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Food Entrepreneurs Need a Helping Hand

There are roughly 6,400 micro-, small- and medium-sized food and drink businesses in the UK at present. But while that figure accounts for more than 94% of the entire industry, they only generate just over £20 billion in sales – less than a quarter of £95.4 billion total from the sector.

In order to achieve their full potential and have the market coming to them rather than vice versa, food entrepreneurs need the right help. This includes investment, yes; but just as importantly, industry know-how and experience.

Bread & Butter

In a bid to connect foodies and fledgling companies with investors and help them receive advice and insight from more experienced counterparts, Jason Gibb co-founded the Bread & Butter festival. Marketed as an alternative to the traditional kind of trade show, where suppliers can sometimes become lost in the crowd, Bread & Butter lets individual businesses pitch directly to their target market and receive advice from those who have been there and done it before them.

“I did trade shows for about nine years; you buy an expensive stand and hope that a buyer walks by, but you’re sort of passively sitting there,” Gibb explained. “Most food and drink entrepreneurs admit their skill set isn’t complete but the ones who succeed are the ones who find people and knowledge to fill the gaps.”

Gibb started the festival as a way to encourage growth in the British food sector, by giving innovative wholesale foods distributors and restaurant food suppliers the chance to improve their knowledge and increase their outreach. Sadly, Gibb believes, 90% of food entrepreneurs in the UK don’t make it past the first year of business.

Governmental help

Fortunately, the UK government are taking steps to try and bring that percentage up. Last year, they launched the Food Innovation Network (FIN), with the explicit intention of making the British food market one of the leading competitors in the industry.

The FIN lets agri-food industry professionals access information about best practices and available grant schemes, allowing them to bolster sales and outreach. Over the last decade, food exports have doubled and the government want to see that growth continue.

In particular, they hope that UK food producers can target markets such as the United Arab Emirates, which currently imports over 80% of its consumed produce.

The Great British Larder

With the relentless march of technology comes endless possibilities for growth and innovation. The Great British Larder is dedicated to celebrating and promoting homegrown produce. As an online community of buyers and sellers, it allows local food producers to achieve greater exposure and connect with potential customers like never before.

On the other hand, it also lets everyday consumers find farmer’s markets and artisan food stores near them. By championing the best British food producers and placing an emphasis on the delicious food and drink they cultivate, it pours money back into local communities, reduces food miles and prioritises sustainability.

From farm to fork and pasture to plate, The Great British Larder is a one-stop shop for everyone in the food industry, whether you’re an independent producer, medium-sized company looking to take the next step or just a hungry customer with an empty belly. To learn more about the service and get involved, sign up today.

 

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Jonny Sweet

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