Yaqoob Ishaq, Managing Director of our latest acquisition Simply Food Solutions, talks the history of the brand…
In January 2019, Bidfood acquired The Punjab Kitchen, now rebranded as Simply Food Solutions which provides an extensive range of quality food solutions for all sectors from healthcare to pubs and restaurants. We spoke to Managing Director, Yaqoob Ishaq to find out how this inspirational family born company started.
The Punjab Kitchen was started by my father over 20 years ago after a hospital visit opened his eyes to the shortage of Halal options on offer to patients, so during his time in hospital he relied on my mum delivering her home-cooking to see him through his recovery. Recognising this gap in the market, coupled with his passion for food, he set up a small 5000 ft production facility that specialised in making halal and ethnic meals for patient feeding based on his wife’s recipes. With passion and determination and believing in better food, we quickly become one of the market leaders in the field, with rapid growth pushing us to relocate to a 40,000 ft purpose built production facility in South Shields.
We continued to invest in the business and during a hospital visit to see a family member who had developed dysphagia, my dad saw the meals being served as texture modified which reduced the lack of normality at mealtimes and another bright idea struck him. With a new found enthusiasm and existing patient feeding experience, dad was keen to create a solution that brought mealtime dignity and an extensive range of quality texture modified food options. In 2001 we launched the first complete and plated texture modified meal to the NHS and the broader care sector industry.
I joined the business 16 years ago and my background in microbiology has given us the opportunity to develop our dysphagia range further from a scientific point of view – whilst keeping the emphasis on flavoursome and visually appealing meal solutions. Through this development, Simply Puree was born, and the brand has only gone from strength to strength. We are passionate about all of our brands, but our Simply Puree range is particularly emotive as it demonstrates the impact that food can have on the recovery, wellbeing and outlook for someone suffering with Dysphagia.
Last year, my father was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Honours List for his services to innovation and the economy in Tyne and Wear, which is a fantastic achievement and a testament to his hard work and dedication. We’re looking forward to seeing the business to continue to grow now as part of Bidfood.
Simply Puree is the first of the Simply Food Solutions family to be launched with Bidfood. Soon we will be launching further brands: Simply A-La-Carte, Simply Healthcare, Simply Worldfoods and The Punjab Kitchen, giving our customers a wide variety of food solutions.
Simply Puree will be attending the NACC Training and Development Forum 2019 on 9th – 11th October. Pop along to their stand to find out more about the range or visit www.bidfood.co.uk/simplypuree.