Last in series

This week sees the finale of the series that offers
the nation’s most ambitious cooks the chance to
turn their signature recipes into products fit for the
shelves of Tesco. Over the past weeks, 20 hopeful
amateur chefs have met with their mentors and
tested their new dishes on the public. The
products featured in the series have ranged from
left-field concepts like ‘soup in a bun’, to more
traditional fare such as meat pies and some hearty
British faggots. Now the winners of each round
face off in a gripping final to see which of their
products will win the competition.
Last year, Tesco broke the £46billion revenue
barrier, taking one pound in every seven spent on
UK high streets. This year, the supermarket giant is
giving a group of amateur cooks an unprecedented
opportunity – to share space with market-leading
brands on the shelves of Britain’s biggest retailer.
The item that will stake a claim in this multi-billion
pound industry could be a simple homemade dish,
but there is only one contract up for grabs.
As the 20 contestants have battled it out over
the last few weeks, they have been guided by two
experts at the top of their game. The first mentor
to help the contestants in their bid to create a
successful product is Allan Leighton, one of
Britain’s most formidable businessmen. Allan
began his illustrious career at Mars before going
on to turn around the fortunes of Asda, later
becoming President and CEO of Wal-Mart
Europe. He is currently chairman of the Royal Mail
Group plc. The second mentor in the series is preeminent
chef and award-winning restaurateur
Simon Rimmer.
Throughout the series, viewers have been given
the opportunity to see exactly what goes into
creating the food we buy – from perfecting the
concept to testing the feasibility, sourcing the
ingredients, refining the recipes, facing the Tesco
taste-test panel, scaling-up for mass production
and ultimately filling the supermarket shelves.
Supermarkets pour thousands of pounds into
developing the products they sell in a process that
can take years. However, these amateurs were
given just two weeks to learn the trade and prepare
a pitch to be delivered to Tesco’s retail
powerbrokers. Along the way, the products have
been evaluated by two Tesco food developers –
Stephanie Bacon and Nicky Gorman, who have
tried to provide realistic and constructive feedback.
After listening to the experts’ advice, the
contestants carried out their own research and
refined their products, before going up against
the real Tesco testing panel. The final task for the
remaining contestants in each heat was to pitch
their ideas to the Tesco buyers – powerful
business executives responsible for deciding
what food the nation buys.
This week sees the winners of each heat go
head-to-head in a final showdown. It has been an
eye-opening experience for all of the cooks, but
only one of them can win the contract and break
into Tesco. Which one has a killer product that is
good enough to take its rightful place on the
supermarket shelves?

About the author

  • pat johnstone

    (soup in a bun} we used to sell this item in our pub 15 years ago approx they were called crock pots, we used to put various fillings in them, such as soup chilli beef goulash, etc., so much for being a new product.

  • pat johnstone

    (soup in a bun} we used to sell this item in our pub 15 years ago approx, it was a hollow bun and various fillings put in them, such as soup chilli, beef goulash, etc., this is not a new product

  • John

    How does that chap on Breaking into tesco with the soup in a bun claim it as being his idea?? This product is sold on Pier 39 San Francisco with fish chowder. It not a new idea.

  • Anonymous

    soup in a bun – you ever bought it from a supermarket shelf? No? Well its a new product then.

  • Anonymous

    can you buy it now??

  • Kate

    I want The Essex Hog…My mouth was watering just looking at it!

  • Anonymous

    soup in a bun isn’t original, my boyfriend used to serve me hot sausage in my big brown baps as a special treat on a sunday

  • Anonymous

    Soup in a bun???? No thanks! I’ve never seen such a ridiculous product in my life. I’ll definitely go out of my way to avoid this. The bloke spent 30 years on it and came up with that?? I think he must be a few sandwiches short of a picnic….

  • W

    How thick are some people, the show was about putting a new product into tesco, so what if you served some scanky ‘crock pot’ in your pub a million years ago. If you don’t understand to concept of a simple show like this then why don’t you try cbeebies instead. Oh yeah john i’ll just pop to flipping pier 39 San Francisco next time i fancy some soup in a bun, duh.

  • Pansy Potter

    Exactly, Soup in a bun might not be a new concept, but it’s new to the supermarkets.
    Good on him I say. He had a concept he believed in and stuck with it.
    Shame it’s with Tesco’s though because they’ll probably bleed him dry like they do to every other farmer/producer/supplier etc.

  • Anonymous

    Apparently the guy who won invented the soup in a bun concept 30 years ago in the USA, it has since become popular on the West coast. It’s more than just putting soup in some bread as the bread has to be cooked a certain way to avoid it leaking everywhere.

    I noticed Tesco have put the soup in a bun in a massive plastic bag with a plastic put of soup inside it. How is that more environmentally friendly than a card box with is compostable or recyclable? I just don’t get it. It looked good though.

  • souperwoman

    Soup or any sort of food served on or in bread is a ancient invention.
    In medieval times people used bread made plates, using the bread as a container is also very very very old.
    Either way, it looks good but I prefer tomato soup.

  • David McDonald

    What a complete waste of time. Where on earth did the people who make this program find this guy. What a RADICAL concept that no-one has ever seen before, apart from the millions living on the west coast of the US. We oftern do the Chilli con carne version for dinner with an 85p white country loaf from sainsburys.
    Next series Im going to enter with putting a few baked beans in a potato and calling it beans in potato.
    I cant see how this guy can claim that he invented the concept in the states 30 years ago as surely the idea was thought up by an american!!!

  • Ann and Hannah

    Well i’m shocked at everyone’s reaction to this program! The menu might not be original – but at least he had the initiative to take the product all the way and has managed to break into tesco’s!! So maybe we all do simple things, especially the lady that has the sausages in a bun on sunday, maybe if she used her initiative – she’d be breaking into tesco’s too!
    People who have this negative attitude towards the program should be reminded that at the end of the day, it is tesco’s consumers who choose the winner! Good luck to them all!

  • Anonymous

    He never said it was a new idea, he meant it was a new idea for the Supermarket!! Do people not listen?? I personally think the girls Keenwah salad or the Hog Pie would have been better. But at the end of the day majority ruled.

    Well Done to him is all I can say

  • Julian Hobden

    This chap is a very sad man! and Tesco should get some profesional people in.

  • Anonymous

    As a matter of fact nick smallwood didnt get the public majority vote in reality it was all done for TV. I know this because my sister works at cheshunt tescos, the one which this whole series is filmed at. It was a close tie between the salad girl and the essex hog lad!

  • Jerry

    Well, if you noticed alot of the clothes he wore throughout the series are from Polo Ralph Lauren. Those of us lucky enough to have travelled extensively will know that there is a massive factory outlet in Florida, which I suspect Nick watshisname been to quite frequently and conveniently pinched the idea whilst stocking up on Ralph Lauren clothing.

    Incidentally, the french have also been serving soup in a sour dough bread for ages.

    It just reflects the sad reality of Brits – the majority of us don’t travel enough and are pretty ignorant.

  • Fiona

    Having been an avid viewer of the television programme I was eager to purchase Nick Smallwood’s Soup in a Bun. From memory Nick had presented his idea to Tesco buyers in a cardboard box which they critised as being over packaged therefore I was very disappointed and surprised to see his product now being sold in a plastic bag which contains a second plastic bag for the bread bun and a plastic tub for the soup – what a large amount of waste for one product none of which will biodegrade. Although the soup was nice enough I have been put off any further purchases due to the over packaging of the product.

  • Nick whatsisname

    Jerry, unfortunately you couldn’t be further from the truth! 1) I never claimed to have invented soup in a bun; I stressed that I did this in hotels in the states 30 years ago. What I did say was it had never been done in food retail….to my knowledge. I am very short of clothes because I am NOT rich, nor do I travel…the clothing I wore was either given to me, or was from 70% sale shops ! Had I shopped for myself, perhaps to suit me and my physique, FAT FACE would have been more appropriate. A pity you felt you had to be very personal. Perhaps you should try the ready meal, and find out for yourself why I wanted to get it out to the market; far cheaper to buy it in Tesco than in a restaurant. somewhere I can’t afford to eat….perhaps you can ? Cheers, Nick.

  • cravena

    That fudge looks gorg….but WAY too expensive!!!!!

  • Danielle

    i think nick is a idiot, he obviously has money, the only way i could buy ralph lauren clothes is if i starved for a month and didnt pay my rent, but u can tell he dont starve…

    i hated his remark…i dont come second, i dont get runner up (what a spoilt snob), i think it should have gone to the salad girl….summers coming up and it would have been a big hit especially with bbqs..

    nick ur an idiot.

  • Hazel

    A muffin/coffee shop called Muffin Break here in Australia has been selling the soup in a bun(called soup in a scoop)every winter for at least 5 years so Nick either stole the idea from others(which is the way I think) or they stole it from him, I don’t think it’s fair that he’s profiting from an idea that others have had for years.

  • Lee

    It’s a shame ignorant people like Danielle can be very rude.
    Nick is NOT an idiot.

    I’d like to clarify some things.

    Cardboard boxes are compostable and often made from recycled materials. Tesco used the show as greenwash. They cut out large chunks of advice from the designers about using compostable materials or recycled, less packaging etc. It all ended up on the cutting room floor.

    The whole show was a sham.

    The cardboard box for the soup in a bun was far more environmentally friendly than the packaging eventually used.

    They then stuck soup in a bun into a large 12 inch wide plastic bag, with a separate sticker in un-recycled varnished paper with non biodegradable glue, with the bread inside in another plastic wrapper and the soup in another plastic container.

    There wasn’t the time to develop the physical packaging properly.

    Nick’s soup is actually incredibly goof quality. He now sells it at farmers markets. His product is no longer sold in Tesco. They pulled it, probably because the packaging they used was so expensive and they made no money out of it. I doubt if he made enough to buy a new suit out of the whole affair.

    The only people rolling in money are Tesco.

    Before spurting out hateful comments check your facts.

    Best of luck to you Nick.


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