Henderson’s Relish, based in Sheffield, produces a unique spicy condiment that is available in major supermarkets, convenience stores and independent retailers nationwide.


The first batch of this famous relish was blended in 1885 by Henry Henderson. More than 130 years later, they are still a family business, blending in Sheffield to a secret recipe that only three family members know.

The challenge:

The challenge was to help Henderson’s understand the impact on its product when switching to a new supply of natural caramel colour. It was a technical challenge as caramel colours provide both flavour and colour to the mixture. This required specialist research and development know-how, expertise which Henderson’s did not have access to within the small family business. So they got in touch with us to help find a solution.

What we did

Through the Sheffield Innovation Programme, we put Henderson’s Relish in touch with our expert research consultants who have both academic and industrial backgrounds in food manufacturing, food processing technology and formulation.


By working closely with Henderson’s, including within a confidentiality agreement, the successful result has helped Henderson’s to create alternative technical specifications of its iconic Relish, without changing its ingredients. These specifications meet the requirements of a small number of export markets, and sales have grown accordingly.

The results

With support from the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering (NCEFE), the product was adapted to address the challenge and was approved by stakeholders at Henderson’s Relish. We’ve helped bridge the gap between industry and academia that has positively impacted their business, helping them export to new markets to continue to expand internationally.

“There was a time when an export enquiry for Henderson's Relish meant that someone had telephoned from outside South Yorkshire. These days we sell Henderson's Relish all around the world. To help us meet the needs of a small number of international markets we enlisted the support of Sheffield Hallam University's NCEFE, who delivered a first-class result for Henderson's Relish.”

Matt DaviesGeneral Manager, Henderson's Relish

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