Last Updated on July 4, 2021 by Fiona Maclean
Artisan Food from your Laptop.
If you like supporting artisan producers but struggle to find a good way to source the producers you are looking for, Melted Inside might just be for you. It’s a virtual food market, with independent food and drink makers all able to set out their wares online, just as they would at a farmers’ market. Founder Candy Bowles set up the business when she realised just how hard it was to find out about the great food and drink options.
You’ll find literally hundreds of artisan producers, ranging from husband and wife teams through to larger, well established producers like Birchill Teas and Womersley foods. There’s a map function to let you find producers who are close to you. Most, though not all, are UK producers too. Some I know already – like The French Comte Company who have a stall at Borough Market. Others are completely new finds for me, despite being right on my doorstep, like Camellios teas who are based just across the river in Pimlico.
There’s everything from plant based cheese to delicious chocolates and handmade sweets. I was lucky enough to try some of the Ananda Foods marshmallows – vegan, gluten and nut free, but you really wouldn’t be able to tell. In 2008, Amanda, the maker, was searching for gelatine free marshmallows for her children, could only find some on sale by an American company and so decided to make some herself. They were were so popular that the maker quit her ‘day job’ in order to focus on making them. The marshmallows are still made by hand in small batches, using only the finest ingredients; natural flavours, vegetable colourants and real fruit powders.
What I liked best about MeltedInside was that every product is carefully explained – and each one has a link back to the maker where you can learn more about the background to the product itself.
Candy’s aim is to help shoppers discover more artisan foods while also facilitating sales for the makers themselves. She said
From our research we know there are many independent artisan food and drinks makers who struggle to reach the shelves of supermarket and shops, so I thought to myself there has got to be a better way and I decided to do something about it. Melted Inside aims to make it enjoyable for shoppers to buy from these passionate producers and makes it easier for the artisan makers to engage with more customers and share their incredible stories. I strongly believe that we should all know where our food comes from, who makes it and how it is made. Provenance matters to people more than ever and passionately made, delicious food deserves to be discovered and appreciated wherever you are.”
Launched during lockdown, Melted Inside aimed to create a platform that enabled people stuck at home to explore the kind of products they might normally find at a food festival or farmers’ market. Because it’s nationwide, you can expore regional foods too. How about Scottish ‘hot toddy honey’ from the Edinburgh Honey Company. Or, preserves from Little Grandma’s Kitchen in St Clears, Carmarthenshire. It’s worth noting that each of the stalls have their own delivery charge rate.
It’s a dream if you have any kind of dietary needs too. Search for Vegan and you’ll find 344 entries, including the truly delicious, ethical, organic and peanut free Chocolate Haz Braz (kind of like Nutella but nicer in all senses!). Or vegan bonbons from The Painted Peacock – every bit as delicious as any top chocolatier. Try gluten-free and you’ll find everything from brownies and muffins to gluten free batter mixes.
Not without challenges, Candy describes piloting a new marketplace during the lockdown as “a leap of faith, to put it mildly”.
“Working with the artisan makers is proving a wonderful experience. Their passion and commitment to what they do is simply inspiring and humbling. This realisation helps me appreciate what they make even more and the stories of many of our makers are just fascinating,” she added.
Melted Inside is a member of the Good Market community – a curated platform that makes it easier to find and connect with social enterprises, responsible businesses and changemakers who are creating a better world.