Southampton will be host to a double ten-year celebration of championing local food and drink at the tenth Local Produce Show on Thursday 25 January, which is sponsored by Southern Co-op, who are also celebrating ten years of their Local Flavours range.
Getting behind local producers is more important than ever, according to Southern Co-op. That’s why they are supporting the show, which takes place at Hilton at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.
Predictions from food industry trend-watchers indicate that 2018 will see a greater increase in people in UK wanting to know where their food comes from and to be able to trace the journey of food from the source to the store.
“It goes without saying that when people buy locally, there is greater transparency of the supply chain,” said to Kate Hibbert, Southern Co-op Local Sourcing Manager.
“Transparency is very much part of our business ethos as a co-operative. We build great relationships with passionate suppliers, helping them to develop their business skills to get their products from field to fork, while strengthening co-operation across our supply base to share good practice and ideas.”
The Local Produce Show, organised by Business South, Paris Smith, Hampshire Fare, Hampshire Farmers’ Markets, New Forest Marque, Southern Co-op and Cavendish Ships Stores, brings together some of the region’s small food and drink businesses with chefs and buyers seeking to source new produce.
Mark Smith, Southern Co-op Chief Executive said: “Sourcing British food matters to us, not just because it contributes to the UK economy and employment, but because it’s important to our customers. In these uncertain times, it offers reassurance and builds trust in food security and sustainability. Southern Co-op has seen significant growth in its local food and drink offer, with double digit growth year upon year, reaching £5.2m in 2016.”
There are real results to be had by attending the show, according to Kate Hibbert.
“We met one of our suppliers, Wessex Country Gammon at the Local Produce Show in 2017. By mid-May we had the products in 40 stores, we now have it in 60 with 4 to go live shortly. We have sold over 60,000 products since May and we are looking forward to completing our first full year’s trade and to many more to come,” said Kate.
In 2017, The Local Produce Show showcased over forty local producers offering samples and information about their products to potential buyers. For chefs and buyers, the event provides an invaluable opportunity to source new and exciting ingredients whilst supporting the Hampshire economy and its local producers. Previous buyers have included; Carnival UK, University of Southampton and Ideal Collection.