With the international spotlight on Britain thanks to the Olympics and royal events, there’s never been a better time to stock British food
Next year’s a biggie for all things British. We’ve got the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee as well as London 2012 to look forward to. All eyes will be on Britain and visitors to this country will no doubt be keen to buy British goods. But it’s not just those overseas keen to buy British, as more of us living here are doing so as well, and manufacturers are aiming to cash in by boasting about their British credentials.
Ginsters is one brand that’s been emphasising its Britishness for some time now. In 2008 it was rebranded as Ginsters of Cornwall to highlight its regional heritage and commitment to local sourcing. The same year also saw the brand launch the first in a series of ad campaigns that focused on provenance and the quality of its local ingredients.
That’s how much your footfall could rise if you take part in British Food Fortnight, according to the event’s organisers
In 2009 the company refreshed the packaging of its hot pies range to include the British flag, highlighting the brand’s use of only British meat and locally sourced vegetables, and this is a theme that has continued.
All Ginsters packaging now features descriptions which aim to drive home the inclusion of British ingredients. The latest additions the All Day Breakfast Bara and Special Edition Chicken Balti Pasty boast fresh British pork sausage and fresh British chicken respectively.
Ginsters head of brand marketing Andy Valentine says: “We are proud to support British farmers and to be able to say that we use only fresh British meat in our products.”
Another Cornish pasty brand, Oggy Oggy, promotes its range using the ‘Genuine Cornish Pasty’ logo. Managing director Michael Farrer explains: “This is important because more and more people are becoming conscious of what they eat and its provenance. With Oggy you can be certain your pasty was hand-crimped in Cornwall and made with only the best ingredients sourced locally wherever that is possible. I think consumers are more than ever able to determine whether food is a quality product or not. The amount of media coverage around organics and artisan production is creating a view that Britain is a good place to source your food, and this will affect the consumer’s view considerably.”
At the other end of the British Isles, Quaker is working closely with Scottish growers to source oats for its mill in Cupar, Fife, where it has been milling since 1899. The brand increased its production and store of oats at the site by 50% ahead of the 2010/2011 winter season, and recently announced an £8.5m investment in the plant to meet the growing consumer demand for porridge. The site produces about 90,000 tonnes of oats per year.
top tips: Fly the flag in your store
To get involved, the organisers recommend that you:
Increase your stock of British food. British Food Fortnight (BFF) is a good time to introduce your customers to new products. They say that 84% of new lines of food and drink stocked for British Food Fortnight promotions are retained afterwards
Highlight British food with pos material using the BFF logo or the Union Jack. Decorate your store with bunting and display the BFF poster
Offer tastings to promote British food and invite producers into your shop to talk to customers. The organisers of BFF have found that sales of products offered for tastings increase by more than 50% during the event
Get your store listed on the BFF website and included in information sent to the media by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or by calling 020 7840 9292.
Quaker is at the heart of brand owner PepsiCo’s vision to become a business whose growth will come from healthier products and more sustainable practices. As part of this, its Cupar site will become carbon neutral. The leftover husks from the oat plants used to make Quaker Oats are now being used to generate energy for the entire site.
Scottish company Robert Wiseman Dairies’ Black and White range has been boosted in recent years by the addition of regional labels. There are five in the series so far: Grampian; Milk from Scotland; West Country; Cornish; and the more recently introduced Milk from Wales.
The company says the regional labels help retailers meet the increasing demand for produce with local provenance. Sales and marketing director Sandy Wilkie explains: “Research tells us that consumers are actively looking to buy local produce that explains where it has been sourced, and they want this without paying more they want value and values.
“By offering milk which clearly states its source, we are adding value to the Wiseman range, which can then be passed on to the consumer.”
When it comes to bread, Warburtons prides itself on being Britain’s biggest branded baker. Marketing controller Megan Harrison says: “The Warburtons brand is synonymous with the British baking industry, renowned as a family business with more than 135 years’ experience. By the nature and scale of our business we use more British wheat than any other bread brand in the UK. But unlike most bakers, we don’t just buy flour we take great care in choosing to work with farmers who share our passion and commitment to producing quality wheat responsibly.
“We have been working with a network of more than 300 British farmers through our relationship with Openfield, Britain’s leading grain marketing and arable input co-operative. Our relationship with Openfield which is in its 12th year is worth more than £172m to British farming and, as part of our support of the UK farming industry, we have committed to increase our level of investment to £312m over the next five years.”
Premier Foods’ Hovis began using flour milled from 100% British wheat across its whole portfolio last year (except products baked in Northern Ireland) and earlier this year it ran limited-edition patriotic packaging across its soft white range of loaves. This activity was supported by a TV advertising campaign that emphasised the 100% British Wheat claim on the soft white range.
From bread to butter, and Country Life is running a ‘Proud to buy British’ initiative on its website (www.enjoycountrylife.co.uk). Consumers have to click on a button to pledge that they are proud to ‘buy British’. Upon doing this, they will receive an exclusive Country Life recipe and those who tell their family and friends about the pledge, and get them to join in, will be entered into a prize draw to win a trip to a top cookery school. When Convenience Store made its pledge, so had 76,496 other consumers!
retailer’s viewAtul Sodha
“We do loads of stuff to support British Food Fortnight. Last year we organised a barbecue tasting day, where we sold a range of British meats marinated in a homemade sauce. We stuck British Food Fortnight posters up in store, advertised online and in the local newspaper, and we promoted the tasting day through word of mouth.
“Our sales on that one day were up £400, and sales on the first week of British Food Fortnight were up £1,000! We sold 25 bottles of the marinade in three hours, plus customers wanted to make their own so sales of the ingredients rose significantly, too.
“I think people like British food because of the heritage and the pride. There’s also the belief that it’s better quality. I think there’s more national pride than ever nowadays. Put simply, you’d be silly not to get involved in British Food Fortnight.”
Atul Sodha, Peverells Londis, Uxbridge, Middlesex
Bannisters’ Farm uses only British potatoes for its frozen baked potatoes range. Commercial director Zoe Bannister says: “Our packaging clearly indicates this with the Union Jack and ‘British Potatoes’ emblazoned across it. Being British is an integral part of our brand. The Bannister family has been farming on the Yorkshire Wolds for more than 100 years. We are passionate about wholesome, good food and with our products we hope to unite traditional values with the requirements of busy modern life.”
She believes that in tough economic times, consumers are keen to help support the local and national economy by buying British.
She adds: “I also think that consumers are aware of the rigorous quality standards that British companies have to adhere to, and by buying British they are reducing the food miles a product travels.
“There is a growing interest in the small producer, something with a point of difference, and I believe that we at Bannisters’ Farm have just that delicious products from a small family business with generations of farming heritage.
“In recent years there has been a lot of publicity over the state of British farming, and the fact that we have successfully diversified from farming but still think like farmers (because we still are) seems to appeal.”
Ones to watch…
Copella English apple juice has teamed up with conservationist Dr David Bellamy and The National Trust for the ‘Plant & Protect’ campaign. This encourages consumers to support the brand in its mission to preserve rare apple varieties.
tel: 0118 930 6666
Made by hand
Image On Food has revamped packaging of its all-British gingerbread treats for better standout. All products are handmade and hand-decorated. New packaging includes a swing tag and stamp label.
tel: 0845 095 1270
All the blackcurrants used to make Ribena drinks are sourced from expert British growers, some of whom have worked with Ribena for more than 60 years. Brand owner GlaxoSmithKline says this ensures the crops are of the highest quality.
tel: 08702 415132
Bannisters’ Farm’s Potato Crush is now stocked by Nisa-Today’s. Made with British baby potatoes crushed with onions, olive oil, pepper and parsley, it aims to provide an alternative to chips or mash.
tel: 01262 605650
Walkers sources 100% of its potatoes from British farmers and works in partnership with them to minimise their impact on the environment. Over the next five years, Walkers owner PepsiCo plans to reduce this impact by 50%.
tel: 0118 930 6666