Hampshire hospitality businesses focus on buying local

A business networking event ‘Sowing the Seed – Hampshire food for Hampshire businesses’, organised by county food group Hampshire Fare, stimulated considerable interest amongst hospitality businesses from across Hampshire on Thursday 12 October.

40 Hampshire hospitality businesses met with local food and drink producers at the event, held at Guildhall Winchester. These ranged from corporate and independent hotels, independent delicatessens and village shops, colleges, pubs, restaurants and attractions. The event was also attended by a representative from the 2012 Olympic Buying Authority CompeteFor, which is actively engaging with small food and drink businesses in a bid for them to quote for contracts to supply the London Olympics. Senior Business Development Manager, Len Walker, of CompeteFor explained: “25% of contracts for the London 2012 Olympics are being awarded to small businesses. For the opportunity to quote for business, they need to enrol on the CompeteFor portal. I’m really impressed by the high quality of Hampshire artisan producers at this event and would encourage them to enrol. Contracts could be awarded to supply everything from large corporate hospitality events to items for the athletes’ breakfast!”

25 local producers exhibited food and drink including free-range and organic lamb, beef, pork and goat meat, eggs, bread and baked goods, gluten-free cakes, cookie mixes, cheeses, yogurts, icecream, watercress products, drinks, confectionery, jams, honey and chutneys, rapeseed oil, and even displays of intricately carved vegetables! Producers also benefitted from a ‘speed-dating’ style networking session prior to the main event, to gain advice about business issues ranging from environmental health, trading standards’ regulations and marketing and PR, to SALSA food safety standards required for supplying large retailers including supermarkets.

Richard Sellars of Twyford Village Stores and ‘Bean Below’ restaurant near Winchester enthused: ‘I have been really impressed by this event and have discovered at least six new suppliers for our store and restaurant and placed orders whilst at the event. I’ll also be following up a number of new contacts. It’s been really beneficial to make time to attend this as I am more likely to do business than if a producer cold calls at the shop when I am busy”.

Hampshire food and drink businesses wanting to find out more about the role of Hampshire Fare and how it can help should contact Claire Glorney, Commercial Manager at Hampshire Fare on 01962 845999, Claire.glorney@hants.gov.uk. More information is also at www.hampshirefare.co.uk.

Hampshire Fare is supported by Hampshire County Council plus Corporate Partners, Ecover UK Ltd, Festival Place Shopping Centre, Fuller Smith & Turner PLC, Hampshire Chamber of Commerce, leepeckGroup, Newsquest (Hampshire) Ltd, The Southern Cooperative, Wave 105 FM, and Corporate Friends The National Trust, New Forest & Hampshire County Show and Starfish Creative Design.