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We Deliver Local visits the Farm Shop and Deli Show 2014 at Birmingham NEC

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On Wednesday I travelled down to Birmingham to visit the Farm Shop and Deli Show (www.farmshopanddelishow.co.uk).  The event is set up to help grow independent farm shops, delicatessens, artisan food outlets and much more. The show is a fabulous initiative for the sector and offers the best way to reach out to distributors, suppliers, big chain supermarkets and more.

 

After an arduous journey on the M6, I was pleased to arrive at the show in one piece and was immediately overwhelmed with the plethora of stalls.   It took a while to get orientated and after wandering around many sausage making machines and cake making robots, I finally found the farm shop and deli section. This can only be described as a melee of free samples and business owners pitching their wares to the hungry delegates.  With products at every level, from subway to micro breweries.  Unfortunately, I had to pass up on the tremendous array of ales on choice as I was driving.  Next time I will be sure to book a hotel.

 

After a few hours wandering the stands and talking to the various producers, innovators and services available at the event, a number of thoughts were playing on my consciousness. Firstly the event seemed to have eliminated what it was intended for.  Aside from the Food in Wales stand which I assume was funded by the Welsh government, very few local suppliers had made it to the even.  I put this down to the high cost of a stand, something like £2000 for a phone box sized pitch. Really the event was crammed with producers that had already factory size production lines, independent producers and local shops were very few and far between. I actually only met one pork pie producer who actually made his own pies!

 

This wasn’t a disappointment as such, but more of an insight as to how our food is purveyed nationwide, with huge national distribution for products and networks of chain superstores. I could only wonder at what this event may have been like years ago.

 

I spoke to many of the stands throughout the day.  One consensus amongst the producers was that not enough shops and store owners, who would seek to stock their goods, were present at the event.  Many of the free samples had gone to a variety of sales people wandering the stands selling everything from insurance to social media marketing.

 

I did enjoy the event and it gave me a really good insight into the industry.  Talks by leading professionals were very useful, and I met people who were trading their service and goods at all levels; from directors of ASDA to Welsh Cheese producers.  I would recommend attending if you are business looking to gain national exposure, however this is not an artisan market.

 

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Opened in 2011. We Deliver Local provide out customers with a service where they can get fresh local produce delivered straight to their front door, offering the ease of supermarket shopping and at the same time helping local business in the community. Fresh grocery deliveries and organic food from farm shops and local businesses.

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