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On 30 June 2023, it is National Cream Tea Day. Organised by Rodda’s Cream with Wilkin & Sons Tiptree, the day encourages people to get together over a cream tea and raise money for charity.
We caught up with Nick Rodda to find out more about the initiative and to highlight their success whilst celebrating 133 years of great Cornish clotted cream.
Now entering the sixth generation of the business, the Rodda family have been mastering the art of dairy production, and perfecting the taste of clotted cream, in the heart of Cornwall since 1890.
Whether it’s the Cornish way of jam first, or the Devon way with cream first, cream teas are a staple British food experience we share with others time and time again throughout our lives.
“The classic taste of crumbly scone, sweet jam and clotted cream instantly transports us to other special occasions and times spent with family and friends”, says Nick.
So, how did the concept of National Cream Tea Day come to fruition?
In 2015, the Cream Tea Society, an organisation that partners Tiptree and Rodda’s, created National Cream Tea Day. The Cream Tea Society hosts tea parties and events every year to teach people proper English etiquette accompanied by eating scones and drinking tea. Each event throughout the year raises money for charity. National Cream Tea Day unites all the causes together as the ultimate celebration.
One with the family
Any family business endeavour is commendable, but six generations of success is something to be extremely proud of. How has the Rodda family managed to distinguish their home-life and work-life without the two infringing on one another?
Nick tells us that the lines between work-life and home-life are very blurred when working in family business. Finding the right balance is difficult. There are many opportunities and challenges where there is no right or wrong answer.
“I regularly find myself mulling over business opportunities or strategies when I’m mowing the lawn or walking the dog on the weekend. That’s just part of the job!”
As the business continues to grow, the next generation carries the additional pressure to prove themselves. However, they are fortunate to have the retired directors at hand to give friendly advice and support, providing three generations of knowledge.
It is important to note that Rodda’s are a B-Corp certified business. They stay dedicated to their environmental and social commitments – from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials.
The B-Corp accreditation process put a spotlight on everyone at Rodda’s. Nick says, “it’s the dedication of our staff that is the real magic ingredient, and why it’s so important to invest in them for the sustainability of the business.”
Going forward, the business has the ambition to reduce their impact far beyond industry targets. Rodda’s are currently working on a project with their farmers to explore ways to reduce their environmental impact and share their best practices within the group.
“I want the business to be off the grid for all its energy.”
Overcoming the challenges
Everybody has had a tough time with the pandemic and the economic shocks of the last 18 months.
“In my 35 years in business, I have never experienced so much uncertainty and flux and I feel we will be living this for some time to come,” says Nick.
The high level of uncertainty puts a brake on investment with high interest rates (relative to the 10-15 years). There is also a lack of resource of skilled personnel to help grow and develop the business.
“I see so much potential here in Cornwall and am frustrated that these opportunities may be hampered, and Cornish talent will miss out.”
There have been so many great achievements over the years. It is difficult to highlight one between serving on the last flight of the Concord, to Wimbledon, and at royal weddings.
“Our biggest accolade is how loved Rodda’s Cream is and is a central role in so many family occasions, from Christmas to those wonderful holiday memories here in the west country.
“Deciding to recruit our own Direct Milk Supply Group was a huge leap of faith for both the business and the farmers who would sign up and supply us with their lovely Cornish milk. I feel very humbled that the final 45 farmers chose to sign up to be part of Rodda’s future, believing in Rodda’s Cream and its business values and vision.”
PKF Francis Clark
Finally, we asked Nick what Rodda’s enjoy most about working with PKF Francis Clark:
“We have worked with Francis Clark for many years, from Andrew Allen to Scott Bentley and Nicola Cornish. Beyond the statutory accounts and audit process, they have been a great resource to help the business navigate the problems as they present. It is so reassuring to know you can pick up the phone and chat through an issue with someone you can trust but, most importantly, respect their opinion and advice as they understand your business. Over the years they have really added value to Rodda’s and been a part of our success story.”
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