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Allan’s home-made chilli products are hot business

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One evening back in 2013 Allan Ferguson was in his kitchen following a recipe which called for chilli jelly. He asked his wife Joan if she knew how to make it and when she admitted she didn’t have a clue, he set about making his own.

“I had no idea what I would end up with but I knew I had a taste in mind that would enhance not only all types of meats and fish but cheeses as well,” Allan explains.

“It was quite tasty and I put the leftovers in a bowl for later,” recalls Allan, who lives in the Petrhshire village of Abernethy.

When a friend popped round to visit and tried a bit of the sauce, she said she wished she could buy some and that started the germ of an idea.

“I made a few jars of mild chilli jelly and got friends to design labels and before I knew it I had sold them,” says Allan. “So Joan, my mother-in-law Betty and I started to experiment with a hot chilli which seemed to be just as, if not more, popular.”


Four years of experimenting and creating later, and today Allan and his trusty team make 13 flavours of jellies and 13 flavours of sauce to match.

Made with all natural ingredients including chillies, apples, garlic, and pears, Allan grows a lot of his own produce or sources it from the farmers market in Perth.

As well as selling online, the products are available from selected delis, farm shops and prestigious outlets like House of Bruar and Loch Leven’s Larder.

Allan would like to supply hotels too but admits they can be tricky to break into it as most chefs already make their own chilli sauces, jellies and jams.

“I pop in flyers with my products, leave them with a shop, tell them to have a taste and then come back in a couple of weeks. If they like them, that’s great, if not, that’s fine too. I like to offer the personal touch,” says Allan.

“I’m a people person and love chatting to folk while they taste the products,” smiles Allan, who will be appearing at the Taste Angus Festival at Glamis Castle on August 19 and 20.


“I’m really looking forward to it, and sampling some of the fantastic Angus produce myself while I’m there.”


Allan, Joan and betty try to come up with at least one new product a year and this year they’ve surpassed themselves by coming up with a lemon chilli jelly and chilli marmalade, perfect with toast, gammon, oatcakes, salad – the list goes on and on.

“The chilli products will add extra flavour to the blandest of meals, from stir fries and roasts to pasta and noodles,” he says.

Allan and the team were finalists in the Perth Chamber of Commerce Star Awards in 2015 and 2106.

“We are so proud and grateful to be nominated for this award two years running,” he smiles. The products are still made from Allan’s home, though the Fergusons have had the garage converted into a working kitchen.

“There’s a fair bit of equipment including blenders, mixers, jars, ladles and pans,” says Allan.

the process of making and filling is quite labour-intensive and is undertaken mainly by Joan and Betty as Allan, 59, works full time as a maintenance manager at a building company in Perth. Joan also looks after the online orders.

It takes a couple of hours to make a huge pot of jelly or sauce and this will fill around 40 jars. 1000 jars and the same number of bottles will be used up within two weeks.

Allan’s weekends are taken up with shows and markets – he’ll be at the Scottish Game Fair at Scone Palace June 30-July 2 ahead of Taste Angus the following month.

“I’m so proud of our products,” he smiles. “I’ve tested plenty of other brands and they tend to be full of additives and water. Ours as completely natural – we’re the real McCoy.

“It’s so good to walk into a shop and see our products on the shelves.”