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Cub Scouts Visit

April 1, 2015 at 9:02 am

You may recall that in December last year, we had a visit from a local Cub Scouts Group. Well, we enjoyed the visit so much that we decide to repeat the experience, so, on Saturday 28th March, we welcomed 25 members of the Abu Hanifah Foundation Cub Scouts Group.

Aged between 6 and 7, the cubs visited our manufacturing facility in Blackburn and were welcomed by our managing director, Faruk Vali. He gave them a quick overview of the company’s work and showed them a company video before conducting them on a tour of the factory floor.

IMG_6247One of the reasons for the children’s visit was to learn about the importance of food hygiene, which is a vital concern to food manufacturers. The cubs saw how workers prepared to enter the production area, the protective clothes they wore and the equipment they used to prevent food contamination. Staff gave a demonstration of their work and explained the processes that KQF had to follow in order to operate safely.

“It was great to have another group of cubs visit our factory,” said Faruk Vali. “It’s nice to have the opportunity to show children around and to demonstrate how seriously we take matters like hygiene and safety. The highlight, though, was our ever-popular sausage/polony-making challenge, where we show the children how it’s done and then invite them to have a go. They worked very well and received a certificate to commemorate all their hard work.”

After trying their hands at food manufacture, the scouts completed their tour by receiving a ‘goody bag’ containing polonies, sausages and KQF’s new Halal Macon Rashers and a certificate of attendance.

It was another great day with the Abu Hanifah Foundation Cub Scouts Group and we thank them all for visiting us.

Tastes of the World: The New Exotic Range

March 18, 2015 at 10:18 am

In recent weeks, we’ve been busily gearing up for a major new launch: the introduction of our Exotic range of gourmet style beef burgers. They will hit the shops on Saturday 21st March.

The watchword for the new range is ‘luxury’. The new burgers weigh a full half pound (220g) and they are made with 90% lean beef, so in terms of both quality and size, they’re leagues ahead of anything you’ll find on the high street.

The other thing that really distinguishes the Exotic range is the range of flavours. We’ve spent months developing new flavour profiles and researching customer preferences. On the strength of this work, we’ve come up with a selection of five products. They all have distinctive flavours based on authentic recipes from across the globe.

Gourmet Burgers

Gourmet Burgers

These ‘tastes of the world’ include:

  • Mexican: hot and spicy, with a wonderful smoky flavour
  • Moroccan: a subtle blend of herbs, mild spices and apricot pieces
  • Portuguese: a tangy combination of chilli, red pepper, onion, herbs and seasonings
  • South African: a distinct sharp flavour based on herbs, black pepper and cracked coriander
  • Thai: a delicious oriental mix with hints of chilli, coconut and lime

Designed for special occasions and for when you just want something really satisfying, these gourmet burgers are sold in packs of two. Like all KQF products, they are certified halal by the HMC.

In preparation for the launch, we’ve been organising some special promotions. If you’re following our Facebook or Twitter profiles, you’ll know we’ve been releasing product details each week, but now we’re stepping up a gear.

Much of our customer taste-testing has been carried out at the KQF Superstore in Blackburn so, on the day of the formal launch (Saturday 21st March) we’ll be running a free taster counter in the store. There will also be a competition/game in which customers can win FREE packs. For those who can’t visit the Blackburn store, we’ll also be running a roadshow, which will visit some of our larger retail stockists.

The new Exotic range will sit alongside our other popular halal burgers including the Classic range, our Chunky burgers  and the Jumbo/Texan quarter pounder burgers in our Premium range. You’ll find them all in the Frozen section of the KQF website.

Finalist in the Red Rose Awards 2015

February 4, 2015 at 12:09 pm

Red Rose Awards FinalistLast year, we expressed our surprise at being shortlisted for a whole host of business awards including the 2014 English Asian Business Awards, the E3 Awards, the EN Entrepreneur of the Year Awards and the Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards. It was certainly a very busy time and it made life interesting for everyone.

Remarkably, it looks as though we are heading in a very similar direction again, despite being only just a few weeks into 2015.

We have just learned that we have picked up not one but three finalists’ places in the 2015 Red Rose Business Awards.

There are 25 categories in all and KQF has been shortlisted for the following:

  • Innovation of the Year
  • Manufacturing Business of the Year
  • Retail Business of the Year

“This is a real achievement for the team,” said managing director Faruk Vali. “A lot has changed over the last twelve months, from developing new products to finding new and better ways of serving our customers, so I’m very pleased that our efforts have been recognised in this way. Now, we’re really looking forward to the competition itself.”

Open to businesses from all over Lancashire, the awards are hosted by Lancashire Business View and will take place this year at the Winter Gardens on Blackpool. The final will be held on March 12th.

Halal Macon Rashers

February 3, 2015 at 9:39 am

KQF Halal Certified Macon RashersIf you’ve been keeping an eye on the news, you may have heard that we’ve just launched our new range of Halal Macon Rashers – smoky slices of ready cooked beef and chicken that are delicious, convenient and certified halal by the HMC.

The launch has attracted considerable interest from the national food industry trade press but, as of this month, customers can find out for themselves what all the fuss is about.  KQF Halal Macon Rashers are now available on our website, at the KQF Superstore and via a small number of ‘pilot’ retailers.

Better yet, customers in the Blackburn area can visit the KQF Superstore on Saturday 7th February to take part in free taster sessions. The taster counter will be open from 12 to 4pm.

Macon Rashers – key details:

Beef or chicken options available.

Certified halal by the HMC.

The lighter marbling is made with lean chicken meat rather than fat.

Smoked with beech wood chips.

Served chilled and ready cooked.

Eat cold or heat briefly in a frying pan.

Suitable for sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, pizzas and lots more.

KQF Seasonal Treats

December 10, 2014 at 10:04 am

The holiday season is almost upon us and it brings with it the opportunity to spend quality time with family and friends.

If you’re catering for a get-together in the coming weeks and you want something tasty, convenient and just a little bit special, then our Premium range of burgers and sausages could be just what you’re looking for.

What Makes Our Premium Range Special?

KQF Premium Chunky Burgers

KQF Premium Chunky Burgers

Our Chunky and Texan burgers are both much bigger than high street burgers so they’re extremely satisfying – perfect for special occasions. At 80g each, our Chunky Burgers will keep even the hungriest families happy,  whilst our 110g Texan Burgers – available in a choice of beef, chicken or lamb – make for the very heartiest of meals.

But, of course, size is nothing without taste so we’ve gone to great lengths to make our Premium range utterly delicious. Offering a far higher lean meat content than anything to be found on the high street, our succulent burgers and jumbo sausages are made with the very finest ingredients, using authentic spice blends from India, South Africa and the Middle East.

Certified halal by the HMC, the whole range has been designed to be easy and convenient to cook – straight from frozen – so you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with those you love.

Special Seasonal Offers

If you’d  like to try some of our Premium Burgers then please take advantage of our special seasonal offers. For a limited time, we’re offering  up to 25% reduction on the Premium Burgers, coupled with extra bonus points to make your money go even further. For more details, please call us or click here.

KQF Superstore’s Anniversary Prize Draw

November 24, 2014 at 9:51 am

To mark the first anniversary of the opening of the KQF Superstore in Blackburn, we held a free customer prize draw during our November anniversary sale.

VCD_0510_W

The draw was held on the 13th November and superstore supervisor Shabina subsequently presented the winners with their certificates and gift voucher prizes. The winners were:

First prize (£50 voucher): Farzana Ismail

Second prize (£30 voucher): Habiba Munshi

Third prize (£20 voucher): Muhammed Bawla

Congratulations to all three.

This won’t be our last prize draw, of course, so please remember to check this blog regularly for details of our various draws, give-aways and promotions.

KQF Superstore – One Year On

November 13, 2014 at 11:42 am

A year ago this month, we opened the KQF Superstore in Whallley Range, Blackburn. We promised new investment, new thinking and a new shopping experience. Twelve months have passed since then so now seems like an excellent opportunity to look back and see how much has changed.

Anyone who remembers the superstore as it was when KQF took it over will be aware that the layout has changed considerably. The old covered entrance has been fully glazed and made part of the interior so as to make more room overall. The checkouts themselves were updated earlier in the year and then moved into the newly extended entrance area, so movement around the store has become more fluid and much less cramped.

VCD_0452One of the most important changes came with the appointment of our new store manager and trained staff, whose experience and energy have helped to reshape the way the store looks and operates. KQF team and our managing director, Faruk Vali have introduced all sorts of changes – changes that have led us to win a number of nominations for regional and national business awards. KQF team members are extremely delighted as KQF has been named as the Asian English Business of the Year Award 2014.

Besides the obvious new branding, some of the most noticeable changes include new signage, the introduction of new product ranges and, of course, the new layout, in which there are new aisles with more space for frozen foods and other popular products. We have also introduced a new ‘taster counter’ where  customers can sample  new or seasonal dishes and get new shopping ideas. Our range of marinated meats has been especially popular in the last few months.

Other changes, though, have been more subtle. For example, customer feedback suggested that some shoppers felt a little intimidated by the old butcher’s counter and its all-male staff so we changed the way it worked. Now, meat preparation and customer service are handled by separate teams, with more female staff making the area feel more friendly and welcoming. This is one example of alterations that have been made as a direct result of talking with customers and asking for their feedback.

Another big improvement, according to customers, was the extension of the opening hours. The store opens earlier and stays open longer – 100 hours every week, in fact – so local people find it easier to fit their shopping around other activities and commitments.

To make sure that we can keep responding to the needs of the local population, we now host regular focus group sessions, giving local people a valuable say in new product development work.

Of course, all of these changes have required a good deal of thought, investment and staff training.  The good response to the recruitment of more female staff underscores the importance of effective liaison with customers. To do this effectively, KQF staff have been given intensive training and particular emphasis has been placed on encouraging and maintaining dialogue. The customer focus groups and taster counter are examples of how this is being put into action, but listening to our shoppers is encouraged at every level.

VCD_0410The last year has been a fantastically busy period for all at the KQF Superstore but we don’t plan to tread water next year. For example, we are looking at the feasibility of offering a ‘home shopping’ and local delivery service, and we will continue to talk to customers about our product ranges and opening hours.

If you have ever visited the KQF Superstore and you have any thoughts or suggestions, please do get in touch. We really appreciate all your feedback.

New Packaging for KQF Polonies

October 29, 2014 at 10:21 am
KQF Polonies

KQF Polonies

Customers might like to know that we have now launched the new-look packaging for our popular range of KQF Halal Polonies.

The new packs bring the products into line with the company’s updated branding and logo, which came into effect last year, and the colour coding makes it very easy to distinguish the different variants at a glance. The red wrapper indicates beef (Masala Polony), the blue indicates lamb and the yellow denotes chicken.

Please note that although the packaging has changed, the recipes, sizes and halal credentials have not, so customers will still be able to count on them to deliver the same quality, integrity and taste.

The KQF Polony range includes:

•    Chicken Polony
•    Masala (beef) Polony
•    Lamb Polony

Guest blog by Jerome de Ferrieres, AsiaFoodCo.

October 7, 2014 at 10:46 am

In this guest post, our French distributor and European retail expert Jerome de Ferrieres explains how the halal market has developed in France and why he believes that KQF products are well suited to some of its most promising niche markets.

A Taste for the Exotic: France’s Changing Halal Market

Firstly, thanks to KQF for giving me an opportunity to talk about the halal market in France, which is very important to the work of AsiaFoodCo.

There are some significant differences between the halal markets in Britain and France. I think it’s fair to say that the French market is a lot more mature, it has a very different composition and it’s certainly larger – roughly twice the size of the British market.

Between 5 and 6 million inhabitants originate from the Maghreb – the countries of Northwest Africa – whereas only a relatively small proportion of the Muslim population comes from India, Pakistan and Bengal. There are perhaps half a million people of Turkish descent living and France and the demographic mix also features more than a million people from West Africa – Gabon, Togo, Senegal and the Ivory Coast. As a rough estimate, around a third to a half of these African consumers will be Muslim.

Muslim populations tend to be quite concentrated, particularly around Paris, which could account for about half of the national halal market. The capital and its suburbs are therefore very important to retailers serving Muslim consumers.

Each ethnic group has its own characteristics and preferences and this applies particularly to the issue of halal certification. Some groups are not particularly fastidious and will simply avoid pork. Others will seek halal labelled foods but will not be greatly concerned about their certification. Others however – particularly certain communities in and around Paris – consider halal certification to be very important and will opt for foods that bear the stamp of their preferred monitoring body.

In France, the two leading bodies are AVS and Mosquée de Lyon. AVS tends to be regarded as the most stringent and is comparable in many respects to Britain’s HMC. The HMC itself is relatively unknown amongst ordinary shoppers in France but retailers specialising in the Muslim market are usually well informed about its work and therefore happy to stock HMC-certified foods, including those produced by KQF.

When it comes to judgements about the reliability of halal credentials, many French consumers tend to trust their chosen brand of supermarket/hypermarket. These shops will generally have a frozen foods aisle with a clearly marked ‘halal’ section so if a retailer is prepared to stock a certified food, its customers often tend to accept it.

KQF’s halal certification has therefore been very important for convincing retailers to stock its products and for proving that those products will stand up to the most rigorous scrutiny.  Now that they are in stock in many parts of Paris and elsewhere, the next consideration is how well the market responds.

We are still at a relatively early stage of market testing but the early responses have been good. In June, we agreed a deal with Le Clerc FRANCE, which has over 500 stores, and this followed agreements with other retailers including Alphaprim and distFresh.

In France, KQF foods are branded as Khan Exotique and I think they are successful because they appeal to particular niches. Burgers are common in France but they tend to be cheap and the meat content is low. KQF is not offering ‘just another burger’ but is, instead, offering authentic and exotic flavours from India and other parts of the world.

This illustrates how the halal market in France has changed, particularly over the last ten years. For a long time, shoppers had no difficulty in finding staple halal foods but their choice was very limited, especially when it came to products with more exotic flavours.

More recently, well known food brands have begun to introduce their own halal products so the market has started to develop a taste for variety and convenience. In addition, many Muslim consumers are anxious to buy products with reliable halal credentials, but there is a very limited number of products that combine all three qualities: exotic flavours, convenience and trusted certification. Fortunately, these are all areas in which KQF is very strong and this is what first attracted me to the Khan Exotique range.

Looking ahead, I think there is great scope for us to work with KQF to introduce more halal certified ‘flavours of the world’ to French Muslim consumers. The larger product sizes, the emphasis on quality and the reliable certification are all important selling points and as the range grows to include flavours from Mexico, Thailand, North Africa and elsewhere, I expect the brand to become increasingly popular.

KQF Named Business of the Year In English Asian Business Awards

October 3, 2014 at 12:18 pm

KQF has been named Business of the Year in the 2014 English Asian Business Awards.

1editPresented by Lloyds Banking Group, the Awards were held on the 29th September at the Mercure Manchester Piccadilly Hotel and were attended by hundreds of delegates from all over Britain. There were six other finalists in the Business of the Year category including, amongst others, professional services specialists, high-tech manufacturers and food and drinks companies from London and the West Midlands.

“This is a very prestigious award for KQF and to be up there with some really big names is a great achievement,” said managing director Faruk Vali. “I would like to express my appreciation to our whole 62-strong workforce for their contributions to making this award possible. We have come a long way in the last twelve months and much of it has been down to sheer hard work from the whole team. ”

The title of Business of the Year was awarded to the company which the judges believed most deserved to be recognised for its progress over the last year. In making their decision, the panel took into account KQF’s dramatic growth in sales, and our innovation with regard to new product development, branding, quality control and the expansion of our export markets.

Over the last year, we have almost doubled our turnover, won new clients in Britain and Europe and created a total of 12 new jobs.

We were recently commended as a finalist in the E3 Business Awards and, on 16th October, we will be appearing at the EN 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year Awards as a finalist in the category of Most Entrepreneurial Company. In November, representatives of the KQF Superstore will attend the Butcher’s Shop of the Year Awards – for which KQF has been shortlisted in two categories: the Halal Butcher’s Shop of the Year and the Innovation of the Year.