95 Years for Queen and Lucas!

It’s so important these days to find something positive to talk about and choose how you look at it, it has to be something to celebrate that the Queen will reach her 95th birthday this year.  We’re certainly celebrating, as Lucas will also be 95 this year!

Since the company’s humble beginnings in 1926, the owners and employees of Lucas have endeavoured to serve the UK’s independent butchers with quality ingredients that can be trusted completely.  The company has consistently developed new products to reflect the preferences of the current times and has ensured that its best-selling ingredients and mixes have been safe and reliable.

Judith Johnston, Senior Account Manager at Lucas says “Our endeavour has not stopped for a moment: even in the strange times in which we find ourselves, we’ve continued to innovate and to be creative.  That’s great news for you, our customers in the retail butchery sector, as we enable you to keep up with the hottest food trends and provide insights into what’s going to be popular in the coming months.  Our considerable worldwide resources mean that you can compete even with the biggest high street food businesses.  In fact, we are often ahead of the game, which means that you are too.  Our 95 years of experience and knowledge benefit all our customers today.”

Lucas is a real innovator in the butchery sector and has achieved many “firsts” in the industry, including, in the very early years, being the first to develop Dried Yeastless Rusk (DYR).  Back in the 1920s butchers would use stale bread, often from their local baker, as a filler in their sausages. The problem with this was that it was inconsistent and it was difficult to control or monitor the potential growth of mould. The loaves would go stale for approximately 5-7 days and would then be stripped of their crusts and crumbed. The resultant crumbs would be soaked in water and would take up approximately 1 ¼ of their own weight in water. Lucas’ Dried Yeastless Rusk, made from its own proprietary bread “biscuit”, was more consistent, easier to use and would take up twice its own weight in water, resulting in an improved texture. In fact, DYR creates the unique textural characteristic of a British Sausage that still exists today.

In the 1950’s, Lucas began to develop Coatings and in the next decade, moved into the snack food flavouring market.  Comments Judith “Lucas was actually the originator of seasonings for snack foods in the UK – starting with crisps.  In the 1950’s one either had crisps with or without salt.  Lucas was the company that changed all that and enabled to huge variety of seasonings that we have in our crisps today!”

Sausage seasonings and mixes though, have remained at the heart of the business and Lucas was the first manufacturer to make and pack pre-blended seasonings for butchers, initially using ambient ground spices and herbs.  Spice technology has developed significantly over the years and different methods of processing, many of which have been pioneered by Lucas, mean that flavour release can be managed during the manufacturing, storage and cooking process.  All of Lucas’ spices are now sourced from origin and therefore, their provenance, quality and consistency are carefully controlled right from growth.

Following the success of its sausage seasonings and mixes, Lucas introduced the first flavoured, complete cure blends, providing butchers with a quick and simple method to home-cure their own delicious bacon. Lucas Easicures offer a choice of flavours and make dry curing an every-day possibility for any retail butcher.

The introduction of Lucas’ Butchers Classic premium range of complete sausage mixes was a game-changer for many retail butchers, as they could now make superb sausages with a mix that used traditional bread rusk.  This meant they could make sausages as butchers did in days gone by, replicating the staling process in a controlled, hygienic and consistent way.  This extremely popular and successful range consists of 20 sausage varieties and 5 burgers, including traditional and up-to-the-minute flavours reflecting the latest in customer preferences.  Many butchers have won national awards using Butchers Classic mixes.

Lucas is not afraid to branch out into new culinary areas either.  When the “Lucas Kitchen” range of products was launched, it was to help retail butchers combat the threat from supermarkets with their ready meal rangesLucas Kitchen products enable butchers to make their own ready meals, such as lasagne, meatballs in sauce pies and pasties with that special “home-made” touch.  “Signature” dishes can be created easily and effectively, providing consumers with something different and exclusive.

“Our technical team really is second-to-none” says Judith “and we enjoy challenging our colleagues in the development lab, encouraging them to come up with fresh flavours that are perfect for today’s customer who is looking for more exotic tastes in everyday meals.  It’s always worth keeping an eye on our website as we’re launching products on a regular basis and they are quickly featured there. You can also get free samples of many of our seasonings, mixes and coaters by calling our free Customer Helpline.” There are very few manufacturers that can claim the successes that Lucas has achieved in the last 95 years.  Its sales, technical and production teams are dedicated to the retail butchery trade and continue to focus on and pay attention to the needs and prosperity of its customers.  To round up, Judith comments “We’re rightly proud of our ability to innovate and bring products quickly to market.  We thoroughly enjoy working with butchers and we will continue to support them every day.  Just like the queen, we plan to keep working hard long into the future!”

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