.

This is how they started to work with Belvas and Moo Free chocolate. Belvas chocolate not only provide gluten free chocolate but they are also organic, fair trade, dairy free, sugar free and alcohol free! They also have no conservatives, no GMOs, no hydrogenated fat, no food colourings, and no flavour enhancer!

As for Moo Free, their chocolate is made from tasty rice milk that is suitable if you have a dairy allergy, lactose intolerant, gluten intolerant or vegan. Moo Free rice milk chocolate is also organic and Fairtrade. The story goes that one of the founder’s children is dairy intolerant while the other is not. Because of this, it was difficult to find milk alternatives with no funny after taste and so Moo free was born!

We hope you’re already looking forward to next week’s blog on the second of our new suppliers, Forth Wines!

How to win new clients

by Mhairi MacLeod 17. September 2013 23:51

Winning new clients is at the top of the list for most businesses and quite rightly so; they are the lifeblood of business so securing them should be a priority.

Here are our top tips for getting them on board:

1. Keep it simple

Photo Credit: Wilderdom

Simplicity is the key.

There is a tendency to provide too much information but there is no need to pad out a pitch if the facts you provide are strong.

A few examples of work you have done for others is great but not your whole portfolio; companies are interested in themselves, not you.



2. Know your competition

Photo credit: RCL

If someone is doing the same thing as you then know exactly how they’re doing it and identify what you’re doing better so that you can mention this.

There’s no need to trash talk the competition but do show what you do that they don’t.


3. Make an impression

Show your appreciation by sending new clients a small gift after you’ve won their business and established a good working relationship; a hamper with company branded ribbon is a great idea and will remind the client of you whilst also reflecting the high quality of your company.

4. Care about your clients

Photo credit: Reynermedia

We can’t stress this one enough!

There is no point striving to sign new clients unless you look after them.

You won’t retain them if you don’t make an effort to know them and their foibles. Businesses are very personal entities so it’s good practise to understand the people behind the director’s desk.


5. Have a great website

We live in an online age; if it’s not on the web it’s not worth acknowledging. The same goes for your company and if you have a poor website then nobody will subscribe to your ethos.

Lead by example and build a website that your clients want to associate themselves with.

For a wide range of gifts for new clients pop over to our corporate hamper guide.

Leaving present disasters

by Mhairi MacLeod 13. September 2013 18:09

Getting leaving gifts right is tough. We spoke to friends and colleagues to find out some of the most disastrous, mistimed and misjudged leaving presents they’d ever been given which included ladies’ underwear and a Crème Egg. Ouch!

1. Underwear
One poor soul in our office left her last job with underwear two sizes too big and a strained grin on her face:

“Why they thought it was appropriate to buy me undies as a leaving present I’ll never know. What was more alarming was that they seemed to think this most awkward of presents was a fab choice…I spent my last day having to show them to everyone.” 

2. A Crème Egg

Photo credit: Magnus D

After two years of dedicated service one of our team received a Creme Egg for his troubles:

“My boss went out for lunch and on his return asked me to see him in his office. As it was my last day I expected a few parting words of thanks and maybe a gift. Which was sort of what I received – “Cheers for the work, here’s a Crème Egg.” Worst leaving present ever.”

3. Flowers from the garage

On a par with giving wilting flowers to your girlfriend is popping to the garage to buy a bunch as a leaving present; as one of our team experienced:

“I was delighted when my manager said “we’ve bought you a lovely bunch of flowers”, at which point I was presented with a half-wilted bouquet that still had the ‘1/2 price’ sticker and the name of the garage. I thought they were joking. Sadly not.”

4. A company product

A bottle of wine from the fridge was gifted to one of our girls after almost four years of service in a pub.

“The worst thing about it was that I knew the cost price of the bottle of wine – it had a cost price of £2. I haven’t spent money there since.”

5. Absolutely nothing

When we asked friends and colleagues for their leaving present disaster stories this was by far the most common answer.

We agreed that leaving a company with no parting gift from your co-workers and bosses is incredibly disheartening.

If you need help with choosing a leaving gift, our staff are on hand to help!

Personalised Corporate Gifts – hitting the recipient in the emotional centre!

by Stewart 9. September 2013 09:14

Whether you are shopping on Amazon, scrolling through Facebook or simply receiving your Tesco vouchers, personalisation has become more and more prominent in today’s society.

And why wouldn’t it be?! Personalisation means that products and services are more targeted to needs and wants, they are more meaningful and they create a lasting impression.

But it doesn’t just have to be products and services that reap the benefits of personalisation, corporate gifts can also be customised to match the interests of staff and customers.

Consider these three things the next time you are choosing a corporate gift that will have a real impact on the individual.

1. Personalised messages

© Vanessa Vancour

There are many services out there today that allow you to add a personalised message to a gift.

This can be anything from an engraved message on a trinket to customising the label of a personalised bottle of wine.

As well as messages, you can also add your companies branding to your gift of choice. This might not sound as meaningful as a personal message, but if the gift is meaningful in itself then your company will resonate in the recipients mind every time they see or receive a similar gift in the future.

2. Be vigilant of hobbies, interests and personal occasions

©Fevi In Pictures

In our last blog post “What is a corporate gift?” we advised to use social media to research your clients and to find out more about their hobbies and interests.

The more information you have about the recipient, the easier it is to find a present that really creates a long lasting impression.

Showing an interest in the person’s hobbies won’t go unnoticed either, and is likely to strengthen the business relationship you have with them.

3. Practical leaving gifts

© daily life of mojo

When a valued colleague leaves the organisation to pursue pastures new, it is nice to recognise their contribution to the business and wish them well.

Why not give them a leaving present that will be practical for their next role. Who knows this kind gesture may prove useful if your paths ever cross in the future.

What is a corporate gift?

by Stewart 2. September 2013 19:40

According to Corporate Product Blog, before buying a gift for your clients or employees, you should first be aware of what a corporate gift means.

Corporate gifts are generally perceived to be an act of expressing respect or valuing a working relationship.

With such fierce competition, strong working relationships can often be the deciding factor when securing repeat business.

Corporate gifts can also contribute to the well being of internal business relationships by helping employees feel valued and motivated.

In fact, within the corporate gifts category, there are three areas and techniques that businesses should familiarise themselves with:

  • Sales & Promotional Gifts - Don't be boring

Branded promotional gifts are a fantastic way to create awareness and work best when the gift is relevant to the recipient and accurately reflects what your brand has to offer.

In an age where it’s possible to brand practically anything, it’s important not to be boring (nobody needs another branded USB stick or pen!) and really make an impression by thinking outside the box.

  • Employee Rewards & Incentives - Do create one off & regular rewards

Staff motivation and incentives are two terms currently creating a buzz in HR; with employee wellbeing viewed as a crucial factor when forging a workforce that feels valued and driven.

Creating a culture of one-off rewards for outstanding performance coupled with regular incentives such as vouchers, day trips and even holidays can help staff work towards targets as well as encourage peak performance and recognition in the work place.

  • Loyalty Gifts - Don't forget to use social media to research your client

Squeezed budgets coupled with a growing culture of savvy clients who ‘shop around’ for the best deal, means it’s more important than ever for businesses to reward loyalty in a meaningful way.

By using social media platforms like Twitter, businesses can now explore the likes and dislikes of their clients - look out for posts on favourite sports teams, preferred foods as well as things that grind their gears!

In this way, it's possible to reward loyalty in confidence and really make an impact with a personal gift that doesn't feel 'off the shelf'.



Winner of The Royal Baby Competition!

by Stewart 2. August 2013 15:00

We are happy to announce that the lucky winner of our Royal Baby competition last week was Janine Philips. Janine was delighted when she received the news and was kind enough to send us a picture with her new Union Jack Hamper Basket.

(Janine Phillips with her new Highland Fayre Union Jack Hamper Picnic Bakset)

Janine already has plans to test out her new picnic basket this weekend while she and her husband are out at the races.

Congratulations again Janine, and we hope you win big at the races

If you like the look of our picnic baskets head over to our website to see our full range. Summer is nearly over so get your hands on one now and take advantage of this weather with a lovely summer's picnic.

Also for more opportunities to win a Highland Fayre hamper follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ were we will be announcing future competitions soon.

The Royal Baby Competition

by Stewart 23. July 2013 23:48

So its official Will and Kate have had a baby BOY!!!!

Now begs the question of what the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will call their son. To keep the public guessing the name of a Royal baby is not always revealed straight away. In the case of William, his name was not announced until a week after his birth, and it took a whole month before his father’s name was revealed to the world.

So what name do you think William and Kate will decide on? For a chance to win a Highland Fayre Union Jack 2 Person Chiller (see below) enter your suggestions in the comment section below. Alternatively, you can provide your answer on both our Facebook and Twitter pages.

(Enter our Competition for a chance to WIN a Highland Fayre Union Jack 2 Person Chiller)

Those who guess correctly will be put into a prize draw and we will contact the winner to arrange sending out their prize. If no one guesses correctly then we will put everyone into the prize draw and pick out a winner. So get guessing now and lets see what everyones suggestions are!

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The Rhubarb Club's Tantalising Taste Journey

by Stewart 9. July 2013 01:49

When attendees of the Rhubarb Club woke up on the morning of the 6th June 2013 I bet they were unaware of the multi-sensory journey they were about to embark upon later that afternoon. The most senior of individuals from the hospitality, tourism and business industries transcended on the Prestonfield House Hotel to have their eyes opened, and (in some cases) taste buds amplified by one man - Ewan Henderson

(The fabulous decor of the Prestonfield House Hotel.)

Ewan, founder of Scotch Broth Events, is the first to link ground breaking science and avant-garde research with Scottish food and whisky. In his events he takes the palate on a journey of discovery and through his unique style teaches you how to experience new taste sensations.

Always keen for audience participation, Ewan made quick work to include The Rhubarb Club by conducting a test to see who the “Supertasters” in the room were. It was intriguing to discover that only 25% of the population are supertasters - those who have a unique ability and greater sensitivity for taste.

Any misconceptions the audience had about taste were quickly removed as Ewan explained about the debunked “Tongue Map” model and how more than 70% of taste actually comes from the nose.

(Despite the tongue map being debunked in 1974, there is still alot of misconceptions where the majority of taste comes from.)

This was later proven with another practical exercise in which the audience had to put a jelly bean in their mouth while pinching their nose.

(Discovering the science of taste. Source: www.stuartrussellphotography.co.uk)

The Rhubarb Club is a high level networking club run three times per year (February-June-October) by the Hospitality Industry Trust Scotland (HIT Scotland). For more information about up and coming HIT Scotland events please visit www.hitscotland.co.uk . For more information about Ewan and his company Scotch Broth Events follow him on twitter @aNipandTuckin and visit the company’s Facebook page. Also if you like a wee dram then check out our food hampers that include some of the finest Scotch Whisky out there.

Have you ever been to a tasting event? Did you discover that you were supertaster or experienced a new taste sensation? If so let us know about it by adding your comments below.

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From Food Hampers to Family Life - What It Means To Be A Dad

by Stewart 13. June 2013 18:38

Somebody I met at a networking event the other day gave me his observation of what it meant to be a father: “At work I am respected by my colleagues, I have control of my day and people listen to me when I speak.... at home I am often powerless to control matters and mostly the children simply don’t listen!”. This successful entrepreneur and Managing Director had a look of confusion as he delivered the words. It was easy to tell that he found this situation very puzzling, yet at the same time he had completely accepted the two worlds he now lived in.

(The England Family. From Left to right: Freya, Pia, Alice, Max & David.)

My children are relatively young – Freya 8, Alice 7 and Max 5 – so it is too early for me to accept defeat, although I fully understand his predicament. In simple terms I am outnumbered, and it is surely only a matter of time before I succumb! As they grow older I expect to willingly except this fate and enjoy all its nuances on the way.

At the moment all three are still small enough to know that Daddy is in charge (providing Mummy is not around of course). They are absorbing the meaning of life from listening to adults who forget they are in the room, happily copying the older delinquent children at school, and hearing “bad things” on the radio. This information overload forms a lovely cocktail of questions and assertive statements.

“Daddy, your arms are hairy because you used to be a gorilla”

“Daddy, do people believe that God made Adam and Eve from dust?”

“Don’t worry Daddy, if you need some money the bank will give you some”

“Daddy, maybe you will be as clever as Grandpa when you are older”

Last Easter the family gathered in the kitchen for lunch. My children had painstakingly created table decorations to mark the occasion. This is when Max gleefully delivered my favourite line of the year so far:

“Mummy, these three little chickens are Freya, me and Alice... and this fat bird in the middle is you!”

It is the simple things that make being a dad so wonderful. The humorous conversation, endless questions which you struggle to answer, talking to them on the phone, talking to them in “snail language”, telling “little boy stories” from your own childhood, learning to ride a bike, the superhereos, crazy dancing, terrible singing, fancy dress, inappropriate makeup, lost keys, broken doors, car art, water bombs, snow balls, Friday sweets, rabbits, buggies, pet lambs, dog in drag, pony riding, swimming lessons, death by violin and lovely Lego strewn across the floor like an endless unavoidable minefield!

I know I must suck it all in and treasure these moments. I have been advised by higher authority that little children only create little problems... and that bigger children create bigger problems... bring it on!

Happy Father’s Day!

P.S. Have you got your Fathers Day gift organsised yet, if not head over to www.highlandfayre.co.uk to see our range of Fathers Day Hampers.

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History of Luxury Hampers – The Highland Fayre Story Part 2

by Stewart 11. June 2013 18:30

It was 1991; Britain was in the midst of a recession and luxury was no longer seen as a priority. Highland Fayre needed to re-evaluate its product offering and start producing affordable luxury hampers to cater for a broader requirement. You could not help but think that history was repeating itself from the old wild salmon days.

(The Highland Fayre Team 2005.)

It was during this time that David (Howard’s son and current Managing Director) joined the business. Fresh out a university and keen to make his mark in the world, David set about injecting innovation within the business, despite having an incredibly small budget to work with!

Reminiscing about his earlier days, David remembers fondly driving along the bypass “lorry-spotting” for potential customers. This was often David’s way of creating new appointments with clients by spotting a company phone number and immediately calling them from his car phone (which I’m told didn’t have the latest version of Angry Birds and looked more like an infantry field radio than the chic cellar devices of today).

It is also worth mentioning another name that has been an integral part of the Highland Fayre history. Joining the company a couple of years before David back in 1988, Carol Hart (or should we say Carol Brown now) was 16 when she started working for Howard as an assistant for the “tattie business”. Now our Operations Manager, Carol is the brains behind the look and feel of our gift hampers. It is mainly thanks to her vision that our hampers are so well received.

Despite the recession Highland Fayre managed to grow steadily between 1991 and 1997. However, it was around September 1997 that our luxury hamper brand really started to take off. Launching the first ever website – www.highlandfayre.co.uk - and a second website a year later - www.christmashamper.com –resulted in our turnover climbing every year for the next decade. Our original motivation for moving onto the web was to gain more corporate business but the internet also gave Highland Fayre an excellent opportunity to do more for private customers.

Our efforts didn’t go unnoticed either as in 2005 we received an award for the Best Performing Business in Tayside as well as runners up in the e-Commerce business awards.

In the present day, David has swapped his “car phone tactics” to a more modern approach using Linkedin to find clients. And as for Carol she is now approaching her 25th year anniversary with the company. All in all, Highland Fayre intends to do what we do best and that is providing you all with delicious hampers. While you have read about our past, we hope you will all be part of our future!

Many thanks for your continued support

The Highland Fayre Team

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