How Councils can take part
Many Councils take part in British Food Fortnight every year using the event as an opportunity to showcase healthy eating and local food promotion initiatives. Below you will find ideas for how your Council can take part in the national food promotion.
Use British Food Fortnight to link with Sure Start Children’s Centres
Many chef associations, catering organisations, catering colleges and other organisations volunteer the services of their staff and members to work with schools and other childrens organisations, including Sure Start Children's Centres. As a result, parents using the centres can being taught how to cook, where to buy healthy food and how to incorporate seasonal produce into their family's meals leading up to a British Food Fortnight Feast in each centre during the event. Our Schools pages provide details of organisations that can help you link with chefs and examples of British Food Fortnight activities in Sure Start Children's Centres include:
Everton Children’s Centre, Liverpool: Gerard, a local chef, held two classes for lone mums on how to produce different meals using all British, low cost ingredients. The classes were a success with over 20 attendees. He then worked with 5 classes of 8 children (aged 3-5) on how to make fresh spaghetti with British wheat. “On the strength of what has been done I have been asked by the centre to do some more cookery sessions for the fathers club. It has been a great success!” Gerard O'Sullivan, chef undertaking the project at Everton Children's Centre.
London: A centre in South East London ran three cooking lessons for parents leading up to the British Food Fortnight Feast. Parents learnt how to prepare a range of dishes from carrot cake to British turkey jambalaya. Classes were flexible to attend and this enabled more parents to get involved as they could drop in when it suited them. The final food feast was extremely successful and attracted over 50 guests.
Use British Food Fortnight to increase the uptake of school meals
British Food Fortnight is proven to help Councils increase the number of pupils eating school meals.
“The number of children eating school meals in Shropshire Primary Schools increased by 20% as a result of the British Food Fortnight menu we ran.” Bill Campbell, Operations Manager, Shropshire School Meal Service.
Oxfordshire Council doubled the number of children eating school meals with their British Food Fortnight menu. Roast beef with Yorkshire pudding and English trifle were both on the menus primary schools across Oxfordshire. Oxfordshire County Council's school catering service, Food with Thought, developed special menus to celebrate traditional food from around Britain. Over 80% of Oxfordshire's primary schools took part in the event and they saw their school lunch numbers increase on these days - some schools event doubled their usual lunch numbers.
Sue Edridge, Food Development Manager, Oxfordshire County Council said, "Schools in Oxfordshire had a fantastically successful British Food Fortnight - the number of children eating school meals doubled in some schools.”
Use British Food Fortnight to teach everyone about healthy eating
Organise a British Food Fortnight healthy eating competition for all the schools in your borough!
The London Borough of Hammersmith & Fulham ran a borough-wide competition during British Food Fortnight challenging primary schools to come up with recipes for fruit and vegetable smoothie drinks. 17 primary schools took part in the Smoothiethon.
Councillor David Williams said, “This was a fun way for children to learn about healthy eating and the variety of fruit and vegetables.”
Sandra Martin, learning mentor at Wormholt Park Primary School said, “We tried out lots of different smoothie recipes over the two weeks. The children preferred the fruit to the vegetables though a lot of them were surprised how good the vegetables drinks tasted.”
Use British Food Fortnight to encourage local retailers and chefs to team up with local schools
Many retailers and caterers organise activities for schools every year and schools must now incorporate food education into the curriculum. Perhaps offer a prize to the local chef or retailer who does the most to help improve healthy eating in your schools or cookery demonstrations in your schools, universities and farmer markets to teach members of the public the benefits of healthy eating.
Advice for retailers and caterers on getting involved with schools can be found on our retailers and caterers pages. See how Oxford Waste Partnership organised demonstrations in their local area.
Use British Food Fortnight to Champion local retailers
Taking part in the national food promotion is proven to increase sales for 34%. Some local stores have increased sales by £2,000 as a result of taking part!
Give local food shops, butchers and greengrocers in your Borough special point-of-sale material to draw attention to their stores during the national food promotion and to establish a point of difference between their establishments and out of town stores.
See our retailers pages for advice on how they can take part and maximise British Food Fortnight to their benefit.
Use British Food Fortnight as an opportunity to raise funds for charity
Bradford Council held a British Food Fortnight dinner at Bradford City Hall. The dinner raised £3000 for charity and was attended by Jeanette Orrey, one of the UK's most well-known, widely respected and inspirational experts on school food policy.
Working with the Media
Sourcing British food
Sourcing products that are part of assurance schemes is a powerful way of demonstrating that you are serving quality produce and that it is fully traceable to the producer. British Food Fortnight is an opportunity to find new suppliers, source more sustainably and receive publicity for doing so.
The main ‘umbrella’ assurance schemes are explained on our Logos and Marks page. Some food types and regional food and drink products are part of additional schemes and these are explained on the pages for each specific food:
- Poultry and Poultry Products
- Pork and Pork Products
- Lamb and Mutton
- Fish and Seafood
- Fruit and Vegetables
Some pointers towards sourcing locally are:
- Contact your existing suppliers to see whether the produce they currently supply you with is British.
- Send current and new suppliers a copy of the menu you would like them to supply British food for and invite them to pitch for the business.
- Don’t be put off by prices that initially may seem higher. Buying large volumes can make the whole process affordable.
- Consider forming a partnership with other public organisations to aggregate demand and make savings through bulk purchase.
- Larger suppliers can still provide local produce: be specific when talking to them about what you want and don’t shy away from specifying local products as part of your requirements.
- Involve your client in the sourcing process. If they are concerned about increased costs explain that healthy eating is a hot topic at the moment and their employees/customers will expect them to respond to this. Good food is a corporate benefit!
- Talk to your suppliers to overcome difficulties that may arise if you are a large caterer trying to work with small suppliers. For example, the Youth Hostel Association (YHA) has a purchasing model that enables six Peak District farms to supply meat to one butcher who in turn supplies seven youth hostels in the area.
- Make sure that the relevant internal structures are in place. Nottingham City Hospital started to source milk from a local dairy. The relationship with the dairy itself worked very well but ensuring that the milk was distributed to the different hospital sites required some internal adjustments.
- If fragmented supply is a problem, encourage producers to form a co-operative that better meets your needs.
- Consider forming a partnership with other public organisations to aggregate demand and make savings through bulk purchase.
- Set up a customer group involving the catering team, suppliers and your clients so that expectations are managed on both sides and problems can be easily resolved.
- Buy in-season products that are often available at competitive prices in order to achieve value for money.
How Councils and local initiatives have taken part in British Food Fortnight:
Kent County Council organises Kentish Food Week during the national food promotion in a bid to showcase locally grown produce and traditional Kentish recipes. At least 350 schools in Kent ran a special British Food Fortnight menu prepared by the Council's caterers. The menu included dishes such as Appledore Chicken Pie, Huffkin Rolls and Gypsy Tart. Schools were also invited to participate in a competition to decorate the service areas with pictures of fruit and vegetables.
“There was a significant increase in school meal uptake during the week. This event is widely supported by Head teachers, teaching staff, pupils and parents alike. I would love to see the whole of Kent adopting this. So you’d get pubs that would do Kentish food, also hospitals and hotels. It would be wonderful if that happened.” Mark Sleep, Client Services Manager for Kent County Council.
Halton Council in Cheshire organised a My Halton Foody Fortnight by running a range of activities across the borough with the common themes of food and health. Events included a Artery of Life with 'Fungal Punk' Dave at Runcorn Hill; various Chefs on Stage presentations at Widnes Market; a Great British Food Taster Day across all schools in Halton; and a Quince Garden Walk at Norton Priory.
Sussex Tourism Partnership encouraged over 50 hotels and B&Bs to serve quality Sussex Breakfasts. For instance Netherwood Lodge near Glynde provided guests with a free loaf of freshly baked bread and a pot of local jam, honey or lemon curd to take home; Paskin Town House in Brighton offered a free glass of Sussex bubbly with a smoked salmon and scrambled egg breakfast; Englewood B&B in Chichester offered a free pack of local farm free-range bacon to guests; Longleys Farm Cottage in Hailsham offered three nights for the price of two; free Sussex fruits at the Ambassador Hotel in Brighton and more tasty offers.
The Visit Peak District and Derbyshire Tourist Board used British Food Fortnight to launch a new initiative, Taste Derbyshire, to encourage businesses ranging from take-away food shops to large hotels to guarantee the best possible standards in eating out. There were prize-winning places to eat, special events, food trials, local recipes and much more.
Colchester Borough Council has encouraged residents to think about buying British Food during the Fortnight. Schools in Colchester also support the campaign by running ‘kids cook and serve’ evenings for parents.
Bradford Council is another regular participant. One year they held a dinner at Bradford City Hall to celebrate British Food Fortnight. The dinner raised £3000 for charity and was attended by Jeanette Orrey, one of the UK's most well-known, widely respected and inspirational experts on school food policy.
North Yorkshire Council has used the national food promotion to push ahead with its policy of buying food as fresh and as local as possible. All North Yorkshire schools served top quality local and regional produce for school lunches.
Bolton Council regularly organises activities during British Food Fortnight. For example, budding chefs at Rivington and Blackrod High School and Mount St Joseph have received cooking tips from well-known local chefs to encourage them to develop a taste for British food; shoppers across the area have been given healthy recipe-cards; and students at the University of Bolton Fresher's Fair have received free fruit and vegetables all as part of the Council's Love British Food celebrations.
Oxford Waste Partnership has hosted a series of live cookery demonstrations across the country during the event to try and reduce the 10bn worth of food wasted in the UK each year.
Shropshire County Council uses the national food promotion to give a boost to school meals. They organise a special British Food Fortnight menu for all schools in the county during the event and have enjoyed a tremendous response. “The number of children eating school meals in Shropshire Primary Schools increased by 20% as a result of the British Food Fortnight menu we ran.” Bill Campbell, Operations Manager, Shropshire School Meal Service.
Oxfordshire County Council's school catering service, Food with Thought, have also used the event to increase the uptake of school meals, developing special menus to celebrate traditional food from around Britain. Over 80% of Oxfordshire's primary schools have taken part.
“We had a fantastically successful British Food Fortnight with our Taste a Bite of British Menu; the number of children eating school meals doubled in some schools!” Sue Edridge, Food with Thought Development Manager, Oxfordshire County Council.