Future of food and drink? Just look outside and inside

To the outside world the food and drink supply chain is so straight forward. You grow something, you pick it, you prepare it, you take it to market and you sell it.
Working with the food and drink supply chain we find the trick is to use three eyes. One eye on future trends, one inside the business and one outside the business .

Eye on the future

Dean Van Leeuwen the Moonshot Futurist (at a business breakfast organised by Armstrong Watson) showed that specific future trends can be difficult to capture. He reminded us of the speed of change our society is currently facing. This change inevitably leads to redundancy of current operating systems and we have to learn to unlearn old ways.  For us in the food chain this means real rapid change. We saw a real example of food retail change  at the official opening of Pioneers new food store in Carlisle. The opening was truly a celebration of their journey so far (140 years and counting).  The new store  has  created a hybrid where wholesale food services meets retail with style.

Eye on the inside

In beautiful rural settings like the Lake District and the Eden Valley business space for food producers is a valuable commodity. A recent visit to a well-established small family business demonstrated this.  The lack of available space  made them focus on constantly improving their systems and relearning the equipment they required. Similarly, a larger well-established food manufacturer kept their productivity increasing by constantly identifying new machinery for their processing.  This now means they are ahead of the curve and looking for partners to work with to develop laser cutting equipment for the food sector.

Eye on the outside

We had an interesting conversation with a young business that is looking outside.  The business had done its research well and knew who they had to talk to and what they needed to prepare. Their problem was getting key people to talk to them.  The business wanted to talk to a local council officer and couldn’t pin them down to a time. The local council are a good bunch with business at heart BUT  are pushed for time and this appears to be impacting on the support they can offer, we’re sure they will find the time soon.

Adding the third eye

The observant of you would have realised we reckoned you needed three eyes to succeed in food and drink. Our food and drink manufacturers are not aliens, they have simply learned the art of thriving in the modern business eco-system, they share knowledge with each other and work with agencies to ensure full visibility of the future, the present and the outside world. This is Cumbria demonstrated how these businesses can get things done and we (Thomas Jardine & Co) just love working with them.


Government must be more ambitious in building Britain’s global brand for food and drink (release from EFRA Committee)

Interesting release from Environement, Food and Rural Affairs Committee

House of Commons
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee
For immediate release 27.06.19

Government must be more ambitious in building Britain’s global brand for food and drink

The Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee’s today launches its Brand Britain: Promoting and Marketing British food and drink report.

Food and drink manufacturing is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing £28.2 billion to the economy annually. In 2018, food and drink exports were worth £22.6 billion. Trade is therefore vital for the food and farming industries. This inquiry explored whether enough was being done to promote British food and drink, at home and abroad.

While progress is being made in some areas, we are concerned that the Government is not being ambitious or strategic enough in its approach to marketing and export activities. The food and drink industry has recognised what needs to be done to increase export activities via its proposed Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector Deal. The Government should approve this Sector Deal immediately and confirm a timetable for its implementation.

Food labelling

Research shows that while origin is important to some British consumers, purchasing behaviour is primarily driven by price. The origin of food can be found on the label, but less often for processed food.

The Government should introduce requirements for the origin of characterising ingredients in processed foods to be specified on labels – for example, the origin of the poultry in a chicken curry. This would enable those consumers who prefer to buy British to make informed choice.

Geographical Indications

Geographical Indications (GIs) provide legal protection against unlawful imitation of protected food and drink products. They also confer a price premium on products, making GIs both economically important as well as a recognised indicator of origin.

Given the potential for the UK to leave the EU without a deal in October, the Government should ensure that the domestic GI system meets the criteria required for EU approval and is ready prior to exit, to minimise disruption to British exporters. This Report recommends the Government make seeking a reciprocal agreement with the EU on GIs a priority, especially if agreeing an overarching withdrawal agreement is not possible.

Tradeshow Access Programmes

The Government’s Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) provides businesses with support they need to attend trade shows abroad. It is seen by the industry as an important way for companies, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), to promote their businesses and break into new markets. The Committee therefore welcome the increased focus on SME participation in TAP.

However, TAP spend on food and drink has declined by 10 per cent since 2017/18. This dip reflects an ongoing trend of decreased funding. In addition, the rules on accessing grants have become more restrictive. The Tradeshow Access Programme should be reviewed urgently, in consultation with industry and trade associations. Funding should be potentially increased as part of the upcoming Spending Review.

International awareness

Awareness of British food and drink is low in international markets. More research is required to work out the best ways to promote British products overseas and increase exposure to British food. Recognising this gap, the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has made commendable efforts to provide international market intelligence. The AHDB currently conducts market research across both domestic and international markets.

It is not clear if this dual responsibility is the most effective arrangement. The current review of the AHDB should consider whether the balance of funding between domestic and international market intelligence and promotion is fit for the future. AHDB should also assess if more needs to be done to promote to the domestic market.

Neil Parish MP, the Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, said:

“Trade remains an integral part of the UK economy. Our food and farming industry generates hundreds of billions a year and employs one in eight people. Given the uncertainty of Brexit, it is absolutely essential that the Government takes steps to build Britain’s global brand for food and drink.

“What the current approach to marketing and export is really lacking is enough ambition or strategic thinking – the Government cannot afford to be complacent at a time of such grave importance to the sector.

“Those working in the sector have clearly recognised what needs to be done to increase export activities in the proposed Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector Deal. We must see the Government work closely with the industry to promote our food and drink excellence around the world.

“As our Report states, market access and increasing exports do not happen overnight, and action must be taken urgently.”

Media information: Joe Williams williamsjb@parliament.uk 020 7219 8878 | 075 4651 7626
More information on the Brand Britain: Promoting and Marketing British food and drink inquiry
EFRA Committee Membership here.
Committee website: www.parliament.uk/efracom


Food and Place : why it’s important to your place

This is Cumbria at the NEC 2019       Cumbrian Food and Drink       Front cover of Carlisle Living "our food revolution"

Why is food important to place?

There are so many reasons why food and drink captures the essence of place . The French have a word for it ‘terroir’ where the flavour of the local produce comes from the land on which it’s grown. We would go further than this and claim that the people in the place can and do influence the flavour of their food and drink. The Food and Drink from the area around Cumbria represents our standing as a place on the edge of nation ( England or Scotland). So we have learned to be more self-reliant whilst maintaining strong links to our national market place.

What we do

As Thomas Jardine & Co, our day job is to work with individual businesses in the area.  We help identify their pinch points and then develop solutions that either help them grow or become more productive.  We also allow some time to help bring the national focus onto the great business culture that exists in our unique area.

Taking Cumbria to the Nation

In April we were proud to be part of ‘This is Cumbria’ taking a wide selection of our great food and drink producers down to the Farmshop & Deli Show in the NEC.  The joy of this was that ‘This is Cumbria’ was co-created by a group of like minded businesses and delivered with out the external support offered to national stands there from Wales or Scotland.  It worked so well that we are doing it all over again in 2020 (give us a shout if you want to know more).

In May Thomas Jardine & Co revisited the DEFRA offices in London representing the Cumbrian Local Economic Partnership (LEP).  The meeting gathered LEPs from around the country who are developing a focus on the food and drink sector.  The conversation on the day covered the best use of our ‘natural economy‘ and the encouragement of a ‘circular economy’ .  In layman terms this means not destroying your natural assets (land, water supply, air quality) and making sure you get the most out of everything you use.  The final focus from DEFRA was on Public Sector Procurement where they highlighted a software system from Crown Commercial that would allow local producers to supply Public Sector bodies. This is a particular aim of Carlisle Food City so it would be great if we could persuade them to test this in our place.

Celebrating our food and drink

In May Carlisle Living ran an excellent set of features on the Food Revolution going on in Carlisle celebrating the new food movement going on in our city. The old CN Group always celebrated the sector in style with their Carlisle Living Awards and it is hoped that the new owners will continue with this.

Places in the conversation

At the moment, we are  really noticing that we keep on meeting people from the SW of England who really appear to have the same opportunities for food and drink as up here in Cumbria and consequently are developing similar solutions.  There has got to be something in our places working more closely to develop more solutions that could potentially benefit the whole of the UK.  At the same time we are also talking to more organisations based in Manchester so part of the answer must also lie in working closely with stakeholders from our region.

As border country we are also working with business and groups from both England and Scotland and learning form each sides differing approaches to looking after its resources and supporting its businesses.  This attitude is part of what lies behind the growing ‘Borderlands’ project with our area well aware that the line between Scotland and England will always only exist on a map or political boundary and unless we build a wall will have a fluid movement of local goods and services across it. To be honest, history shows that even if Scotland and England go their own way again I am pretty sure us border folk will find ways of continuing their business activities with or without their nations blessings : for extreme examples just check out ‘border reivers‘ on google.

Come and talk to us

In July we are going to talk about food and place at the national Revive and Thrive Conference in Manchester would be great to catch up with any of you who want to talk about how food and drink works with your place.

We find it extremely gratifying to see our work help both individual business and do something towards brining your place into the national conversation.  So if we can either help you as an individual business to get over that nagging issue at the back of your mind or you want us to help raise the attention of our place at a national level then please get in touch.

 

 


This is Cumbria : shouting about food and drink

    
Between the 8th and 10th of April a large group of Cumbrian Food and Drink Businesses are going down to the Farm Shop & Deli Show at the NEC. They are going down as individual businesses but are locating in one large ‘This is Cumbria’ pavilion.

This is Cumbria started as an idea at last years show from two businesses Ginger Bakers and Hawkshead Relish. They both wanted to make more noise about the great businesses based in Cumbria so as you do, they booked a huge block right next door to the main stage for next year.

A few days later Maria from Hawkshead Relish rang us (Thomas Jardine & Co) and Sue from the Family Business Network to see if we could help fill, name, promote and develop the space. The answer was of course yes. The name ‘This is Cumbria’ came up as the collective name for the stand and We are Eclectic stepped up to do the design work for the show. As we write, Printing Plus have stepped up to do our printing.

The plan is to make ‘This is Cumbria’ a regular of the Farm Shop and Deli Show and to achieve this we decided to create a showcase area to allow businesses new to large trade stands an opportunity to test the water in a friendly environment surrounded by businesses who are more experienced with these types of shows. Two key sponsors Cartmell Shepherd and Enterprise Answers both stepped forward and financially supported areas for these businesses (Cartmell Shepherd the showcase area and Enterprise Answers the enterprise zone).

The businesses have now grown to 6 stand holders: Hawkshead Relish, Ginger Bakers, Kin Vodka, Tray Bakes, Kendal Mint Liqueur and Farrers and 6 show case businesses: Shed1 Gin, The Pie Mill, ML3 Technical, Lakeland Artisan, The Toffee Shop and Molly Rose Drinks. At time of writing we still have one 2*2 space left so please shout if you fancy joining us.

The activity around the show is now growing, Maria has given a brilliant masterclass at the NWBH show on getting the most of a trade show to our show case businesses. We are also holding a drinks reception on the 9th with Nigel Barden and various Cumbrian Chefs will give ‘This is Cumbria’ a shout from the main stage.

Help is coming form all sorts of other places, 32West have helped with press releases, Freya from WRBM has answered all our queries, BBC Radio Cumbria have talked to us about the progress of the show and loads of tweeters are helping spread the word. This is Cumbria is happening because businesses want it to happen, it’s going to be interesting to see where we go next…


What are you going to do to support businesses in your place?

First published in revive and Thrive 

It’s the time of year we all tend to reflect on what’s just happened and plan for what we do differently. So, we thought we would share part of our thinking for an interview schedule we are using to identify the future support businesses may require.

All problems have a degree of impact on business from just plain annoying to ‘business killers’ that threaten the future of the business. Good businesses find solutions to these problems themselves or look to support from outside.

For these businesses there are two types of problems to focus on. These are the problems that stop them getting things done on a day to day basis and the problems that stop them from moving their business forward.

Good businesses have to be really good at problem solving and tend to have solutions for the day to day ‘business killer problems’ quickly (things like cash flow). They then manage those ‘day to day’ problems that have a higher degree of impact with dedicated internal resources or with trusted external expertise. These problems tend to revolve around market competition, regulations and skilled personnel. The problems that tend to need new solutions are those that are getting in the way of them taking up opportunities that could drive their business forward.
So, for part of our research we are asking our businesses to identify the opportunities that would have the greatest impact on their business. Then we are asking them if they can take advantage of this opportunity without support, if they can that’s great and the business can move forward. If they need support and they can identify where to get it from that is also good and shows that there is a network of support available for that business sector.

What will be concerning is if our businesses interviewed can see an opportunity that they can’t take advantage of because they don’t have either internal systems or external resources to support it. If our place cannot find a solution for these businesses then they will not take advantage of the opportunity they can see. This is not a problem in the short term but if we as a place continue to not offer relevant solutions then eventually our businesses will move to a place that can find these solutions. This is because the problems stopping businesses taking opportunities in the future eventually become the problems stopping businesses function on a day to day basis. For example, thirty years ago a problem with IT was not a ‘business killer’ now not linking your sales directly with your stock ordering could be.

So, looking back over 2018, what really got in the way of businesses based in your place? Then looking forward to 2019 what could stop them take advantage of those opportunities they see?
Could you have better helped them in 2018 and what are you planning to do to help them in 2019?

We at Thomas Jardine & Co are helping our place answer these questions, are you doing the same for your place?


Dynamic Cumbria producer’s collective unveils new brand

The ‘This is Cumbria’ collective has this week launched a new brandmark that will represent the forward-thinking group of businesses at a national event next April. The brand has been launched as the collective make a final call for Cumbrian producers and craftspeople to join them at their inaugural event, the Farm Shop & Deli Show at the NEC 8-10 April 2019.

The initiative was formed earlier this year with an aim to create a ‘big impact’ destination stand that could position the very best of Cumbrian food, drink and produce in front of thousands of key buyers. With much of the space already booked, just four trade stands are remaining. Come and join the likes of Hawkshead Relish , Ginger Bakers, Kin Vodka, Tray Bakes, Kendal Mint Liquor and Shed1 Distillery.

‘This is Cumbria’ are also offering a number of affordable ‘Show Case’ stands to developing businesses that are new to national trade shows. Keith Jackson one of the co-organisers from Carlisle-based Thomas Jardine & Co, said “Cumbria is full to the brim with creative people who all share a common bond – they are all inspired by Cumbria to create exceptional things, which comes through in our newly unveiled brand identity.
“We wanted to offer those businesses who are first-time trade show exhibitors an introductory opportunity which requires a lower investment of cash and time than a regular stand would, with the added benefit of extra support through event training and participation in promotional collateral. We’d encourage any businesses that may be interested to get in touch for a chat about what we can offer.”
For businesses taking full trade stands at the event, ‘This is Cumbria’ are also offering a number of unique benefits which include pre-show PR and social media build up, inclusion within a dedicated booklet and a drinks reception hosted by celebrity chef, Nigel Barden.

Sue Howorth of The Family Business network said “We’re delighted to support this exciting initiative that offers growing businesses a platform and a voice outside of Cumbria. I can’t think of a better opportunity for those looking to reach a national audience or to raise their brand awareness.”

The Farm Shop & Deli Show takes place at the NEC from 8-10th April 2019. For more information or if you are interested in joining the growing collective that is ‘This is Cumbria’, contact Keith Jackson on hello@thomasjardineandco.co.uk or visit the facebook page @ThisisCumbria


Trade in Carlisle?? Opportunity to market your cafe, bar, restaurant or food outlet GLOBALLY

England Originals is an amazing new product being launched to help promote our historic cities. Carlisle has played its part, along with 15 other historic cities, to create this unique route to the international visitor market. Recent roadshows held in the USA have received lots of positive feedback from the travel trade and resulted in some key partnerships to help promote England Originals to the trade and independent travellers.

This is an opportunity for our local businesses to be the first to benefit from this kind of training event, which will share product knowledge, demonstrate how Carlisle is being promoted as part of England Originals and provide information about marketing opportunities available to your business through the project.

Book your place for course on 5th December by 30th November

Details below:

 


Regulations and your Food Business Made Simple

Thomas Jardine & Co in collaboration with ML3 Technical and Trading Standards Cumbria have developed a series of workshops to support food and drink businesses. These workshops are aimed at owner operators or managers responsible for dealing with food regulations in their business.

The monthly workshops will be held at the Guild in Carlisle and the charge of £10 covers a two-hour workshop (5-7pm) delivered by either ML3 Technical Services or Trading Standards with an option to include Continuing Professional Development Accreditation for this Training at no extra cost.

There will be time after the workshop to sit and talk with Malcolm from ML3Technical, John from Trading Standards, Keith & Jacqui from Thomas Jardine & Co and of course other food and drink businesses attending the event.

The events planned so far are:

“nut’s and a lot more” Food allergens keep your business safe and legal 15.11.18 (ML3 Technical & Trading Standards)

Christmas Menu Special 05.12.18 (Trading Standards & ML3 Technical) This session is a taster and is free of charge

Food Standards safe and legal labelling introduction 09.01.19 (ML3 Technical & Trading Standards)

Consumer Law ready consumer rights and guarantees in the event of defective products 06.02.19 (Trading Standards & ML3 Technical)

Trading Standards law gluten free, vegetarian and vegan claims for your business 06.03.19 (ML3 Technical & Trading Standards)

Feed hygiene law for the farming community in Cumbria 10.04.19 (Trading Standards & ML3 Technical)

For more information and booking see https://www.theguild-carlisle.co.uk/events-coming-guild/

 


Local food : where’s it been..where’s it going?

first published in Speciality Food

Is local food the answer for speciality food retailers? Speciality food businesses have to find the balance between representing their food place and encouraging food innovation. Local food makes sense, it brings the food maker and the food consumer closer together. But buying 100% local food would cripple innovation because if we all bought locally, food businesses couldn’t grow by exporting to new areas.

Where’s local food been?

Back in 2012 the CPRE Field to Fork reports warned us that the larger retailers were seriously damaging the local food networks. This was around about the time that the local food movement started to go mainstream and away from activist groups such as Tescopoly.

Today ‘local food’ captures a broad spectrum of food consumers from purists with close definitions of ‘local’ to pragmatists who want the best possible food from the closest possible producer. Local purists can set a specific ‘local’ distance ( in the CPRE report this was 30 miles) the issue with this is a rural area can have lots of producers but very few consumers leaving these producers with a limited market space. One solution is to define local by region or country, so for instance Welsh food opens up the local Welsh market to all the major towns and cities in Wales. The issue with the regional local definition is that a food producer in Hereford is closer to Cardiff than a producer in North Wales but not local as they are English…

Where’s local food now?

Within the mixed definitions of local, the IGD believes that local sourcing fits well into the modern supply chain for FMCG. This is because local suppliers tend to be trusted more by consumers, they can offer a more resilient local supply chain, they are increasingly adopting technology that supports a local supply chain and they offer a transparent and traceable solution. This goes to explain the increased interest in the local food supply chain. So the trade protectionism currently rising under Trump in America may be the reason for what the IFT describes as ‘New Nationalism’ with USA food shoppers increasingly favouring regional cuisine. Or it may be that US consumers are looking to local producers to replace giant food producers/retailers with whom they have lost faith. Similarly, the Food Navigator argues that the growing consumer preference for local food prevalent in Germany and the UK is because consumers hunt down small batch runs from producers who can supply exactly what they need from taste, nutrition, allergens etc.

Where’s local food going?

So local food which was the domain of the specialist food store is increasingly going to become part of the grocery mainstream. This is not a threat to specialist food retailers but an opportunity. Local is open for interpretation by the consumer not by the retailer, so it is up to us as local food suppliers to educate the next generation that local can mean both the small localised specialist and the large regional producers who have kept hold of their food provenance.

Good specialist food retailers already know the best regional / national food producers and should have a solid supply chain relationship with them. Good specialist food retailers are also aware of up and coming local producers who they can nurture and encourage. By supporting established and new food producers the independent food retailers can keep control of the local food supply chain. We (Thomas Jardine & Co) have found most local/regional food producers are increasingly preferring a good local supply chain to the alternative of supplying the multiples.

The future of food retailing is ensuring consumer trust in the product you are selling and the local food agenda is part of this…happy retailing


Innovate and save the world

It’s a strange old world. We (Thomas Jardine & Co) have worked with two relatively new food producers in the last couple of months who at first glance have nothing in common BUT are actually part of a growing food movement. The first, Bakes and Balls is run by a retired school master Stephen Hall and focuses on producing energy balls that are vegan, gluten free and nut free. The second is a still lemonade created by a seven year old schoolgirl called Molly Rose. The link between these two is their connection to the growing need for food with a social impact.

Stephens product clearly meets the needs of several diets and he also sources his ingredients as ethically as possible. Molly is a wonderful young girl with a very good business head on her shoulder (supported by her mum) but is determined to share the profits of her endeavors with less fortunate children, they have already arranged the first run of bottles and will be ready for market this year. Provenance is important to these two up and coming food makers but what is equally important is the social impact their product has.

In the speciality food market food provenance has always been important. The growing debate over global warming , sustainable food supply chains and food poverty has meant that the social impact of food manufacturing is becoming equally important to a number of our consumers.

Political movements are ensuring that food and drink consumers are becoming more socially aware of the impact their purchases have. Globally the Barilla Center for Food and Nutrition has shown that food that is good for you is also good for the planet and they are taking this argument to a summit in New York in September. So expect a further movement towards fruit and vegetables and away from red meat.

As with the two food producers I mentioned, there is now a move to ‘balance’ healthy eating and treats With today’s “betterment” consumer trend, people are wanting to indulge while still maintaining a “healthy” lifestyle

Every consumer segment will want socially aware food and drink. A fine example of a healthier treat is Philippa and Simon Guest new Little Cook Box aimed directly at the younger consumer , which was discussed recently in Produce Business UK This move to creating healthier food is not a passing fad for smaller food businesses, Nestle are refocusing their image away from confectionery towards a brand that is ‘fit for the future’ supplying future consumer needs based on health and sustainability.

So when looking at your foods provenance it may well be worth capturing the social story behind the food maker as well.