Double ten-year celebration at Local Produce Show in Southampton

Masterchef winner Jane Devonshire

Southampton hosted a double ten-year celebration of championing local food and drink at the tenth Local Produce Show last Thursday 25 January, which was supported by Southern Co-op, who are also celebrating ten years of their Local Flavours range.

Masterchef winner Jane Devonshire was star guest, opening the show and talking to producers and buyers at the event.

Getting behind local producers is more important than ever, according to Southern Co-op. That’s why they supported the show, which took place at Hilton at the Ageas Bowl, Southampton.

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.

There are real results to be had by attending the show, according to Kate Hibbert, Southern Co-op Local Sourcing Manager.

Local Sourcing Manager Kate Hibbert at the Local Produce Show 2018

“The Local Produce Show 2018 was absolutely fantastic,” said Kate, “We caught up with some old friends who we already work with such as Hampshire’s Turner Hardy & Co, Chalk Stream Foods, Mooka and FNK Pies. Those from the Isle of Wight included Goddards Brewery, Island Ales and Isle of Wight Distillery. From further afield we saw Wessex Country Gammons from Dorset. Although I can’t say too much at this stage, we also met some wonderful new suppliers who we are now arranging follow up meetings with to discuss working with them. I love the moment you meet an exciting potential supplier!”

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 Kate Hibbert.

“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.”

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 £6.25m in 2017.”

Last week, over 70 local food and drinks producers showcased their products to over 300 chefs and buyers at the 10th Local Produce Show. The event, organised by Business South and sponsored by Paris Smith, Hampshire Fare, Hampshire Farmers’ Markets, New Forest Marque, Southern Co-op and Cavendish Ships Stores, celebrated a decade of work towards supporting local supply chains in the food industry.