Andrew Bluett-Duncan

Company report, and the return of the silicone lid

12 MARCH 2022

Andrew Bluett-Duncan

Director 

Riedel Delivery

I’ve got a treat or two for you this week, in terms of new products that have just arrived, but before I get to this, Wednesday last week was our company meeting, the first one in two years, the last one having been 4 weeks before lockdown, in March 2020. It was a very good meeting, partly because, in the intervening two years we’ve sadly lost a few people, and therefore found new people to take their place, so this was the first occasion for everyone to meet everyone. In addition, I had the considerable pleasure to be able to report record profits for the last two years, which has enabled us to do some much needed investment in ourselves, in our systems, and in general maintenance work around the place.

We replaced, or are in process of repairing two roofs, in Reigate and in Cobham, we bought a new EPOS stock control system, new flooring in Cobham, along with a refit of their kitchen upstairs and replacement shelves in the shop. We’ve decked out the back of Banstead to make it easier to work in and put up a large shed, for just empty boxes, and made a number of alterations inside. 

Having said this, the reality of this uplift in profit is that government grants and the furlough scheme have provided the lion’s share, because whilst the shops were shut their overheads were covered by these two handouts from the chancellor and we had the huge benefit of the websites, that were still operating, at much higher sales levels than usual because all the shops in the country were closed and because so many people wanted to invest in good quality cookware. So, thank you for spending your hard earned cash with us, the uplift in sales has been a huge help to us as a business.

And actually, there is one more thing that we’ve changed and that is salaries. Until now we have typically paid just a little over the minimum wage rate ,for most of our people. We have now moved to the Living Wage rate for outside London, which is a decided improvement, of around 8%, which puts our rates up with some of the large supermarkets, such as Sainsburys and Tesco and if this year continues the trend, then our aim will be to add a proportion of London Weighting to this, to reflect the cost of living in Surrey. On a salary basis this would put us close to one of the best employers in the retail business, which, you may be surprised to hear is, Costco!

Talking of the chancellor and his generosity, all this profit comes with the responsibility of paying our way and supporting the society in which we live, by paying tax of course. Ever since reading Julian Richer’s book (he of Richer Sounds, the Hi Fi chain) back in the late 90’s I’ve been all the more convinced of the reality that we all need to be “paying unto Caesar, what is Caesar's” including paying what sometimes feels like huge amounts to the chancellor, of our hard earned cash. And this is made worse from time to time when it’s reported that companies, such as Amazon and Starbucks to name but two, appear to get away with minute contributions to the exchequer. However, when we did receive the grants to pay our rents, rates and could claim furlough contributions (which we did for just over half our people, who were not involved with the websites) I began to feel that we were at last getting some payback, for our contributions over the years. In fact, of course we’d had them all along. When I recall the care lavished on us as a family, and on Babette in particular, by various branches of the NHS over the last nine years, then this puts our tax contributions into some perspective!

So, I was proud to tell everyone that we, as a company (about 20 of us) through corporation tax and as individuals, (income tax and NI contributions) this year, had paid well in excess of £100,000. To put this into an everyday sort of context, it means we have either paid for 3 or 4 nurses wages, or more prosaically, about 5 metres of Motorway!

I think that this is a great result, and one that I’m very proud of!

So, onto product

Back in 2013, Charles Viancin invented the self-sealing silicone lid. And, if by chance, they, as a phenomenon, have passed you by, then they are silicone lids of varying sizes that will cover a salad bowl, a frying pan, a saucepan or casserole, a dish in the fridge, a dish in the microwave, even a dish in a conventional oven. What’s more, if the dish you want to cover has a smooth edge to it the lid will provide an airtight seal and so keep heat in or flies out. Very simple idea and a very clever one.

For quite a number of years these were terrific sellers for us, and rightly so, their uses are many and they don’t wear out and they often replace Cling Film or Foil and, being made of silica (sand) they are also pretty “Green”. An all-round great product. All good things come to an end, apparently, and so with passage of time the novelty has worn off and perhaps many now have a selection of them at home as we do*. So anyway, the importer stopped bringing them in. End of story.


Zeal Self Sealing Lids

Well, end of story until I was reminded that my chums at CKS had copied them, in the process making them look remarkably like a Le Cresuet product(!) i.e. smart and trendy and hey presto they’re back. Marketed under their sub brand, Zeal, there are 4 sizes of lid for the most part in three different colours, Blue, Red and Green. Like their Viancin forebears they have a polished finish on the underside which is key to getting a good seal (when appropriate) on salad bowls, when it will seal so well that you can actually pick up the whole bowl by the lid!

So, a great product and one that I am very pleased to be able to talk about again. Four sizes in three colours prices from £8.99 to £19.00. For an offer please see below


Zeal Self Sealing Silicone Lid

Zeal Self Sealing Silicone Lid

The Zeal Self Sealing Silicone Lid is an absolute must in the kitchen, this classic design is not only kinder to the environment, it will save you money too. Use as an eco-alternative to single use cling film or tin foil, they can be washed and reused again and again. The vacuum suction creates an airtight seal to keep foods fresh at both hot and cold temperatures, so can be used on the hob or on the fridge.
View Details

Zeal: 3 other items

Whilst I’m on the topic of Zeal ,there’s three other products under the brand name that are relatively new to us.

  • A pair of mini tongs, that are good for picking up small things, Olives, Sugar cubes, Sushi, for instance. They are lockable and have silicone “hands” that won’t harm any surface they come into contact with. Wee and pretty irresistible at £5.99.
  • A silicone spatula with a wooden handle. Nothing remarkable about that you might think, except finding a spatula these days without a silicon or plastic handle is pretty rare. This has real wood!
  • And lastly, an Egg Ring that is round, not some fancy shape! Maybe I’m now going to rather spoil it and ask, “why would you want an egg ring in the first place?” Just picture instead, getting your frying pan really hot, adding a little oil, breaking an egg into it and letting it cover as much of the pan as it wants to. Watch it whilst the yolk cooks and the white goes a lovely golden-brown colour on the underside. Salt and pepper… imagine how tasty that caramelised egg white is now going to be. Then compare this with the miserable, but neat looking thing you will get out of an egg ring…! So if I haven’t put you off… Zeal Perfect Egg Ring £7.00…apparently they are very popular!

Strange.

Zeal Handy Mini Tongs (6758936936506)
Zeal Handy Mini Tongs (6758936936506)
Zeal Handy Mini Tongs (6758936936506)
Zeal Handy Mini Tongs (6758936936506)
Zeal Handy Mini Tongs (6758936936506)
Zeal Handy Mini Tongs (6758936936506)

Zeal Handy Mini Tongs

£5.99
View Details
Zeal Silicone Spatula with Wooden Handle (6758960529466)
Zeal Silicone Spatula with Wooden Handle (6758960529466)
Zeal Silicone Spatula with Wooden Handle (6758960529466)
Zeal Silicone Spatula with Wooden Handle (6758960529466)
Zeal Silicone Spatula with Wooden Handle (6758960529466)
Zeal Silicone Spatula with Wooden Handle (6758960529466)
Zeal Silicone Spatula with Wooden Handle (6758960529466)
Zeal Silicone Spatula with Wooden Handle (6758960529466)

Zeal Silicone Spatula with Wooden Handle

£7.00
View Details
Zeal Perfect Eggs Silicone Egg Ring Assorted Colours (6758950174778)
Zeal Perfect Eggs Silicone Egg Ring Assorted Colours (6758950174778)
Zeal Perfect Eggs Silicone Egg Ring Assorted Colours (6758950174778)
Zeal Perfect Eggs Silicone Egg Ring Assorted Colours (6758950174778)
Zeal Perfect Eggs Silicone Egg Ring Assorted Colours (6758950174778)
Zeal Perfect Eggs Silicone Egg Ring Assorted Colours (6758950174778)
Zeal Perfect Eggs Silicone Egg Ring Assorted Colours (6758950174778)
Zeal Perfect Eggs Silicone Egg Ring Assorted Colours (6758950174778)
Zeal Perfect Eggs Silicone Egg Ring Assorted Colours (6758950174778)
Zeal Perfect Eggs Silicone Egg Ring Assorted Colours (6758950174778)

Zeal Perfect Eggs Silicone Egg Ring Assorted Colours

£7.00
View Details

Koziol 3 piece Cutlery Set

Lastly ,we had in our first Koziol item this week. The imaginatively named “Koziol 3 piece cutlery set”, is really an upmarket picnic or school/work place cutlery set with a difference. Just look at the neat interlocking piece of cutlery in photo 1 and then marvel at how it's becomes a knife a fork and a spoon in photo 3 . If you don’t find it fascinating and really quite impossible to not buy one, you and I see things differently. Quite wonderful and only £9.95 for all this. Incidentally, I’ve just come off the phone from the ever genial Marc at Haus (the importer) who tells me it has wood fibre in the plastic to give it texture, he also mentioned that they are unbreakable…even more of a masterpiece and a bargain.

Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours (6758898794554)
Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours (6758898794554)
Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours (6758898794554)
Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours (6758898794554)
Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours (6758898794554)
Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours (6758898794554)
Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours (6758898794554)
Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours (6758898794554)
Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours (6758898794554)
Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours (6758898794554)
Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours (6758898794554)
Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours (6758898794554)

Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set Assorted Colours

£9.95

This Koziol Cutlery 3 Piece Set of go-anywhere, clip-together utensils is perfect for outdoor lunch breaks, picnics ...

These organic "plastic" cutlery items (fork, knife and spoon) fit together and clip into place so as not to take up space in your bag, making them easy to carry.

London designer Cairn Young has been fascinated for years by the work of Japanese carpenters and woodworkers. Through a clever process of cuts and assembly, the pieces fit together perfectly, without drilling or nailing. Cairn has developed a real obsession for fitting and assembling objects together in an aesthetic, intelligent way. It's a combination of geometry and symmetry that always results in a great product.

These items are made of organic plastic that combines all the advantages of plastic with the properties of natural cellulose: eco-friendly, food-safe, 100% recyclable, totally free of harmful substances, with no formaldehyde or BPA.

* Please note this product comes in assorted colours (grey, green and pink) - if you would like a specific colour please contact us. If not we shall chose a colour at random on your behalf.

View Details

Buy any two pieces of the above items, Zeal or Koziol and we’ll take 20% off your bill. Use code ZEALKOZ20 if you are buying on the website. Tell us who you are if coming into Reigate, Cobham or Banstead.

Well, I’m spending my Saturday day, at a Messiah Workshop (Handel’s one, in case you feel I'm getting delusions of grandeur, not competing with Jesus or Brian) in preparation for our (Phoenix Choir) performance at the Hawth on Saturday 2nd April at 7.30pm. In the evening I'm going round to do a little light DIY for some friends to be rewarded after with supper! Does life get any better? In this particular household, I can also rely on the wine being French and from one side or other of the Garonne and served in the correct glass.

Answer? No it doesn’t (get any better).

That’s it for this week.

I hope you have a pleasant and peaceful weekend.

Kind regards

Andrew
 

Andrew Bluett-Duncan Director

*we have 7 or 8 of them, I think and we use them occasionally on a frying pan but more usually to cover something in the microwave and when I’m BBQing in the summer, I keep the sausages, that I cook first warm in a dish covered with a Viancin lid, and use another to cover the salad bowl to keep the wasps out.



Leave a comment