By using Apprenticeforums services you agree to our Cookies Use and Data Transfer outside the EU.
We and our partners operate globally and use cookies, including for analytics, personalisation, ads and Newsletters.

  • Join our UK Small business Forum

    Helping business owners with every day advice, tips and discussions with likeminded business owners. Become apart of a community surrounded by level headed business folk from around the UK

    Join us!

News from the Regions...

Lest we here at SBF slip down the slope of becoming dangerously parochial I thought I'd try and avail readers of one or two stories from other parts of the UK... and of course encourage others to do likewise, purely for the purposes of criticism and review of course...

To kick off, we have this piece from that shining beacon in the gloom of newsgathering...

The Whitstable Times

Whitstable mum in custard shortage!
Wednesday, March 25, 2009, 19:42

A MUM of three is dis-custard after a hunt for the dessert sauce in the town proved fruitless.

Keen baker Jules Serkin, 43, of West Cliff, Whitstable, needed a tin of custard powder to top off her apple and blackcurrant crumble.

But she was left with a sour taste in her mouth after getting no joy in either Co-ops at Oxford Street and Canterbury Road, and in Somerfield, in the High Street.

Even a trek to Tankerton's Tesco Express - a corner shop version of its superstores - was wasted.

"I try to support my local businesses, but in the end I had to resort to going to one of the big supermarkets to get what I needed," said Jules, a holiday rental company director.

"I feel very sad that I can't seem to get basic stuff from my high street, and am driven to go online.

"Custard is a staple product on my shopping list and I cannot understand why it should be so hard to find.

"An assistant in Somerfield said they'd had other shoppers asking for tins of custard, but it hadn't been in stock since the shop was refurbished.

"And in the Co-ops I was just greeted with an empty shelf where it should be, and no idea when they might be getting it in.

"I am upset because it seems these shops cannot order a product that customers are demanding as it doesn't seem to fit in with what they are selling.

"I had to resort to buying sachets which cost only a few pence less than a tin, and don't go very far at all. If I buy a tin, it goes in my pantry and will last me quite a few crumbles.

"I'm making an apple and blackcurrant crumble and, as I am trying to eat healthily can control what I put into the custard, like skimmed milk.

"With the sachets, there are all sorts of ingredients and additives - and you just add water to make it.

"It's very convenient, but not as good as the real thing. Custard should be a lovely comfort, nice and thick."

Mrs Serkin finally managed to find a tin of own brand custard powder in a Co-op, a few days after her initial hunt, but not her beloved Bird's.

Spokesman for Somerfield Pete Williams said: "Somerfield in Whitstable High Street underwent a major investment last April to upgrade and improve the store for local customers.

"We pride ourselves on our customer service and ability to meet their needs.

"We are a bit perplexed about your reader's trouble in finding custard in the store. It offers a variety of custards including: tinned, fresh, cartons and in powdered form.

"Today (Monday March 23) it has both Somerfield own brand tinned custard and tinned custard made by Ambrosia. The store stocks Somerfield Instand Custard Mix - to which you simply add water.

"Regrettably the store does not have sufficient space to stock the larger tins of classic Bird's Custard Powder - to which you add milk and sugar to make your custard."

A Co-operative Group spokesman said: "We are sorry to hear a customer is unhappy with our custard range in Whitstable.

"Our smaller convenience store in Canterbury Road has only ever sold sachets of Bird's custard powder.

"The Oxford Street store did stock Bird's tinned custard until recently but the product was withdrawn following thorough analysis of product sales across our range.

"This store does however, sell The Co-operative's own brand of tinned custard powder and we would be pleased to offer this customer a free sample to try."

* Somerfield is to become Budgens from May 11 - but all 33 jobs are safe, said Mr Williams. It has been forced to sell to ensure competition as Somerfield is now owned by the Co-op, which has two stores nearby.


New Member
The problem is that people are not willing to spend the time to make custard with the milk and sugar its so much easier for them to open a tin that is already made up. So why should shops stock something that is not in demand! I have heard that if you complain to Tesco then they are bound to get it in for you but I haven't tried it yet so I cant confirm this.
Canary Dwarf

Canary Dwarf

New Member
This has got to be a joke. Thirty three jobs saved after a supermarket was forced to sell (last line) under anti-competition rules and they run a story about a woman looking for custard.

But it seems this kind of story is not unusual in that part of the country. I went to their website and saw a story about a cafe owner who is under pressure to rebrand its Spotted Dick to Spotted Richard. Yes, the story involves custard. Scary.
Now now Mark, you've obviously not got your finger on the pulse (or the mashed blackcurrent and apple chunks) ... The importance of proper custard should never be underestimated... ;) 33 jobs are one thing; but what of the thousands who depend on the custard industry? Then there's the nation's health!

Consider the effect of all those additives (one presumes from custard deficiency) and food colouring on the poor woman in the following story! Luckily her husband has a large rubber suit to match her complexion but still....

Gazette Live - News - Local News - Teesside angler's life saved by flotation suit

Is it any wonder that poor wee man jumped off the pier? I'm taken with Di's suggestion and vote that delegations from the SBF campaign Tesco's (and other supermarkets) to protect the nation's complexions...

Who Ate All The Carrots? Bulging Bunny Ralph - Yahoo! News UK

Massive rabbit Ralph tips the scales at three stone and is hoping to get his paws on a Guinness World Record.

Remarkable piece of journalism here; presumably Dr Doolittle has joined Sky News as a reporter otherwise how would they know what Ralph is hoping for? I'd be interested to hear his thoughts on the world economy and what strategies might lead us out from the recession etc...

One thing's for sure; a giant bunny-rabbit is far more likely to talk sense than many of our politicians!
Canary Dwarf

Canary Dwarf

New Member
Tesco demand ID from before letting her buy a quiche.

You have to pity the poor woman who walked in on what's got to be a giant PR stunt. Beats a press release any day. I wonder what it did for quiche sales?

Girl told to show ID to buy a QUICHE in Tesco 'because she looked under 21' | Mail Online

But it's this sidebar entitled 'other barmy ID requests' that really made me laugh:
"Grandmother Tina MacNaughton-Jones, 47, was refused a bottle of wine in a Waitrose supermarket in Worthing, West Sussex - because she could not prove she was over 18. Her 22-year-old daughter then produced a driver's licence to buy the bottle but she, too, was turned down over fears that she would pass the alcohol on to her mother."