Local Flavours 2013 - Buyers flock to do business with local food and drink producers.

Published: 13 Sep 2013

Over 400 business people from catering, hospitality, tourism and retail with purchasing responsibilities for food and drink, turned out on a very wet September day to taste the flavours presented by nearly 60 local producers from the Eastern region. 
The event took place at Honingham Thorpe Farms the site of the proposed Norfolk Food Hub. The quality and diversity of food and drink on display and for tasting included some very individual tastes from established producers as well as some in the early stages of their business venture.  
The 400 attendees included large national and international caterers and retailers as well as some of the small individual shops and deli's found locally. Whether the exhibitor was looking for national distribution or to supply someone closer to home there was potential in the marquee for everyone.  
The Lively Crew, a local events company, created the idea from a conversation with a national retailer looking to source local produce. Sponsors and associates were carefully chosen from businesses and organisations who had a passion for supporting local businesses and included, 
Anglia farmers 
Honingham Thorpe Farms 
The East of England Co-op 
Federation of Small Businesses 
Norfolk County Council 
South Norfolk County Council 
Breckland Council 
Broadland Council 
The East of England Co-op has always supported local producers. Three of their buyers attended the event and spent the day meeting potential new suppliers as well as existing ones. 
Kevin Warden, Local Sourcing Manager at the East of England Co-op, said: "As a local community based retailer we are proud of the fantastic food and produce available on our doorstep. We're always looking to establish new relationships to grow our Sourced Locally initiative and this event gave us the opportunity to do just that. On the day itself we were able to provide immediate support to the local businesses with tips on marketing, branding and distribution. We've also taken away a 
lot of interesting contacts and will explore opportunities to work together in the future as we continue to increase the range of home-grown and locally-made products available on our shelves." 
The Federation of Small Business has recently launched their Keep Trade Local" campaign. Several FSB producer members where exhibiting on the day. The FSB sponsored the event as part of their "Keep Trade Local" campaign. Several FSB members exhibited at the event and the FSB support was well received. "A very well conceived and executed event, bringing local food producers to the attention of local, regional and national buyers" Martin Lake, Chair Mid Norfolk FSB.  
Many of the stand holders have already followed up contacts and have secured orders. Feedback has been encouraging and orders placed will be measured to see what contribution the event has made to the local economy.  
Stand Holder feedback from Local Flavours 2013  
"We thought that it was a very well organised event and good for local businesses and its small artisan producers. We met some good contacts". Rupert Farquharson, Woodfordes. 
"We had tremendous interest in our products. It was lovely to talk to other local companies. It was interesting how some suppliers really want to push ahead and go "global" with the supermarkets whilst others want to stay as local artisan/speciality supply. Local Flavours provided a platform for both". Julie Ecclestone, Traditional Norfolk Poultry.  
"We were pleasantly surprised by the number of "quality" people that came. They were serious buyers and not serious samplers as some shows. Really good for networking and for renewing acquaintances. Good to also see what other food producers are out there. We have added to our suppliers too because of the show". Paul Bayfield, Bushell's Bakery.  
Visitor feedback from Local Flavours 2013 
"Congratulations to everyone involved in yesterday's event. We appreciated being able to see and talk to many of the local suppliers and found it very beneficial". Julie & Alex, Green House Hotel.  
"The weather was rubbish but the atmosphere was fantastic you had some really good quality stalls. Sue Plummer" Light House Inn. 
Early indication suggests that Local Flavours will become an annual event with many producers and attendees already on the invite list for 2014.

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