Working With Nellie


“Nellie Nichols is a passionate crusader for the cause of good, natural, preservative free food. At Pret she kept us on the seat of our pants. New ideas, new recipes, funny one-off suppliers of weird and wonderful ingredients.”
JULIAN METCALFE, Founder, Pret a Manger

“We have worked with Nellie for the last three years and she has bought a new dimension to the development process. She is very knowledgeable and experienced, sets high standards and passes on her expertise to the teams. Not afraid to challenge the status quo, Nellie has delivered delicious new products and generated savings in product costs across a wide range of categories.”
CATHY CHAPMAN, Director of Product Development, Marks and Spencer

“We have been working with Nellie for 6 months now to help us reimagine the food range at Starbucks UK. Nellie was able to come into the business, establish relationships and immediately get to work on challenging our thinking around food & evolving our range – all with a laser-like focus. I am grateful for Nellie’s ability to highlight opportunities in our development & sourcing process and to challenge the status quo”.
NEIL LITTLER, Head of Marketing, Product & Digital, UK, Starbucks

“Nellie can work with impressive autonomy and it’s evident at every turn, that she’s got huge experience and know-how. Nellie also has a fantastic can-do attitude, which is really refreshing.”
ANDY SHOVEL, Co-founder, THIS.

“Nellie has unrivalled sector knowledge and the rare ability to be both an excellent NPD person and highly effective in commercial negotiation. Outspoken and driven, she carries this with great warmth and humour. In my view, she is an invaluable asset for any business in need of development and external insight.”

“Nellie is OK to work with I guess. If you like things like results, and better food, no nonsense speedy delivery and better economics. And many laughs every day. Other than that nothing special.”
JOHN VINCENT, Co Founder, Leon Restaurants

“I love Nellie. She is a force of nature. What she can’t do by force of persuasion, she does by brute force if she has to. She has had a major role in improving our menu and stretching our boundaries since she has been involved”
HENRY DIMBLEBY, Co Founder, Leon Restaurants

“We brought Nellie into Krispy Kreme to turbo charge our value optimisation agenda with a brief to drive significant commercial savings with zero impact to the consumer. An impossible ask would be the view of many innovators. But Nellie rose to the challenge. Her strength in my view lies in her creativity combined with clear commercial and operational depth as well as a drive for results that is unrivalled.”
EMMA COLQUHOUN, Chief Marketing Officer, Krispy Kreme UK & Ireland

“Nellie is passionate about food and always strives for best in class products or if required drives cost saving initiatives to support customers briefs. I have worked with Nellie on a number of occasions and I can recommend her. She will make an impact on your business.”
RICHARD FREEMAN, Business Unit Director Retail & Foodservice, Baker & Baker

“Nellie brought a wealth of knowledge and contacts as we developed our bakery range at Knoops. She is able to
Navigate a variety of opinions around the table and allowed us to reach a cohesive decision and deliver a great
range. I anticipate this becoming a significant revenue stream for us.”

“Working with Nellie is truly inspirational and aspirational but most of all always a pleasure”
BEN WARNER, Co Founder, Benugo

“We have worked with Nellie for more than ten years successfully developing products for many of the major retail and foodservice groups. Her quest for seeking the very best products for every project is uncompromising. Her depth of knowledge is superb.”
DAVID PARK, Managing Director, Benson Park

“Working with Nellie is always a delight, her energy and passion for all that is food are infectious. An industry legend with an ability to direct you to what good looks like, challenging your current thinking from concept to launch Nellie inspires, motivates and delivers above and beyond. I always look forward to the next opportunity when we can work together again.”
DAVID LEWIS, Development Director, Bakkavor

“I have worked with Nellie for the last year during which time she has worked at pace with true passion and determination. Never scared to challenge she has made suppliers think differently and has helped to deliver some fantastic products and cost savings.”
HANNAY MCKAY, Head of Food and Beverage, Caffe Nero

“Working with Nellie is a great experience. Her drive and enthusiasm make the seemingly impossible become possible.  She has such a clear and focused approach. She’s a catch, if she’ll have you.”
SARAH DOOLEY, Technical & Development Manager, SlimFast

“Nellie is a consummate pro who has a lot of passion for what she does and a wealth of practical experience to provide real time solutions. I have had the pleasure of working with her on our start up brand in New York, Dogmatic, as well as with Leon in the UK, where I serve as a board director and strategic partner. Nellie is a committed, high energy, hands on, opinionated, caring person who really knows food – how to make it taste good AND how to develop procedures to ensure consistent, and profitable delivery to the consumer across different types of restaurants.”
BRAD BLUM, Founder & CEO, Blum Enterprises. Former CEO of Burger King and former President of Olive Garden

“With her fantastic experience and knowledge of the food industry Nellie has driven and delivered a range of key strategic projects. From fantastic new products to identifying new opportunities to improve manufacturing methods Nellie approaches each project with the same passion, commitment and drive.”
CHRIS SEABY, Product Development Manager, Marks and Spencer

“I always look forward to shooting with Nellie. She has a strong clear vision of what she wants but also the confidence to react and change when necessary. A great combination and the results speak for themselves.”
TAMIN JONES, Photographer

“Never fails to astound with her unique talent”
KAREN STACEY, Sales & Marketing Director, Key Catering

“Nellie is practical, creative and understands requirements, she is happy to cooperate to find solutions – and is a real team player”
RICHARD LOEBENBERG, Founder, Great Food Company

“Nellie is not just a walking food encyclopaedia but someone who has their feet firmly planted in the commercial world of recipe engineering and food buying. She is a great asset to us and a pleasure to work with.”
HOWARD LLOYD, Commercial Manager, Deliverance
“Nellie is a rare talent, possessing huge creativity, boundless energy and a common-sense approach to commercial matters. She delivered significant benefits for our business and was a pleasure to work with.”
ANDREW BIRD, Head of Value Optimisation, Marks & Spencer

“A culinary tour de force. We thought our products and the profit they generated were as strong as they could be. Nellie helped us challenge the absolute fundamentals of our range and we have ended up in a place with significantly improved products and materially enhanced profits. There is a hell of a lot of flannel in the food industry and to have someone with the expertise and force of character to slice through the folk lore is worth its weight in cabbages.”
ADAM JONES, Managing Director, New Ivory

“Nellie’s specialist expertise has been extremely valuable on various projects for my Clients. To get the kind of strategic insight she has provided from her first hand experience would have taken my Clients extensive time and money to gather from market research or target focus groups”
LISA CHAFEL, Managing Director, Food Stuff PR

“Working with Nellie has always been an inspiration and an education. We have reviewed restaurants and judged food competitions together and I have always come away from those experiences a wiser man”
MATTHEW MOGGRIDGE, Editor and Publisher, Foodservice Forum

“Nellie led a number of innovation projects that focussed on approaching established categories in a completely new way. She inspired our contacts within the supply base to think creatively and identified a number of innovative concepts that have translated into new products.”
MELISSA WARD, Product Development Manager, Marks & Spencer

“I have worked with Nellie for some sixteen years and have always been impressed by the detail and passion she takes to create food as it should be designed, by someone who truly cares about what we eat”
TIM MACK, New Business Development Director, English Provender

“Working with Nellie is like working with a tremendous whirlwind – deadly but fun. Super efficient and very effective.”

“Not content with delivering the concept, the menu or the budget, Nellie also considers the manufacturing practicalities. A true professional with first class experience and a vast knowledge”
DAVID GUY, Commercial Director, Superior Food

“Nellie leaves no stone unturned in order to get to the root of any project. She understands both creativity and manufacturing in such a way as to be able to strongly challenge any product or process. Product quality is paramount and she will not accept any compromise.”
ALISON JENKINS, M&S NPD Controller, 2 Sisters Food Group

“Nellie has shown the team how to live and breathe outside the box when tackling complex development projects. She has been an inspiration to us all.”
FRANK LEWIS, Head of Innovation, New Ivory

“Nellie teaches you that there is no room for compromise or complacency….that you should always strive to push the boundaries one step further than the customer would expect”
MARK ARNOLD, Procurement and Development Manager, Brambles

“We received a recent product development brief from Nellie which has proved highly successful. Driven by her engaging and exacting standards of workmanship we could not help but strive for the ideal product. This has resulted in a major product listing”
ROY ANDERSON, Sales Director, Vion Snowbird Foods

“Nellie has a special gift – she can help you fix things you didn’t know were broken. She has a keen eye for detail and is incredibly focused.  She is a complete pleasure to work with while still keeping you challenged. Best of all she doesn’t feel satisfied until you do.”
MARISA REGAL, President, Dogmatic Restaurant NYC, USA

“I’ve had the pleasure of working with Nellie over the last couple of years. She is passionate, committed and has a relentless approach to driving improved performance.”
COLIN MANNING, Product Development Manager, Marks & Spencer

“Nellie has a scrupulous eye for detail and an unrivalled passion for quality. She has challenged our way of thinking and the results are fantastic.”
CAROLINE DOBSON, Head of Marketing, Commercial Manager, Corney & Barrow

“You know when you’ve been Nellied”
ALASTAIR BENSON, Operations Director, Benson Park

“Guaranteed to keep you on your toes”
RICH EDNEY, Development Chef, Pret a Manger

“Nellie is at the leading edge of food innovation. She combines talent with practical skills and a real understanding of what is required to prepare food efficiently and consistently on either a large or small scale. She has a great strength in her ability to source. She seeks out and nurtures exciting new and original sources of ingredient supply which can deliver a real point of difference for a company”

“Never settles for second best, when it comes to delivering new delicious NPD Nellie excels. And as for enthusiasm for life in general, it’s a pleasure to work with her.”
JOHN QUINN, Senior Food Technologist, Marks and Spencer

“She combines a love of food with an in-depth appreciation of the practical constraints of large scale production. Her knack of combining ingredients into factory friendly products is the key to her success, as well as being a contributor to the success of the companies she has worked with”.
PETER BARTLETT, Director, Advanced Food Technology

“Nellie is relentless with her attention to detail and passion to ensure our customers receive Best in Class food. Her knowledge and drive has had a huge impact on the Deliverance food team and she has really challenged the norm for our business.”
JO BARRATT, Operations Director, Deliverance

“Nellie tackles NPD in an enthusiastic way, encouraging those around her to be brave and to think outside the box, delivering truly innovative results.”
SANDRA ZILES, Head of Product, Marks & Spencer

“When you need an uncompromising approach to product quality mixed with creativity that is instinctively attuned to consumers needs, Nellie is a powerful combination for any business where either organic growth or creating uniqueness are the key to success”
MIKE FAERS, Group NPD and Innovations Director, Daniels

“Working with Nellie is a journey on a flavour train! What and who she knows is extraordinary. She is passionate and demanding, rightly so, whilst being pragmatic and commercially adept. It was great fun, educational and an experience I hope to repeat.”
CATHERINE SAMSON, Senior Food Technologist, Marks and Spencer

“A great asset to any business”
OLIVER LEATHAM, Development Director, Leathams Plc

“Nellie is a real professional and the one to trust and depend on at all times”
SIMON HARGRAVES, Commercial Director, Pret a Manger

“Nellie certainly knows the meaning of ‘smells what sells’. I’ve had the pleasure of food styling for several companies where she has developed their products and then worked with her on the photographic shoots for their subsequent marketing and websites. All with great success.
ELIZA BAIRD, Food Stylist and Home Economist

“One of the delights of working with Nellie is that with her experience and finely honed taste buds, she brings a certainty and decisiveness to what can be a rather protracted process. We have worked together over several years, during which time she has challenged my business to produce the freshest products we have ever made, and probably one of the fastest launches too. Demanding of course, but always charming”.
GRAHAM STOODLEY, Managing Director, Huge Sauce Ltd

“If you want to be in control of your children don’t let her anywhere near them! If you want straight talking no bullshit guidance, advice and input on all things food related then look no further.”
ED GARDNER, MD, Corney & Barrow

“She comes up with vibrant development that others are unable to match”
DEREK LEWIS, Sales Manager, Tomen Foods Ltd

“Nellie is a pleasure to work with and the results are always spot on”
SAM STOWELL, Photographer

“In an era when committee design is becoming the norm, Nellie Nichols remains the one true sandwich ‘superstar’. Over the years her name has become synonymous with a search for quality ingredients, design flair and mature judgement when it comes to the sandwich environment”
SIMON AMBROSE, Editor, Sandwich and Snack News

“A natural creative talent. Through her energetic passion and knowledge of the food industry she always surpasses expectations and constantly delivers pleasing results”
RUSSELL MADDOCK, Managing Director, Maison Blanc

“The evangelist for really delicious contemporary food. She is simply not content with average and will always challenge the norm”.
REBECCA FOSTER, NPD Manager, Superior Food

“Prepare to be challenged ! Nellie will seek to deliver the best product and your customer will benefit from the wealth of her knowledge that she invests”
STEVE GREENHALGH, Managing Director, Kates Cakes

“She strives to achieve the best – driving her suppliers to produce food as it should be – uncomplicated, fresh and real. She has helped teach me that compromise should be the last resort not the easiest route”
JONNIE ARCHER, Head of Sales, H&B Foods

“Working with someone as passionate about food as Nellie is not only highly informative but also entertaining. A true professional and a pleasure to work with”
JOAN PRENTICE, Commercial Director, The Edinburgh Smoked Salmon Company

“There are absolutely no sacred cows in Nellie’s book, she challenges everything: sometimes its painful, but I have no doubt that we are making better, more exciting products as a result”
TONY TURNER, Director, Kingston Foods

“You know what you’re getting with Nellie – full on direct and honest input which is backed by years of experience”
ROB HOARE, Commercial Director, Greencore

“Nellie is demanding to work with, but she knows exactly what she wants. She is particularly attentive to detail, and she has the knowledge to correct and adjust. She is appreciative of good work, which makes one strive to product the best for her. On top of this, she is great to work with.”
ROGER STOWELL, Photographer

“Nellie has a charming assertiveness that gets the job done. She strives for nothing short of perfection and will not let anyone stand in her way of achieving it. I used to be scared of Nellie, but now I respect her brutal honesty. She’s only trying to make the world a tastier place and I for one am happy to jump on that bandwagon any day.”
SUSAN WATSON, Sales and Marketing Manager, Charcuterie Continental Ltd

“Nellie brought her wealth of food service, product development and commercial expertise to the Delifrance International Sandwich Challenge when she led our British judging panel and represented the UK on the panel of experts for our grand final in Paris. Without doubt she was a knowledgeable, decisive and formidable asset to our 2007 competition.”
IAN DOBBIE, Managing Director, Delifrance UK Ltd

“Over the past nine months working with Nellie has been an exciting, challenging rollercoaster ride which has led to a range of new exciting and unique products for Beacon Foods. It’s a journey we intend to continue.”
EDWARD GOUGH, Director, Beacon Foods

“Nellie is always a joy to work with. She finds a great balance between thought provoking discussion and practical application. Having worked with her in both large and small businesses it is obvious she has huge breadth and depth of experience.”
ANDREW SHANAHAN, Managing Director, Lovejuice

“Nellie knows food and the industry and has a strong feel for what will work. She is clear thinking and forthright and combines good ideas with an uncomplicated energetic and effective approach to making them happen.
She provided some much needed structure to de-clutter some of our thinking on innovation and has some great training tools to give people a better understanding of how to develop great products which integrate strong creative ideas with commercial considerations so you get something that makes money in the marketplace.”
LOCHLAIN FEELEY, Managing Director, Uniq Prepared Foods, Northampton

“I have worked with Nellie on many projects with many customers over the years. Her industry knowledge is second to none and the way she looks at a project is all encompassing. She challenges the boundaries of what is possible in order to achieve the desired outcome. I enjoy working with her on these challenges to help bring the project/product to market”
JAMES FAULKNER, Sales Director, Leathams

“After many years of admiring Nellie’s skills and passion as a supplier to Pret it was a very easy decision to utilise her skills to help us implement a new way of looking at NPD to deliver truly innovative products.
As always Nellie delivered with her straightforward, no nonsense approach, impressed all with her knowledge and inspired others to think differently and seek ideas in unusual places.”
TONY BROWN, Commercial Director, Bakehouse

“Nellie has bought uncompromising vision to help our company progress on the right path. Her experience, knowledge and know how in this industry has shown us other ways of being successful in a very demanding area. She is creative, passionate and has no barriers to hold back achievement. We thank her immensely for what she has done for our business.”
MARIE & SACH, Directors, The Genuine Cake Company

“Nellie’s knowledge of food is first class….the quality of products from The Really Delicious Food Company have been taken to a new level as a direct result of her hard work and undoubted experience. Customer satisfaction is at an all time high.”
WILLIE BIGGART, MD, The Really Delicious Food Co

“Nellie’s ability to step into a business, grasp what needs to be done, manage the process and make things happen is remarkable. In a short time she has had a huge impact. Her knowledge of the industry is unrivalled”
JAMES LEE FRENCH, Purchasing Director, Leon Restaurants

“You’ve tried the rest, now try the best.”
RAY BOAKES, Chief Executive, Southern Salads

“Nellie brings a unique dimension to not only product development but also to market analysis and strategy. Her vast knowledge and experience is a sound investment for any food business.  Working with Nellie is inspirational, challenging, rewarding, and a lot of fun.”
ANDREW BOAKES, MD, Southern Salads

“Like a lot of small businesses, we’d got stuck in our bad habits. Nellie helped us face them head on with at times painful honesty, tempered with good humour. You think ‘how could we have done it like that for so long?’ We feel a lot better for it now, particularly on the bottom line.”
RICK WELLS, Director and Founder, Fernandez and Wells

“Nellie has instinctual solutions to problems you thought you could never solve. Eye wateringly painful at times, but very rewarding and instantly beneficial to the company. She sieved out the imperfections in our ingredients, procurement and menu with relentless speed and attention to detail. The most fun I have had since we have been in business…I hugely look forward to ‘Nellie Days’.”
ALEX HEYNES, MD, Vital Ingredient

“Nellie’s professionalism, knowledge of food and talent ensures you will certainly never forget her. When you’ve met Nellie you’ll certainly never forget. Nellie combines flair, imagination and business acumen to produce effective results. It has been a pleasure to work with her. Nellie is at the top of the food circus!
JAMES ROBINS, Managing Director, Mustard Foods

“Nellie was creative, efficient, decisive and a real pleasure to work with – I have no hesitation in recommending her”
RAJ RUIA, Managing Director of Rhode Island Coffee 

(P.S. Some of you may have moved on to fresher pastures, but when we worked together this is where you were at that time.)