Healthy reasons why the oil to choose is Mr Hugh’s

For the first time in decades, sales of olive oil in the UK are falling and it’s largely because health-conscious people are looking for local-grown alternatives. We visit Mr Hugh’s at Fincham to discover what makes rapeseed oil so special...

The home of Mr Hugh’s is Hall Farm, Fincham, which is a traditional farm covering some 4,000 acres growing the crops typical of the local area. Here, Hugh Mason – the natural origin of the Mr Hugh’s brand name – is dedicated to producing a range of high-quality cold pressed rapeseed oils that offer health benefits to the customer, the environment, and for society – both locally and further afield.

Today, consumers have a blistering range of foods on offer, but it’s commonly accepted and generally agreed that ‘home-cooked’ food is a much healthier option than pre-prepared and packaged options. Living in the beautiful area that we do, we have some of the widest choices of ingredients anywhere in the country from vegetables to fish and seafood to meat. And to bring all these ingredients together, an oil of some sort is needed.

And while you may be tempted to reach for your usual choice, it’s worth noting that Mr Hugh’s rapeseed oils contain half the saturates of olive oil and ten times the Omega 3 – meaning his range of salad dressings gives a much healthier and lighter option to the traditional French and Italian offerings.

Because of the Omega 9 properties, Mr Hugh’s oil can be heated to some

60°C higher than olive oil. The good news for lovers of chips is that this results in crispier food which has absorbed less oil whilst cooking.

A growing area of Hugh’s business is his infused range of oil for cakes, which replaces butter on a one-for-one ratio. It contains 80% less saturated fat than butter, but used in the same way as butter it results in a cake that’s healthier and lasts longer.

And addressing our enduring love for curries, Mr Hugh’s even offers a replacement for ghee through use of the newly launched ‘World Tour’ range.

Finally, for those counting calories as part of a calorie-controlled diet, Mr Hugh’s can be bought as a spray version – which competes directly with other ‘one-cal’ products.

These are healthy products for the customer, but they’re also healthier for the environment in which we live. Hugh’s family have lived and worked in the area for some 300 years – and the farm is given every bit as much attention and care as the oils which it produces.

Currently work is concentrating on addressing concerns about the impact of climate change – which affects all of us and is likely to increase in the future. This includes maintaining very low ‘food miles’ for the consumer; in fact, a mere 23 yards from farm to factory – although it’s a store rather than a factory!

Mr Hugh’s oils also have environmental credentials when it comes to packaging; the oils are only available in glass bottles, which can be recycled – unlike plastic. Bees are more than welcome to join the enterprise too; at the moment, there are around 120 hives based on the farm. As you can imagine, it can be a bit buzzy when the farm is flowering! An exciting new initiative is being launched in the summer, but Mr Hugh’s is keeping that a secret for the time being.

Health comes in many different shapes and guises, and Mr Hugh’s range of oils certainly offers a healthier option than the more familiar alternatives.

Hugh Mason firmly believes that education forms part of this, and the farm does this directly by encouraging visits to the farm and factory. School visits, meetings with local interest groups such as WI and sports clubs, food shows, competitions and the company website – all play a part in educating people about the healthier choice of Mr Hugh’s.

The company even has its own charity – Moth in a China Shop –which provides sport and nutritional awareness in areas where these issues are still not fully appreciated. The charity also helps provide specialised equipment to aid children and young adults into sports. The business has also supported local charity The Norfolk Hospice as well as several further afield including the Papworth Trust and Addenbrookes Charitable Trust – and has also supported fundraising events such as a recent Breast Cancer Appeal.

As Mr Hugh’s continues to prove, you don’t have to travel very far to eat healthily and well – it’s available on your doorstep. Mr Hugh’s is a local business, but it’s a lot more than just an oil!

Mr Hugh’s oils are available in Tesco, Asda and independent retailers nationwide. For more details, see www.mrhughs.co.uk.

For details on the company’s charity, see www.mothinachinashop.co.uk

This feature originally appeared in the Special Food Edition 2018 of KL magazine

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