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How Retailers can take part

How Retailers can take part

Why take part?

Whether you are a large retail chain or a small independent shop, taking part in British Food Fortnight - the biggest national promotion of British Food - increases sales. You can attract new customers, increase spending from existing customers and establish a point of difference between your company and those that stock and serve only mainstream products.

Promotions during previous British Food Fortnights have proved that the event has a serious impact on sales. Retailers have reported 34% increases as a direct result of the event. Every year, small, medium-sized and major retailers take part with tastings, meet-the-producer events and special offers, all enjoying the commercial benefits that participation brings.

You don’t have to restrict yourselves to British Food Fortnight either. By sourcing and promoting British food in your store(s) year-round, you are showing that you are serious about food sourcing and provenance, and are helping the British economy as well as helping yourselves.

“Today’s consumer wants value when they are shopping or eating out and value is no longer just about price. Increasingly people want tasty, fresh, healthy, seasonal, local, regionally-distinct foods with visible traceability back to the producer – all distinctive qualities of British food.” Alexia Robinson, Founder, British Food Fortnight.  

Hot tips for maximising sales during British Food Fortnight

Look at your existing stock. Is any of it British? Atul Sodha runs Londis Peverills in Middlesex and had not realised how much local food and drink he already sold. Fresh fruit pies and fillings for ‘Breakfast Baps’ were all local but he had not previously promoted them as such.

  • Just because you know that the food and drink you stock is British, don’t assume that your customers do! Retailer Paul Delves in Ludlow has been supporting local produce for more than 25 years but didn’t shout about it until taking part in British Food Fortnight.
  • Expand the range of regional food that you stock. British Food Fortnight is a good time to launch new products. 84% of new lines of food and drink stocked for British Food Fortnight promotions are retained afterwards.
  • Look for new suppliers close to home: Helen Saunders launched ‘fair deal’ milk, cream and live yoghurts in her shop, Capers, buying direct from a local dairy farmer.
  • Highlight British food in-store with POS material using the British Food Fortnight logo or a Union Jack.
  • Rather than just use the term ‘local’, name the producers and farms. If you are unable to specify producers or farms by name then use generic phrases such as ‘All the meat sold comes from within 30 miles of this shop.’
  • Create a display of British food and drink in your shop window and/or on a table positioned in a prominent place so that customers can see the British products available when they walk in. A display is also a useful draw for the media as it creates a talking point and is easily photographed.
  • Keep customers informed about new produce with a monthly newsletter. Offer tastings to promote British food.
  • Run an in-store promotion or tasting of new or existing products in your shop. Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe in Melton Mowbray gives free pork pie samples in the shop throughout the Fortnight and even goes out onto the street offering samples.
  • Cross-sell. If you organise a tasting for regional cheeses then match these with different chutneys or cheese biscuits.
  • Invite producers into your shop. Retailers report that sales of products offered for tasting double when the producer is in-store.
  • Position a board either in your window or outside the store telling customers which products are being tasted.
  • Use British Food Fortnight as a catalyst for building long-term opportunities with other businesses and suppliers.
  • Start small but think big! A greengrocer in West Yorkshire delivered fruit and veg to schools and gave pupils talks during British Food Fortnight. He has since won a three year contract to supply fruit and veg to 30 schools in the area.
  • Launch a healthy lunch box service for school children, regional food hampers for tourists, special occasion hampers for presents or seasonal packed lunches for office workers to grab on their way to work.
  • And for the ambitious…develop your own range of food with local producer partners: ice cream with dairy farmers, crisps with potato farmers, pies, patés and ready-made meals with local meat, quiches with local eggs. 

Working with Schools – your customers of the Future

In addition to the commercial reasons for taking part in British Food Fortnight, we invite you to use the national celebration as an opportunity to be proactive in educating young people about British food.

Schools must now incorporate cookery and food-related topics into their curriculum and are advised to seek help from local retailers and chefs to achieve this. So, chances are, there is a school waiting to hear from YOU! The best people to make the young aware of the diverse and delicious food that Britain has to offer are those who sell it.

Many retailers and caterers organise activities for schools every year during British Food Fortnight. Here are tips for working with schools based on their experiences, and some examples of what some retailers have achieved.

  • Host a class visit in your shop: the theme of this year’s British Food Fortnight school activities is teaching children how to shop beyond the sweet shelves. Give children a tour of your shop explaining where food comes from. Send them home with a shopping list of healthy lunch box recommendations to give to their parents.
  • Give a talk in your local school: food can be incorporated into most curriculum subjects. For example, for Primary school children: take in boxes of food and ask children to name the fruit or vegetable, different types of cheese etc. and guess the number of food miles; for Secondary school children: give them advice on making their snacks more healthy and interesting; tell them the history of food production and retail in your area; or discuss the economics of running a food shop.
  • Help set up a fresh food tuck shop in your local school: you supply the food; the school runs the shop!
  • Run a competition for children: competitions are always a success. Butchers: design a burger recipe that will be sold in your shop. Greengrocers: create point-of-sale signs showing the food miles of different produce. General stores: ‘Did you know’ Q&A where children have to go round the shop to find the answers. Give cinema tickets or DVD vouchers to the winner.
  • Donate ingredients for school cookery lessons: all schools are invited to teach children how to cook during British Food Fortnight. Donating ingredients will provide a valuable service to your community and will win customer loyalty from parents.
  • Think about children when planning your sales promotions: child-friendly promotions will encourage parents to visit your store. Some shops have invited a cow to their cheese tastings and staff in urban shops have dressed up in cow costumes!
  • Year 6 students from Portsmouth Grammar School took a trip to Buckwell’s butcher’s shop in Southsea. The children were shown pictures of pigs on a farm and then the raw sausage ingredients of pork, seasoning and rusk. The ingredients were then minced and they helped put the mix into natural casings with a nozzle before butcher John Buckwell twisted them into links of chipolatas. Teacher Jane Low said, “Visits to Buckwell’s gives pupils the opportunity to see the processing of raw ingredients”.
  • The Field to Kitchen food hall at Dobbies Garden World in Atherstone opened its doors to the Year 6 class from St Gabriel’s R.C. Primary School in Tamworth which went along to learn all about how our food is produced. “It was absolutely brilliant, the children got so much out of it”, said class teacher Sharon Collier. Children spent the morning learning how vegetables such as parsnips, beetroot and carrots are peeled and the shavings are turned into vegetable crisps and helping the butcher make sausages and beef burgers. They were also taught about wheat grain being turned into bread and cakes.
  • As well as holding tasting sessions in the store, butchers from George Adams and Sons went to Weston Hills CofE Primary School to teach pupils about food hygiene and how to make Cornish pasties.
  • Children from Charing CE Primary School visited Charing Market and were treated to lemon cake and scones with marmalade or jam. Teacher Niki Paterson said, “The whole school has visited the market and the kids really enjoy themselves. They’re very animated and very noisy. It looks like bedlam but it just means that are excited by it all”. Edith Darvill, Chairman of Charing Market, said, “The children just love it. It’s wonderful to see them so fascinated”.
  • Staff from the Budgens store in Woodston delivered a lorry load of fresh fruit and vegetables for a day of lessons and activities about the benefits of eating fresh produce at St Augustine’s Junior School in Woodston. Year 4 teacher Jean Asher said the day was a hit with pupils, “Budgens kindly supplied us with apples, pears, carrots and other produce that had been grown in Britain. The children tried the items after lunch and the big box of fruit and veg soon disappeared.” 

Sourcing British food

Increasingly consumers want to know how their food and drink is produced and where it comes from. Sourcing products that are part of assurance schemes is a powerful way of demonstrating that you are selling or 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:

Who has taken part?

A huge range of retailers take part every year – below are a selection of highlights which we hope will inspire you! 

SPAR UK launched promotions in 2,200 of its stores across the country, in support of British Food Fortnight. SPAR retailers were sent British Food Fortnight POS including lollipop cards, balloons, posters and shelf barkers to theme and decorate any local and British produce in store. Rebecca Whitmore, Marketing Manager at SPAR UK, said, “British Food Fortnight offered a fantastic opportunity for SPAR retailers across the UK to showcase the great quality of British food they provide in their stores. During this exciting summer, thanks to our partnership with Love British Food, SPAR UK retailers have had the chance to celebrate the best of British by running promotions in their stores and highlighting their extensive ranges of high quality British food.”

Tesco signed up to become an official partner of the campaign and ran Love British Food promotions across its stores. Tesco displayed the Love British Food logo across their Season's Best range and sales of local and regional food at Tesco soared to over £1billion for 2011/12 and well over half of Tesco customers are now buying more local food than they were five years ago. Sarah Mackie, Head of Local Sourcing said, “The popularity of British foods, and in particular local foods, continues to grow. We’re proud to be the leading retailer for local foods, and we’re really pleased to be supporting Love British Food. We have 5 regional buying offices across the UK and we work to ensure we have the right local products in our stores for our customers to enjoy”.

Whole Foods Market in Kensington, tempted customers with a range of British Food Fortnight promotions. They offered samples of Cheddar Gorge cheese, Righteous salad dressing, Tyrrells new crisp flavours, Attitude drinks, Delamere goats cheese and milk, and Pulsin' healthy snacks.

Hovis baked a 3,300lb bread and butter pudding at the Hovis test bakery in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. The record-breaking dessert weighed in at 3,300lb and measured 7ft by 5ft. A team of 7 bread experts from Hovis worked for 49 hours to prepare and bake the giant pudding.

Harrods put the spotlight on EU Protected Foods of Britain for British Food Fortnight, with a series of tasting events and exclusive recipes on offer in the Food Halls. Last year they also ran huge promotions during British Food Fortnight. For two weeks, the historic Food Halls were transformed into a haven for small, independent British suppliers, while eight of Harrods renowned restaurants featured dishes created by chef Valentine Warner, bursting with the finest and freshest British ingredients.

Premier Food's website, Great Little Ideas,championed the Sunday lunch for British Food Fortnight! They offered customers loads of recipe ideas to help create a Sunday lunch to be proud of.

BHS Stores across the UK shouted British is best during British Food Fortnight by store promotions, instore radio talks, and through daily promotions in The Daily Mirror newspaper.

Tyrrells, launches a trio of Great Britain flavours (Welsh rarebit, Beef Wellington and Pork and Apple) to coincide with the first day of British Food Fortnight.

Sainsbury's has released a British classic range of ready meals and a British autumn roasts campaign for British Food Fortnight.

Morrison's participates with great gusto with Best of British activities throughout their stores, British Food Fortnight recipe cards, food preparation demonstrations and in-store food tasting. 

"As the only retailer to sell British beef, pork and lamb, British Food Fortnight is an important date in Morrison's calendar. We use the opportunity to get our customers tasting fresh British produce in store and found the event to be extremely successful in helping communicate our values." A spokesperson for Morrisons.

Asda put up British Food Fortnight banners in the car parks and mentioned the British Food Fortnight promotions on the website. Moreover, they included ‘Love British Food’ stickers on all turkey products.

"British Food Fortnight was a phenomenal success with Asda's customers, particularly with our meat, chilled and seasonal produce offers." Paul Dover, Customer Planning Manager, Asda

Budgens is a hugely enthusiastic participant in British Food Fortnight. Many Budgens stores run special British promotions, tasting and special offers during the national food promotion. Budgens also encourages its retailers to work with local schools to help children learn about healthy British food. One year they asked children to design flags for a competition on the theme of Best of British Food. The flags were put together to form bunting which was then hung in each store. 

“So many people turned up to our British Food Fortnight event that we couldn't fit them all inside the store!” Kanna Mahunda, store owner, Budgens, Stoneleigh 

“What's really exciting is that we've seen a clear increase in sales as a result of British Food Fortnight.” Lucy Worrall, Marketing Manager for Warner's Budgens.

Country Life butter conducted a survey as part of the celebrations to mark British Food Fortnight. The survey highlighted the differences between traditional ‘Britishness’ and the modern equivalent. More than half of the people questioned said they think that the Union Flag and afternoon tea symbolise traditional Britain.

Lola's Cupcakes offered customers a British Food Fortnight cupcake box, featuring an assortment of vanilla with a union jack and sticky toffee cupcakes topped with chocolate crunch.

Hillfarm Oil held a British Food Fortnight Flash Mob at Bury St Edmunds Shopping Centre. There were around 30 dancers wearing Hillfarm / British Food Fortnight t-shirts.

Cottage Delight celebrated all things British with their delicious collection of traditional foods inspired by British Classics for Love British Food. The range included Sherry Trifle Jam, Spiced Damson Chutney and sauce for Fish & Chips. Cottage Delight also released a new preserves and blended tea set as a special offer to celebrate British Food Fortnight.

Cheese Cellar held a British Cheese Championship for customers during the event. They ran the competition in two categories, Best British cheese board and Best British counter, and the winners received a hamper of British goodies!

Modern History launched a free recipe book including classic home-grown dishes from the North West from the Industrial Revolution era for British Food Fortnight. The book featured dishes inspired by some of the region's finest industrial heritage attractions, with gutsy traditional fare like Pig's Head Brawn, Black Pudding and Rabbit Stew, plus treats such as Jam Tart, Manchester Marmalade, Borrowdale Tea Bread and Rag Pudding.

Forman and Fields in London has held an open day at their east London premises for British Food Fortnight. Attendees had the chance to take part in a range of activities for instance artisan producers gave demonstrations and talks and the ‘Producer Market’ offered tastings of gourmet foods.

Docky's Delicatessen in Bath hosts special tasting events to highlight the wealth and diversity of locally produced foods. They also gave customers the chance to enter a free prize draw to win a beautiful hamper of regional produce.

Denny Abbey Farmland Museum in Cambridge held a harvest-themed event with a range of demonstrations and tasters to mark British Food Fortnight. Activities included butter and cottage cheese-making; the chance to make flour; lots of stalls selling everything from homemade preserves to locally-brewed cider.

Sid Ali, who runs the Nisa Local store in Mintlaw, Aberdeenshire, planned a barbeque, product tastings and plenty of special offers. The local butcher who supplies all the meat showed customers how to barbeque meat properly and what cuts to use.

Bury Lane Farm Shop in Herts became a Love British Food member in 2012 and offered customers special promotions, decorating the store red white and blue for the occasion!

Windy Arbour Farm in Wigan celebrated British Food Fortnight with a number of tasting and meet the producer events. Events included a home made cake tasting; a meet the grower event with John Midgeley showcasing his lettuce, celeriac and fennel; a cheese and chutney tasting; and a meet the butcher event with David Green demonstrating the cutting of a variety of joints.

Riverford Organic Veg organised a competition to find the street that was in the most need for a vegetable makeover. The winning street received cooking lessons from an expert chef and was invited to a party where Riverford's cooks served up meals for everyone who took part.

Hungersheath Farm Shop in Shropshire held a tasting to celebrate British Food Fortnight. Products offered included home-made burgers and sausage, as well as home-grown autumn raspberries and home made jams. A goat meat producer was also instore for the two days offering samples.

The Lancashire Food Hall offered customers the chance to join a unique cooking club as part of its British Food Fortnight celebrations. County Harvest in Carnforth launched the new venture - which gives members discounts on various seasonal products each month.

Buttercross Farm in Shropshire celebrated British Food Fortnight with an open day. The day consisted of food demonstrations, tastings, a barbecue and even a welly wanging competition.

Wales the True Taste Trailer bought award-winning food and tasty tips to shoppers at Tesco stores across North Wales. The assembly government owned mobile demonstration unit featured a host of winning products from the Wales True Taste Food and Drink Awards at Llanelli.

Croots Farm Shop in Derbyshire hosted a design a sausage competition throughout the whole of British Food Fortnight for two categories (12 years of age and under, and adults). Over 50 entries were received and the winners included Buck in the Park (a venison sausage marinated in stout with garlic and redcurrants) and Ketchup Sausage (a pork based banger flavoured with red sauce).

Home Farm in Northamptonshire invited local producers and consumers to join a food tasting celebration. Visitors sampled sausages and enjoyed jams. They also got to speak to local food producers including Duncan Farrington, a farmer from Hargrave who owns Farrington Oils.

Complete Meats offered a British Food Fortnight tasting day as part of their activities. They got local meat producers and a chap from Quickes cheese to come along to present their produce. The event achieved a 30-40% increase in takings on the day even with a 10% discount on everything.

Crantock Bakery in Cornwall ran sessions about food production and nutrition for more than 240 children, aged five to seven, at Newquay's Trenance Infant School.

Cumbrian chef John Crouch took produce from Cranston's Cumbrian Food Hall to cook up a special evening at the Penrith store. The event raised £800 for NSPCC.

Haverfordwest Farmer Market combined the best of seasonal local produce with British Food Fortnight. There were cookery demonstrations, recipe ideas and tastings – including the chance to sample freshly cooked ware from Chef John Quilters food on his tour around UK farmers markets for UKTV. The festival also held several competitions such as Do You Know Your Herbs Quiz and Food Miles Challenge.

Sherston Post Office and Shop are hugely imaginative every year during British Food Fortnight. They offer two weeks of free samples, special offers and tastings with locally sourced bacon rolls and always have fun activities such as win a local hamper or parking a tractor outside their shop to highlight farm produce.

Shrewsbury Market Hall came up with a range of mouth-watering recipe ideas to show customers that home-grown, seasonal food is cheap, healthy, tasty and easy to prepare.

Powters in Suffolk offered readers of the Journal newspaper the chance to win a food hamper worth £75. Content included Welsh Black rib eye steaks as well as Newmarket sausages.

Brown and Green in Staffordshire organised a range of in store tastings events for British Food Fortnight. They showcased a range of game meat, alongside recipe suggestions and cookery guidance; organised a British cheese week; celebrated the new apple harvest with various varieties of fruit, as well as juices, ciders and chutneys to taste.

The Wolverhampton butcher, Robinsons, employed a full time butcher for the Granary who was supported by a team of ten specialists from the Tettenhall shop to create an exciting calendar of events to support British Food Fortnight. The store offered taster sessions, sausage making workshops, joint carving demonstrations and preparation tips for the festive season.

Ebworth Estate organised a walk around the estate looking at livestock and wildlife, followed by an opportunity to taste and buy Ebworth lamb and beef.

Meadowsweet Farm in Somerset promoted locally-produced food with different goodies to taste each day during British Food Fortnight.

Tulley Farm in Sussex cooked up some apple treats and Kate Moore, advisor to celebrity chefs, performed a cookery demonstration in the courtyard. Local suppliers were given the opportunity to showcase their produce such as cheeses, pates, sauces and teas and children enjoyed autumn crafts, games and of course, apple bobbing.

Staff at Sanders Garden World, Wyevale Garden Centre, Hare Hatch and The Food Market handed out free samples of chutney, onion marmalade and mustard and encouraged customers to grow their own food during British Food Fortnight. The centres also offered free practical advice on growing your own as part of the Wyevale family of garden centre's Get Growing in the Autumn campaign.

La Hogue Farm Shop in Chippenham had Tractor Ted (the popular children's character who tells stories of how farming and food production takes place) visit as part of British Food Fortnight. 50 of the region's food producers and farmers attended the event, enabling the public to talk to them face to face about their products try free tasting Event included Guernsey cows from Suffolk Farm House Cheeses, quails from Top Farm, live breeding snails from Rutland as well as competitions and children activities. 

British Food Fortnight is an excellent opportunity to promote the wealth of fantastic food producers we have locally and within East Anglia. The Producer Fayre is a hugely popular regional event which has grown enormously in only three years.” Chris Reeks, owner of La Hogue Farm Shop.

Greengate Deli in Stafford enticed customers to buy British by offering samples of a range of its products, including pates, cheeses and fruit. Visitors were allowed to try three different products every day and the treats were listed on a sandwich board outside the deli. The deli also made sure that at least one of their hot specials every day was totally British in its ingredients.

Country networking group Shropshire Rural Hub organised two local producer markets in conjunction with Walford & North Shropshire College.

Free samples of food from South West-based producers were on offer to people visiting Whitehall Garden Centre in Norton Lane, Whitchurch. The aim was to highlight the suppliers that the garden centre works with to stock their locally-produced food in the garden centre.

Millets Farm Centre in Oxfordshire gave away a piece of home-grown fruit to each children with every purchase made throughout the Fortnight and the two weeks culminated in a British food weekend bazaar with cooking demonstrations and tractor and trailer rides.

Atul Sodha, owner of Peverells, a Londis store in Uxbridge, Middlesex, worked with his suppliers to offer different meal time suggestions and different stages of the day. He put together a ‘hot box’ with sausages, bacon, eggs, black pudding a hash brown for breakfast and then promoted curry and Aberdeen Angus steak pies for the evening. Atul says that as a businessman British Food Fortnight is about making money and his advice is to give people a small taste of a product to encourage them to make a purchase.

Bolton Market invited the local chef Phil Ogden to demonstrate the Best of British Cookery. Bolton Market Traders offered Phil fresh British salmon and rabbit, from which Phil rustled up a very tasty Pan-fried Salmon & Rabbit Stew! The event was a great success and enjoyed by traders and members of the public alike.

Coopers of Stortford staged a farmers’ market inside its shop. Producers came from within a 50-mile radius of the shop to set up stalls and local restaurant chef cooked up taster samples for waitresses to hand out.

At Budgens Fakenham owners Brett and Maria Corder kicked off the fortnight with a British tasting day. Brett and Maria said: “We wanted to support the British Food Fortnight because we stock a good range of regional products. The locally-made Broadland sausages did really well. We normally sell about 12 packets a week but during the first two hours we sold eight packets and then doubled the sales that week."

Sunrise Organics offered a 10% discount on any one of their veg boxes when ordered with their new range of meats.

Children who visited Auberge du Chocolat in Gerrards Cross were challenged to a quiz based on the food stocked there, while their parents tried spiced apple drink, lemon meringue pie and honey from Gerrards Cross.

Cheesemongers Paxton & Whitfield in Stratford tried to get as many local cheeses into the store as possible for British Food Fortnight and even invited some of the cheese-makers into the store for tasting sessions too.

Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe in Melton Mowbray gave free pork pie samples in the shop throughout the Fortnight and in the street on the Tuesdays and Saturdays.

Local cheese expert Kath Gigg of The Cheese Gig teamed up with The Green Dragon pub in Combe St Nicholas to give cheese lovers the opportunity to sample a selection of delicious West Country varieties. The event raised money for a new classroom planned for the local school.

Longborough Farm Shop laid on special tastings of award-winning products from chutneys to chicken pie. Customers had a chance to win a hamper of food goodies in a special sandwich recipe competition devised by the shop.

Amerton Farm and Craft Centre in Staffordshire launched a new food purchasing policy during British Food Fortnight. The policy is to ensure that the majority of food purchased for use in the tearoom, farm shop, dairy and play barn is sourced from Staffordshire, or within a radius of 40 miles from the Amerton site.

Helen Saunders launched ‘fair deal’ milk, cream and live yoghurts in her shop, Capers. She buys the range direct from local dairy farmer Don Ingles of nearby Hayway Farm.

St Pancras International celebrated British Food Fortnight by tempting travellers and visitors alike with a variety of mouth-watering events. From Champagne and Oyster tastings with the St Pancras Grand to live masterclasses from the station's fresh market Sourced as well as literary talks about how food has inspired writers over the years, there was something at the station for all food fans.

Download the PDF: Involve Children