Apprentice winner Alana Spencer was, in her personal phrases, “completely mortified” when Meals Requirements Company officers ordered her to recall truffles and bars over labelling inaccuracies earlier this week.
In her first interview because the FSA issued its well being warning, Alana, from Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, tells how she has coped with the disaster and what her mentor and enterprise associate Lord Sugar needed to say about it.
“It has been a hell of every week,” Alana says with a heavy sigh.
“I really feel horrible as a result of I do know I’ve let my clients down, I’ve let Lord Sugar down and, worst of all, I’ve let myself down.”
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She is sitting in her publicist’s workplace in central London, whereas 200 miles down the M4, in Cross Fingers, Carmarthenshire, 45,000 of her merchandise are rolling off the manufacturing line every week underneath her Ridiculously Wealthy by Alana model.
Alana’s enterprise has come a great distance since this time final yr when she and her boyfriend have been baking truffles in her mom’s kitchen in Aberystwyth to promote from market stalls at weekends.
Success for her enterprise appeared assured when, in December 2016, she received the 12th collection of BBC actuality present The Apprentice, which got here with a £250,000 funding and a 50/50 enterprise partnership with Lord Sugar.
However an e mail from her native Buying and selling Requirements officer threatened to convey all of it crashing down.
“I used to be at residence early within the morning studying emails and there was one from this Buying and selling Requirements officer telling me he’d purchased a field of my merchandise on-line and there was a labelling concern which wanted to be corrected instantly,” mentioned Alana.
The matter was reported to the FSA who instantly issued a well being warning on seven of the eight merchandise offered by her firm all through the UK.
The warning associated to allergens not listed on meals labelling and others “not appropriately declared”.
Alana insists the incorrect labelling solely utilized to merchandise offered on-line, however the FSA web site makes no such distinction.
However, she added: “No excuses, this was 100% a mistake. It ought to by no means have occurred and I’m really sorry that it did. I am completely mortified.”
However how did she break the information to the generally volcanic Lord Sugar?
“He was not pleased, clearly, however in the event you’re trustworthy with him, inform him what’s gone improper and what you are doing to make sure it would not occur once more, he’ll help you.
“Initially, I despatched him an e mail to clarify however he phoned me right away and requested, ‘Is it sorted?’.
“Then he gave me an inventory of issues I wanted to do and on the finish of the dialog, he mentioned, ‘Okay Alana, don’t let it occur once more. Now transfer on.’
“The labels are all right now and we’re recruiting a meals technologist to care for this facet of the enterprise sooner or later.”
This new recruit shall be solely the fourth member of employees at her firm, becoming a member of Alana, her boyfriend and a detailed pal who’re at the moment the one members of employees.
“We have outsourced our manufacturing in Carmarthenshire, Lord Sugar’s crew deal with accounts and us three care for the remaining at our base in Ceredigion,” she mentioned.
“In two or three years that may change as a result of I hope to convey manufacturing again in-house. I’ve hardly touched the £250,000 I received as a result of that shall be wanted then to purchase gear.
“It has been a whirlwind yr and plenty of onerous work, however I’ve loved each single second of it. Nearly.”