GRANDAD'S secret recipe is proving to be an appetising offer for foodies and investors alike who are keen to support a family-run business in the food industry.

Married couple Andrew and Anne-Marie Calder struck lucky when they unearthed a long-forgotten list of ingredients and the method to make Grandad Charlie's piccalilli, which they tried out on family and friends.

Dedication to perfect their produce and build a business saw the pair launch Calder's Kitchen in Darlington three years ago, combining their experience in sales and customer service.

Their traditional piccalilli has since been joined by their own 'chillilli' and the extra spicy 'sillylilli'. The popular product is currently on sale in 65 retail outlets in artisan grocers, butchers, farm shops, food festivals, cafes and restaurants, largely across the North-East.

However, with the Calder's looking to expand their reach further afield, investors were keen to step forward to support the brand.

UK Steel Enterprise, the Tata Steel business support subsidiary, has provided a £7,500 loan from its Regeneration Fund to help Calder’s Kitchen develop its online selling, packaging and social media.

“We had been looking for support and an injection of cash,” said Mr Calder. "The help came at exactly the right time. Everyone has been so helpful and we have already recommended UK Steel Enterprise to other businesses.

"It is a very busy time for us as we have a young family too but we are delighted with the way the business has grown and I’m sure Grandad Charlie would be too.”

Calder’s Kitchen is expected to reach 100 outlets by spring, doubling again later this year nationally. Their range is also sold through wholesale outlets and online.

Peter Taylor of UK Steel Enterprise said: “Businesses in their early stages can find it difficult to raise a relatively small amount of money that, nevertheless, is vital at that time.

"We were impressed not only by Grandad Charlie’s recipe but also by the progress Calder’s Kitchen has made to date.”

Mr Calder added: "We will be creating two jobs in sales and administration that will help boost our UK growth and are looking at export too with North America, Asia, Europe and South Africa all potential areas for us.

“We hope to announce a contract with a major food manufacturer very soon that involves providing two of our lines for a new product and are in talks with a leading supermarket and a national wholesale distributor.

"If this progress continues we expect to be looking for premises and further investment in the near future."