Food Security – Supporting Local Food and Drink Producers.

With Local Flavours 2014, just around the corner, the government has launched an initiative, The British Food Plan, to support food and drink producers across the UK.

The UK only produces one third of the food required to feed the nation. UK food production has been challenged for many years with cheap imports and convenience foods changing the way many families plan mealtimes.

Liz Truss MP for South Norfolk and the newly appointed Secretary of State for the Environment, with food and farming as part of her portfolio, recognises the importance of promoting locally produced food and has introduced The British Food Plan with an initial push to encourage the catering industry and public sector to buy British.

The first stage of the plan will target catering firms supplying Government departments and encourage them towards sourcing food and drink from producers across the UK. It is hoped that public sector procurement departments will take this on board and insist this forms part of the tendering process.

The Eastern region has a wealth of food talent and many buyers have already recognised the importance of supporting food production in the region – agriculture has always been a major driver of the economy and many food producers have chosen this region for that reason.

Local Flavours 2014 has captured the imagination of the industry to become the one event in the region to bring buyers in numbers to meet a substantial number of food and drink producers and all under one roof.

The trade only show on Tuesday 23rd September at the Norfolk Showground will see 70 local producers presenting their wares to local and national buyers from some of the largest UK wide supermarkets to the smallest local deli and B&B.

700 buyers will descend on the Norfolk Showground for Local Flavours 2014 which will also give exhibitors the opportunity to demonstrate how their produce can be used in menus. Poultec has kindly sponsored a kitchen demo area to support this initiative.

There will also be a business section at the event, apprenticeship information and support services from local councils all to drive growth of this sector . A seminar area will give stand holders and guests a choice of workshops to assist with improving their business performance.                     

South West Norfolk MP Elizabeth Truss said ‘In Norfolk we are blessed with fantastic producers, creating delicious locally grown food. Already our turkeys and potatoes grace the supermarket shelves, asparagus is a regular feature on the fruit and veg aisle and our pork producers are recognised across the country. But I do believe that even more can be done to champion the incredible food and drink generated in this part of the country.

'As Defra Secretary I'm determined to do all that I can to promote our great British produce at home and abroad. That's why we have launched our 'Plan for Public Procurement', which puts in place a new buying standard which will open up to £400 million of potential new business for British farmers and growers, and why we will continue to use our network of embassies and international trade fairs to secure new markets and deals.

'Events such as Local Flavours are of vital importance to the industry and have a key role to play in boosting growth and improving food security. By showcasing what is on offer the supermarkets can meet the producers, relationships are built and confidence is created in knowing where our food comes from. I hope this important event goes from strength to strength.'

Local Flavours 2014 has been created to connect food buyers with suppliers. National buyers are taking regional purchasing seriously and many will have representatives at the event. Local buyers will not only have the opportunity to sample new tastes but will also find support services, training opportunities and have the chance to meet potential employees.

“We launched the trade event in 2013, following a conversation with several food producers on the high costs to market and lack of time to both produce and sell.  It wasn’t a case of dragging potential buyers along it was always, for them, about having the time to spend seeking out truly amazing tastes. Bringing everyone together under one roof has proven to be the answer” Valerie Watson-Brown, organiser of Local Flavours”.

Anyone interested in sourcing local produce can attend the event for free. Registration is essential telephone 01603 702374 or email faye@thelivelycrew.co.uk for more information.    

Published on 11-Sep-2014 12:00 with   
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