Young people given chance to produce pickle for Fortnum and Mason

Seven young people from an East End youth centre have been given the chance to launch a food brand to be sold at a famous department store.

The 16 to 18-year-olds from Osmani Youth Centre in Vallance Road, Bethnal Green, who are currently not in education or employment, took part in a training day to prepare them for pitching their own brand of pickle to Fortnum and Mason at London’s Piccadilly.

During their training they visited the department store for a behind-the-scenes tour with its managing director and a question and answer session with a senior buyer.

The group then moved to Sheraz Restaurant on Brick Lane for hands-on cookery sessions in the kitchen followed by a branding and design workshop run by design agency Sparks.

Participant Alamin al-Khayr said: “I am interested in advertising and wish to pursue a career in marketing and sales so this experience has been exceptional. I never thought before I would have this type of hands on creativity.”

The team will now develop their recipes and product design, as part of a four-month mentoring programme alongside former marketing executives from the Coca-Cola Company and PepsiCo International.

Pickle Project founder Matthew Pegler said: “The aim is to provide these young people with some first class commercial project experience that will be looked at favourably by future employers.

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“We are very privileged to have received the support of Fortnum and Mason but there are no guarantees- they will have to get their creative juices flowing, be organised and disciplined to make this project successful. The department store is known globally for its quality and they will not accept anything other than the very best.”

The pickle products will be sold to raise money for the Usmanpur Union Jonokollan Trust which supports development projects in Bangladesh.