Since 1858, Norwich has been the home of mustard but in January 2018, Unilever, which now owns Colman’s announced that they were moving the production of the condiment to Burton-on-Trent and Germany.
The people of Norwich were greatly disappointed, with some commenting that a piece of Norwich history had gone. Even Stephen Fry tweeted “Norwich without Colman’s? Take the Tower from London, the Royal Shakespeare Company from Stratford and the potteries from Stoke, but leave our mustard in the fine city.”
A group of local people came up with an idea to start their own cooperative community business, called Norwich Mustard to carry on mustard production and also the social innovations that Colman’s brought to the city. The seed was sown, and word quickly began to spread to the people of Norwich who responded with donations to a Crowdfunder UK campaign, after the story was covered on the BBC.
Norwich Mustard are now set up as a cooperative, selling their mustard online, in shops across Norfolk and at fairs.
How did they do it?
An idea that cut the mustard – the community business ensuring that Norwich doesn’t lose it’s spicy identity after Colman’s relocated from the city it called home for nearly 200 years.
After one of the founding members Robert Ashton posted a video on LinkedIn, asking whether the people of Norwich were willing to do something about mustard production in their city, a campaign shortly followed. Local people had soon reached the £6000 target on Crowdfunder.co.uk, which was match funded through the Crowdmatch programme, by Power to Change. This grant ensured that Norwich Mustard could become a community-owned cooperative, giving the people who care about Norwich the chance to own shares in the business.
What is their social impact?
Norwich Mustard will provide job opportunities for local people, those who are furthest from the job market. With the help of retired mustard-makers, they will be teaching local people and the wider community new skills and experiences.
How is it community led?
People who care about Norwich’s history with mustard production will be joining the cooperative. Over 180 people donated to the campaign and volunteers are helping to make the dream of Norwich Mustard a reality.