Look on the sauce shelves of one major high street retailer and you’ll notice a plastic squeezy bottle, shaped a little like a soldier. ‘Forces Sauces’ was founded and inspired by Army Veteran Bob Barrett. He went from Trooping the Colour in the Household Cavalry to being homeless.
In 2004, and in need of support and accommodation, Bob turned to Stoll – a charity which provides rehabilitative support to vulnerable and disabled ex-Service men and women. Determined to ‘give back’, Bob opened ‘The Beef Kitchen‘ followed by Pryors Bank Café, run by a team of Veterans. At Pryors Bank Café, an apprenticeship programme supported by The Royal British Legion trained Veterans into chefs, who went from serving their own sauces to selling Forces Sauces in 2009, with all the profits going back into improving the lives of more vulnerable Veterans at Stoll.
I spoke to Stoll’s Chief Executive Ed Tytherleigh at the sauces launch and asked him how he felt about seeing the sauces on the supermarket shelves. “It’s brilliant. It’s absolutely brilliant. We are, at the end of the day social care charities and to think that we’re suddenly food social entrepreneurs as well is really exciting. The sauces taste great. The ketchup is a good traditional ketchup flavour the brown sauce is slightly perhaps maturer.”
He’s right. If you like your brown sauce on the spicy side, this is the one for you and the red sauce is a perfect tomato, not too tart and not runny on the first squeeze either. If you buy one of these sauces then up to 6p of the retail price of £2.10 will go to both Stoll and The Royal British Legion.
Head of Corporate Partnership, Louise Lajdukiewicz, told me that their share of the profit will help go some way to their existing expenditure. Every week the Royal British Legion spend £1.6m providing help, advice and practical support to the armed forces community and their dependents – whether that’s immediate need with crisis grants, or the more long-term outlay on care homes, money and benefits or a respite trip at one of their break centres.
Four sauces – including Brigadier Brown and Corporal Ketchup are on sale in 700 Tesco stores. In 125 of those you’ll see Major Mayonnaise and Sergeant Salad Cream too.
The Berkshire-based English Provender Company manufacture and sell the tomato and brown sauce.
If sales go well for them, expect other major supermarkets to follow suit with stocking Forces Sauces.