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 [email protected] 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.


Living with Amazon and thriving in times of change.

Not a day goes by without news of the rise of Amazon and the demise of the rest of us.

Commentators are eager to talk up the future of online shopping and the fall of the traditional food markets with everything from the corner shop to the giant supermarkets falling prey to this global phenomena.

It is true that Amazon are soaking up the repeat purchases required for our hectic lives but to do this they are slowly encouraging generic solutions . It’s not a short step from Alexa I need my branded muesli to Alexa please send me Amazon Muesli…

The good news is that speciality food is growing in popularity. In an article in the USA ‘Food Dive’ online food blog they referred to a Mintel report that showed speciality food sales in the USA had grown 9 times as fast as other food and now accounted for 15.8% of the USA retail food market. The article went on to demonstrate that speciality food was not now just for the gourmet speciality retailers.

The same is true in the UK , the next generation of consumers have more interest in experiences than brands. Increasingly all consumers are looking for forms of personalisation of their food. This could be health related (gluten free, sugar free), ethically related (vegan, palm oil free) or trend related (superfoods, new flavours or ingredients from local or international places).

The traditional grocery markets dominated by the supermarkets relied on being the trends setters, controlling supply chains that delivered established brands. They are now under attack from online sources such as Amazon who can undercut on brand price and commodity price. They are also facing discounters who up until now, by avoiding focus on brands, have managed to undercut on commodity price.

In this time of change, the large UK supermarket retailers are trying to find their place in the new grocery market and Amazon is trying to buy its way in (already got Whole Foods and rumoured to be looking at one of our UK supermarkets) So what are the choices for the fine food sector in the UK?

It’s the same as its always been. Protect your provenance, keep up with new trends, know your customers and your suppliers. Be the best at what you do and never fight the giant retailers (including Amazon) on their terms.

Again from the USA, in the words of Robin McNamara of Roche Bros (a 20 store operator in Massachusetts) “We are always on the hunt for unique items, and doing the best we can to stay ahead of what’s trending in flavors and concepts, as well as specific categories.”

In the UK we have a growing fine food sector full of truly entrepreneurial ideas. We were fortunate enough to spend some time with Maria Whitehead of Hawkshead Relish this week and saw her Black Garlic Ketchup been bottled. This ketchup has now won numerous national awards and is just one example of the vast array of superb fine food ideas out there. So we as the fine food retailers can bring products like this to an increasingly discerning consumer as they turn their backs on the mass produced brand focused food market of the previous century.

Happy retailing….

Keith & Jacqui Jackson Thomas Jardine & Co https://www.thomasjardineandco.co.uk/ email:[email protected]


Cumbrian food producers get set to stand together at Farm Shop & Deli Show

Our county’s vibrant and diverse food & drink scene has made Cumbria a must-visit destination for foodies in recent years. Local food festivals and farmers markets have flourished as a result but now a group of innovative food & drink producers want to join forces to take Cumbria’s finest to the national stage at the NEC Farm and Deli Show in April 2019.

The seed was sown at this year’s Farm Shop & Deli Show in April when a small number of Cumbria-based food & drink businesses exhibited their produce to an audience of 30,000 trade buyers over 3 days. Despite their independent successes, they noticed the gathering crowds of buyers at the large county and regional stands and the idea of the ‘This is Cumbria’ initiative was born!

With collective efforts from Jacqui and Keith Jackson at Thomas Jardine & Co, who specialise in generational food businesses and food entrepreneurs and Sue Howorth from The Family Business Network Ltd, the project has been launched to offer trade stand space and sponsorship opportunities. Speaking about the initiative, Keith Jackson said “Maria from Hawkshead Relish and Lisa from Gingerbakers has secured the best location for our ‘This is Cumbria’ stand adjacent to the Live Stage to help us to create a real buzz and curiosity around the produce, but also to offer a unique one stop shop for buyers, retailers, distributers and suppliers to come and experience a taste of Cumbria”.

Already working closely with many Cumbrian food and drink business through The Family Business Network, Sue Howorth commented “The ‘This is Cumbria’ stand represents great value and a one-off opportunity for those new to the world of exhibitions or for businesses with tight marketing budgets to sell more products nationally or internationally. We are offering a range of stand sizes from shared space which is ideal for first-timers, to larger stands for the more established”. Other incentives for joining the Cumbria stand will include the sharing of logistics and travel costs, collecting buying power for show sundries, plus the use of a dedicated central meeting space within the stand for exhibitors to meet and talk with potential customers and trade press.

Maria Whitehead MBE of Hawkshead Relish plans to hold a Masterclass prior to the Show to offer advice and support to fellow Cumbrian exhibitors on how to get the best from the show. Speaking from experience, she commented “This is the sector’s leading event and it brings together over 450 exhibitors which attracts thousands of key buyers from the food and drink retail market over the three days. It gives us a brilliant opportunity to launch new products, generate new sales leads, network and meet with existing clients and to generate some good PR coverage. We hope that this unique opportunity will encourage local businesses to join us and exhibit next year alongside like-minded Cumbria producers”.

The Farm Shop & Deli Show takes place at the NEC from 8-10th April 2019. If you are a Cumbria-based food or drink producer and are interested in reserving trade space, please contact our ‘This is Cumbria’ project coordinators, Keith and Jacqui Jackson via email [email protected] The team are also inviting businesses to join the venture as a Sponsor of the ‘This is Cumbria’ stand.

More information about the 2019 Farm Shop and Deli Show can be found at www.farmshopanddelishow.co.uk


Big fish little pond or small fish big pond?

Defining your local place is never easy especially when you come to setting a border where everything beyond is not local…. Think about the political boundaries that already exist from parish to local councils to counties to countries. All these political boundaries have an impact on your place. To fix the impact of these areas our politicians simply invent new areas our city fish (Carlisle) will see impacts from the new ‘ponds’ created from BREXIT to devolution to the LEPs to Northern Powerhouse to Borderlands and I am sure yours will be the same.

All these areas seek to redefine the pond in which our city fish swim, in some cases we (Carlisle) are bigger than one pond (parish councils) in others we are still a relatively large fish (Borderlands) and in others we start to feel like minnows (Northern Powerhouse).

The question I think we all need to ask ourselves is “do we treat the smaller fish in our pond in a way that we would want the larger fish to treat us?”. At one end of the ‘pond spectrum’ is the totally equitable approach to place management where every fish gets the same share of the collective food bank. At the other end is the idea that the pond needs to feed the big fish so that it can protect the smaller fish from any large fish from neighbouring ponds. Do you feel yourself moving towards the equitable argument when your in a really large pond and towards the support the big fish argument when you’re in a small pond?

I know it’s more complicated than that. Projects aimed at social change are arguably better based as close to the end user as possible so for instance, drop in centres and community spaces all need to be spread across the pond. Whilst funded capital projects concentrated on one or two projects could arguably create anchors that would attract either visitors or employers to an area. This was certainly the argument back in the day of anchor stores for high streets or anchor multinational firms for industry strategy , times are changing as I heard at a meeting recently “ one large factory does not a local economy make” and the prospect of House of Fraser leaving our High Street demonstrates the lack of control your local area has over national retail chains. Having said that, focused action that is directly linked to your local area can have huge impact on your place, from May-July we were fortunate enough to host the ‘weeping window’ poppy display that poured over our castle keep and this has definitely increased the number of visitors to our area. The display originally set up at the Tower of London has toured the country for the last four years and Carlisle Castles connection as a recruitment base during the First World War meant we were fortunate enough to be one of the hosts for this magnificent thought provoking display.

As we all negotiate our share of the pond perhaps we should reflect the reason for the poppy display. The display in Carlisle is there because of the 23,000 recruits who passed through the castle during the First World War, 7,000 paid the ultimate sacrifice and died defending their pond. When those running the pond get it wrong, it’s often the fish that pay the price.

So the next time you feel like a fish in a pond , ask yourself :are you allowing enough of a share for your smaller neighbours and are you also supporting your bigger neighbours as they stand up for your pond.