EFFP was engaged by Unilever and their mustard seed growers to assess the implications and benefits of a more collaborative supply chain for Colman’s English mustard seed production and then ensure its successful implementation. As a result the English Mustard Growers Co-operative has been formed, thus securing a locally grown long-term supply of mustard for Colman’s Mustard.
THE BUSINESS CHALLENGE
Due to a decline of mustard seed yields and therefore profitability for the grower, Unilever was finding it increasingly difficult to meet demand from English suppliers and had to source increasing amounts of seed from overseas. Unilever were keen to maintain the strong ‘English’ brand of Colman’s Mustard and the strong relationships with local growers their local growing base, so needed to look at ways to support and encourage farmers to keep growing the crop, whilst also maintaining their production efficiency and competitiveness.
There were three different but interlinked challenges to be addressed; improving the profitability of the crop for farmers and the consistency of quality of seed delivered, maintaining the competitiveness of the supply chain and production process.
HOW WE HELPED
EFFP was brought on board by both Unilever and the existing mustard growers to assess the implications and benefits of a more collaborative supply chain for Colman’s English mustard seed production. This included an analysis of mustard seed growing costs, a feasibility study for the formation of a grower supply group and a review of the trading relationship between growers and manufacturer.
After the initial stage of research was completed, the second stage went on to make recommendations on how the new grower and Unilever relationship should be formed, to facilitate its establishment and the formation of the new growers co-operative and finally, helping the growers develop their business plan.
As a result the English Mustard Growers Co-operative has been formed, with a business plan to re-establish mustard seed as an important and profitable crop within the East of England. This three-year plan will ensure that the majority of mustard seed for Colman’s Mustard is grown locally to the production site in Norwich, which will support the English provenance message. It will also significantly help Unilever with risk management with regards to security of supply.
“EFFP made real difference by driving this project forward by acting as an independent facilitator between growers and Unilever to get a fair and transparent way forward for all.”
Bob Walpole – Culinary and Crops Manager, Unilever