Stephenson’s Win Big at the FPA Awards

Stephenson’s Win Big at the FPA Awards

Stockport based catering equipment supplier Stephensons have managed to overcome some fierce competition to be named 2018’s FPA Regional Distributor of the Year at the annual Foodservice Packaging Association’s Awards show in Brighton. 

Thursday 8th March saw the industry-renowned event take place, with the beautiful Grand Hotel Brighton playing host to a night of celebration and recognition for excellence in the food packaging industry. As stated by FPA chairman Howard Collier in his introductory speech, it’s been a year of immense analysis and adjustment for the industry. This was reflected by the FPA’s decision to consider sustainability and the environment as a fundamental part of their judging stipulations.

The annual event was hosted by comedian Rod Woodward and attended by over 400 people from throughout the food packaging industry. The awards were preceded by the FPA Exhibition in the afternoon, which showcased some of the innovative packaging and products that are helping to shape the industry. The main attraction of the event though was of course the awards show, and Stephensons were up for a big one — Regional Distributor of the Year!

The Regional Distributor of the Year award commends excellence in food packaging distribution, taking into account quality, variety, price and sustainability. Notably, the award is voted for by actual customers who are asked to give a detailed account of their supplier. So, all in all, it’s quite the prize.

Despite some very worthy entries, it was Stephensons who picked up the trophy on the night — much to the surprise and delight of attendees Henry Stephenson and Julian Lewis Booth.

Commenting on the win, managing director Henry Stephenson said, “Disposables and food packaging have become an integral aspect of our service over the last few years, so it’s an honour be recognised by an organisation like the FPA. With the whole of our industry currently looking towards sustainability and the environment, it really feels like a significant year to win. What makes it even more special is the fact that it’s our own customers who’ve had their say and I’d like to personally thank them for choosing Stephensons.”

2018 marks 150 years in business for Stephensons and this award adds to a year of celebration that will include the launch of a new website and the release of their most extensive catalogue ever at Northern Restaurant and Bar 18 in Manchester.

The Last Straw: How a Change to Paper Will Help Your Business and the Environment

The Last Straw: How a Change to Paper Will Help Your Business and the Environment

In the catering industry, straws are a pretty standard component of any establishment. From smoothies to shakes, punters tend to like a straw with a cold drink. The problem is though, these straws are most commonly made from plastic, which can take up to 500 years to break down. In fact, almost every single piece of plastic ever produced is still on the planet. Now, couple that information with the estimate that McDonalds customers in the UK alone throw away around 3.5 million straws daily and you can start to see the magnitude of the problem.

These straws don’t just go away, they unfortunately have to end up somewhere. And as we saw in the news a few years ago in the emotive video (Warning: Graphic content) of a turtle with a straw stuck in its nostril, that ‘somewhere’ often ends up being our oceans. In fact, plastic straws are listed amongst the Ocean Conservancy’s list of the top ten items found washed up on our beaches. Since that infamous turtle story, there have been more and more high-profile pieces that have highlighted the adverse affects of plastic in our ocean’s — notably a tragic scene in the most recent series of the BBC’s Blue Planet II where a mother blue whale continued to carry her dead calf across the ocean. As David Attenborough explained, the death was due to the toxicity of plastic waste in the ocean.

This continuing ‘bad press’ regarding the use of plastic and in particular single-use straws has resulted in many consumers expecting businesses to take an eco-friendly approach and stock sustainable, safe straws. In a direct response, some of the behemoths of different industries have already pledged to scrap the plastic straw including JD Wetherspoons, Diageo, Bacardi and fine dining group D&D London. It is inevitable that more brands and companies are set to join these names and ditch the straw. This means that if establishments do want to make straws available (which as an integral part of many drinks services and cocktail creations seems a wise move) they’ll need an eco-conscious alternative. There will be many customers who expect this, because as well all know — it’s not that easy to sip a milkshake!

Fortunately, Stephensons have just the solution with a new range of environmentally friendly paper straws that look the part and most importantly do the job. And rest assured that the effortless switch to a sustainable straw will have a huge impact — both on customer’s perception of your business and crucially on the continued future of our fragile ecosystem.

Eco-Friendly Black Paper Straw

These eco-friendly straws are made from a food grade paper that is fully recyclable, compostable and biodegradable.

With a 6mm bore and a stylish black finish, these versatile straws don’t look any different to their dangerous plastic counterparts and will suit a wide range of beverages from milkshakes to cocktails. Unlike other similar options, these paper straws are surprisingly strong and also very cost-effective — making it easier than ever to be eco-conscious.

Helping you save the environment, one straw at a time.

More colours available here!

2017 Stephensons Christmas & New Year Opening Times

2017 Stephensons Christmas & New Year Opening Times

Christmas is the most frantic time of year for the catering and hospitality industry as families, friends and colleagues get together to celebrate the festive period.

To help you through these busy weeks, here are our 2017 Christmas & New Year opening times. All Stephensons departments will be open during theses hours to ensure we offer excellent service and products when you need them the most!

We are open till the 23rd December, which will then be followed by 3 days of closure from Christmas Eve to Tuesday 26th December. After this, we’ll open for 4 days between Christmas and New Year (27th, 28th, 29th, 30th).

We are then closed on New Year’s Eve & New Year’s Day before reopening our doors for regular hours on Tuesday 2nd January 2018.

As usual, we will dispatch all deliveries as complete as possible before Christmas (or your requested date). For delivery before Christmas, final orders need to be made before 3pm on Thursday 21st December (for Fri 22nd arrival). If you’re still in need of items after this date, the cash & carry will be open till the 23rd December and should be able to meet your requirements. In the unlikely event that any delivery proves infeasible, we will make contact at the earliest opportunity to make alternative arrangements.

If you are based in the North West, our Cash & Carry in Stockport will also be open during these times. If you are in a rush and cannot wait for delivery, please visit us at Kennerley Works (SK2 6EQ).

For any further Christmas enquiries, please contact Customer Services on 0161 4836256.

Lastly, all the staff at Stephensons would like to wish you a fantastic Christmas and thank you for your custom over the past 12 months. We look forward to continued success with you in 2018!

The History of the Christmas Cracker

The History of the Christmas Cracker

For the UK, and a number of other countries across the globe – namely Ireland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand – Christmas crackers are as much a staple part of tradition as the tree or the turkey. It’s difficult to imagine the festive period without the snap of crackers round a table that then bestow upon us the questionably humorous jokes, the colourful paper hats and the little prizes.

So, where does this custom of present-filled, ‘cracking’ cardboard actually come from? To find out, we have to go all the way back to Victorian Britain. Tradition tells that in 1847, London confectioner Tom Smith decided to start adding mottos to his almond bon-bons after being inspired by brightly wrapped versions of the sweet he had seen in France. His initial concept was to wrap the sweets in a coloured paper twist and include a motto or a riddle for his customers to enjoy. These sold well around the festive period, but before long sales of the sweet started to dwindle and Smith found himself having to devise some new-fangled promotional ideas.

The first tactic of his was to capitalise on the idea of sweets as gifts, and so he started to include short love poems and messages in the wrappers of his confectionary. Next up, came the famous noise. Stories suggest that the idea for the ‘bang’ came to Smith one night as he was adding kindling to his fire. It’s said that when Smith added a large log to the flames, he was enticed by the crackles and sparks forming in the fireplace and thought how fun it would be if sweets or toys could make a noise when they opened.

To implement his new idea, Tom Smith started to produce a larger paper package that could incorporate an explosive element. Utilising the friction-activated chemical of silver fulminate, which was discovered by Edward Charles Howard in 1800, Smith had found himself a satisfying bang for his products.

The addition of the bang proved to be an instant success and sales came flooding in. With this rapidly growing popularity, the product was further developed and the bon-bon name was dropped in favour of a new title — The Cosaque. The sweets inside were also replaced with small gifts/presents. The name is believed to have come from the Cossack soldiers, who were notorious for their gun blazing horse riding.

Before long, the onomatopoeic name, ‘cracker’ became commonplace and the product became synonymous with the festive period for its small trinkets and novelty value.

Tom Smith sadly passed away in 1869, and the business was left in the ownership of his three sons, Henry, Tom and Walter. The next generation of the Smith family proceeded to transform the cracker into the modern equivalent of the product we know and love today. Walter Smith, Tom’s youngest, replaced the love verses with more topical notes, which then went on to become jokes and riddles as we are familiar with presently. It was also Walter’s idea to include the now customary paper crown hat, a choice some suggest was inspired by the Twelfth Night celebrations where a King or Queen would be present to oversee the festivities.

So there you go, the tale of the Christmas cracker all the way from sweets and love messages, to the noise-making cardboard tube we know today. As time has gone on, patterned designs have become popular, certain presents have become seemingly indispensible (nail clippers anyone?) and the jokes have inconceivably weathered the test of time. But, would we really have it any other way? After all, it wouldn’t be Christmas without a cracker would it?


Crackers pulled a year in the UK

Longest cracker pulling chain in Barnes, London (10/12/15)

Average number of crackers pulled annually by each Briton

Churchill Autumn Additions Now In Our Showroom and Online!

Churchill Autumn Additions Now In Our Showroom and Online!

For many, autumn means brown leaves and shorter days. Despite this, there is some cheerfulness to be found because the change in the seasons has also signalled the release of Churchill’s new Autumn 17 range. Read on for the lowdown on these exciting new items!

In line with the continuing revival of studio pottery, the Raku collection celebrates the heritage of traditional glazing techniques. A stylish Agate Grey tone is the latest colour addition to this already popular collection. There is also a brand spanking new range of six oblong plates in three key sizes, and these are available in Topaz Blue and Quartz Black.

Raku Studio Prints Agate Grey

Find Raku Agate Grey Here!

Hints is an exciting new collection from the Stonecast range. The concept for the Hints range is motivated by those who like the rustic Stonecast look, but would prefer it with a splash of colour. Stonecast Hints is hand decorated with a fine coloured speckle, the same speckle colour is hand applied to the edge to create a stippled band, achieving a rustic finish.

The Bamboo range has been given a colourful twist with the arrival of two new feature colours – Dusk and Mist. The two tones are inspired by the shades of the landscape and they make exciting new complementary additions to this series of durable yet elegant tableware.

Cool Slate Blue is a new colour within the Homespun collection. This shade works to create a stunning dark canvas for showcasing a range of cuisines, and it is available in a range of core shapes and sizes to suit your dining needs. The Homespun design is essentially a blending of contemporary sophistication with fond nostalgia.

Homespun Slate Blue

View the extensive range!

The new additions to the Vintage Prints range are ideal to incorporate with the existing items in the range, to add colour and pattern to traditional whitewear or for mixing eclectically with Stonecast and Studio Prints collections. The trend for vintage chic is very much in the fashion spotlight and this range typifies this popular aesthetic.

Stonecast is an exciting collection of rustic and hand decorated products inspired by the changing seasons and fresh ingredients. Stonecast is hand decorated with a fine speckle and rustic edge in a rich golden brown. Bringing rustic charm to cookware, this range available in Barley White. The seven new cookware items are designed to complement all existing Stonecast ranges – HintsColours and Patina. They are also ideal for mixing and matching with other Churchill collections.

Stonecast Cookware

7 New Barley White Items Here!

From the Churchill Alchemy Buffet range comes Melamine Trace – a versatile, strong and practical collection of serving bowls that feature an alluring, rounded shape. This collection is based upon the twin combination of handsome aesthetics and trustable durability. The Melamine Trace comes in two distinct finishes. The matt white provides an understated-yet-stylish palette for exciting food presentation whereas the speckled granite grey finish makes for a contemporary take on the serving bowl.

Melamine Trace Bowls

Alchemy Additions Arrive!

These New Churchill Items Are Now On Display In The Stephenson’s Showroom!

Visit our Showroom

To see the new Churchill items!

Stephenson's Showroom

All of the new Autumn 17 Churchill items are available to view in our Stephenson’s showroom and one of our experienced advisors will be more than happy to show you the range and talk you through the best options and combinations to suit your needs. A visit to the largest cash & carry showroom in the North is more than worth your time!

We’re located on the A6 road and our address is:

Kennerley Works, 161 Buxton Rd, Stockport SK2 6EQ.

Our opening times are:



Opening Times:

Monday 9am – 5:30pm
Tuesday 9am – 5:30pm
Wednesday 9am – 5:30pm
Thursday 9am – 5:30pm
Friday 9am – 5:30pm
Saturday 9:30am – 3pm
Sunday Closed