Droitwich Salt Q&A
Droitwich Salt is an award-winning company with Worcestershire’s heritage at its core. We spoke to Will from Droitwich Salt to tell us more about the history of the business, and how it continues to innovate.
Please can you tell us a little bit about Droitwich Salt? How did it start?
My father-in-law, Mike Davies, became obsessed with Droitwich Salt and twisted my arm to help him get it up and running. We are both Droitwich boys and have a lot of passion for the locality and felt we needed to do more with the natural resource that is under our feet. Sadly, Mike passed away shortly after we started Droitwich Salt, but he was there at Ludlow Food Festival to see it launch.
Please can you tell us a little bit about the history of salt in Droitwich?
Bronze Age Man first discovered the salt and would have made use of it where it came to the surface from the brine springs. In Roman Times, our salt was used to pay the soldiers and it was traded over the empire. In 1215, King John granted Droitwich a Royal Charter because of the importance of the salt and in Medieval Times through to the early 20th Century the salt had international recognition. Sadly, the cost of production and transport from the heart of England together with the popular rise in fridges saw the salt industry decline in the 1920s and finally end in Droitwich.
What is the positive impact of Droitwich Salt within Worcestershire?
It is a natural resource that is on the shelves of food halls and delis throughout the country. In London you can walk into Selfridges or Harvey Nichols and buy a pack of pure white Droitwich Salt. It is putting the town on the map for its salt which is its heritage here in Worcestershire.
What is innovative about Droitwich Salt?
We crystallise the salt by using renewable energy. We use the sun in the summer and during the winter we use heat from our biomass boiler that burns sustainable wood chip. All our packaging is now plastic free.
How has Droitwich Salt changed and developed as a business over the years?
Droitwich Salt was a massive industry under the control of John Corbett during the 19th and early 20th century. Today we are a small artisan food producer taking a fraction of the brine that he used to take. We wish to remain as a small sustainable food producer.
With such a rich historical background, what does the word “innovation” mean to Droitwich Salt? How do you develop your products whilst remaining true to your heritage?
The innovation comes from using the renewable energy to make the salt and the process we use for crystalizing. Historically the volume of coal used to heat the furnaces that boiled the brine would not be sustainable today and we wanted to remain green and clean in production. Our packaging is totally plastic free and biodegradable. The ethos of pure natural salt within this green packaging fits very well for us and our customers. The heritage of the salt remains unchanged and we add nothing to it or take anything away from the salt as it crystallizes. The Droitwich Salt you eat today is the same as the salt the Romans enjoyed.
How can people find out more? (website, social media etc)
WINN brings innovators together, acting as a catalyst to create connections and collaborations across the diverse business landscape of Worcestershire.
Our belief is that great things can happen when people get together.
WINN is a Worcestershire Innovation Programme formed by Worcestershire County Council and the Worcestershire LEP