A powerful new group has been formed to give England’s food and drink industry a strong collective voice in the wake of Covid 19 and Brexit.
Food from England has been created from more than 30 regional groups including in our region Deliciouslyorkshire, which represents businesses from across Yorkshire and the Humber. The group will specifically support small and medium sized businesses by providing a unified platform from which to communicate the industry’s needs to relevant government agencies and departments. It will also highlight the impact of Covid 19 and Brexit and identify ways to help the industry navigate its way through both, while encouraging consumers to keep supporting their local food and drink producers.
John Farrand, Managing Director of the Guild of Fine Food and one of the founding Food from England members said: “The past eight months have seen disaster and innovation within the regional food and drink sector, possibly in equal measure.
“Consumers across the country are now realising the importance of connections across the food and drink supply chain, between makers, retailers and consumers – connections that have suddenly become more urgent, closer, simpler and friendlier as a result of coronavirus.
“We have witnessed the rise and fall of our artisan cheesemakers and watched with sadness as our cousins in food service saw their trade plummet overnight.
“This has been balanced by independent retailers attracting new customers, adopting the internet as a tool to keep them, and unearthing previously unknown suppliers from their area to broaden the retail offer.”
The group has gained support from many influential people in the food industry including Tom Hunt, an award-winning chef, food writer, climate change activist and author of the new book Eating for Pleasure, People & Planet.
Food from England will develop strategies for producers and artisans to help increase sales through independent retailers and agri-food tourism. This will be enhanced by linking directly to appropriate agencies and public bodies for access to business intelligence that will benefit micro and small producers.
Recommendations will also be developed for the retention of new customers, stimulation of business growth and strengthening of regional identities without compromising national opportunities.
Mr Farrand said: “We need the support of the food and drink trade, but most of all we need the new shoppers who have recently discovered their local producers and independent retailers. Many of us have visited our local shops, either online or in reality, and been impressed by their range, value, expert knowledge and personalised service.
“By supporting your local deli, farm shop, butcher, cheese shop, food and drink shows, community and village store, you can support your regional producers and your local pound.
For more information visit www.foodfromengland.co.uk