This is Cumbria : the beginnings
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.
This is Cumbria at the Farmshop & Deli Show
The plan is to make ‘This is Cumbria’ a regular of the Farm Shop and Deli Show. To achieve this we created a showcase area to allow businesses to test the water in a friendly environment. They will be 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).
This is Cumbria: our supporters
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. 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…
New food producers
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. She has a very good business head on her shoulder (supported by her mum). Molly is determined to share the profits of her endeavours 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. What is equally important is the social impact their products have.
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.