Q: How did we start?
Back in 1994 when founder, Ketan Varu, was at university, his mum sent him recipes and spices to make real Indian curries that would remind him of home. Pretty soon all his friends were hooked and the idea for Spicentice was born.
All these years later Spicentice is very much a family business (with mum, Manjula, and dad, Ramnik, still making sure Ketan eats a good lunch!) and the range has grown to include Indian, Thai, Mexican, Portuguese, Cajun, Jamaican and Moroccan spice kits, along with handy tubs of herb & spice rubs and real Indian fruit chutneys.
Spicentice stands out from the crowd because of its commitment to traditional recipes that have been perfected over generations, with 100% pure herbs & spices, no waste and absolutely no nasties! Ketan now has a young family of his own and continues the tradition of cooking and sharing meals with family and friends.
Q: Where do we call home?Spicentice HQ is based in Leicester – renowned home of all things spice. For centuries people of different cultures have gathered in Leicester, born out by the fact that the town is twinned with countries as far as France, Germany, Bulgaria, Nicaragua, India, Pakistan and China!
Leicester's unique diversity offers us a great environment to work in and a very central place on the map for us get out and about to see you all at events and festivals.
Q: Where do we make our products?
We prepare and dispatch all our products from our small but perfectly formed factory. In fact, we don’t really like to call it a factory – more of a very big kitchen full of great staff and family all pulling together to make Spicentice special. We love to look after it well, and look after the way we do things, which has been recognised with us achieving BRC Accreditation at the highest level since 2013.
We are proud that all our meal kits and rubs are all expertly blended by hand, measured and packaged right here in the UK, using ingredients sourced from around the world.
Our real fruit chutneys are made especially for us in India, where we can source fresh mangoes, papayas, sweet limes and whole spices all year round.
Q: Are we a nut free environment?
Yes we are – nut and sesame seed-free in fact!
Q: What quality systems do we have?
We’re very particular about how we do things and have a real commitment to quality. We're BRC Accredited (which is a global standard for food producers – see www.brc.org.uk/standards) and pleased to be members of the Guild of Fine Food, who only choose to work with the best suppliers - visit finefoodworld.co.uk for more information on what they do.
All in all we take great pride in everything we do and aim to follow all our legal requirements to you … and more.
Q: Do mum and dad still lend a hand?
Most definitely. Manjula and Ramnik are very much part of the production and operations management side of things (and they make great lunches too!).
Q: How well do we train our team?
We believe wholeheartedly in offering stringent training to every member of our growing team. Everyone works in all areas of production so they can swap roles easily and efficiently. Not only does that keep us on our toes but it keeps things interesting too and if someone’s having a day off and putting their feet up (which we all need to do sometimes) then someone else can pitch in.
Spicentice is all about team work and we’re very lucky that our team is more of an extended family, with new recruits coming from family and friends who want to join us because it’s such a great place to be (the bonus is we can all keep in touch with family chit chat while we work!).
All our team LOVES cooking and are really motivated and enthusiastic about the recipes we make at Spicentice. Not only that, we all share the belief that cooking and sharing meals with family and friends is about the best thing in the world, so we try and do it as often as possible.
Q: How do we source ingredients?
We know how important it is to you that we source only the very best quality ingredients for our recipes, so that’s what we do. We source from trusted A-Grade suppliers who can assure us of full traceability and provenance for everything we select. We thought you might like to know where in the world we buy some of the special herbs and spices from…
India: Chilli Powder, Ground Cumin, Ground Coriander, Fenugreek, Ground Cardamom, Ground Black Pepper, Mustard Seeds, Ground Turmeric, Crushed Chilli, Basmati Rice | Spain: Paprika | Syria: Cumin Seeds | Vietnam: Cassia Bark, Black Pepper Corns, Ground Cinnamon | Turkey: Oregano, Red Split Lentils | Guatemala: Cardamom Pods, Sri Lanka: Ground Cloves | Morrocco: Thyme, Thailand: Kaffir Lime Leaves, Lemon Grass
Q: What do we think about the environment & ethics?
We care about our own environment as much as we do the world about us and the people in it, so we take steps big and small that we believe really make a difference…
Small steps - like making a pot of tea
Small steps really do become big leaps if we all do them! So we monitor our energy efficiency every day, turning equipment off stand-by when we go home and working as a team to make the best use of our resources. We recycle waste as much as possible and source our packaging materials with care. Little things like sharing transport (another chance to chat!), and making a pot of tea instead of just one mug, is not only a very friendly thing to do but all helps conserve valuable resources.
Big steps - like not exploiting workers
We make certain that, to the very best of our ability, everything we buy has come from sources that do not exploit children or adult workers and from suppliers who pay a fair price to their growers. We transport our ingredients by whatever means has the least negative impact to the environment too.
Bigger steps - like trading ethically
We’re members of Sedex – the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange. Companies who are members of Sedex (like us) are committed to continuous improvement of the ethical performance of their supply chains, sharing ethical data and participating in working groups to improve the ways in which businesses can trade ethically. Serious stuff – but something we believe in.