Dragons’ Den for food pro­duc­ers

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE -

The Cotswolds, and Glouces­ter­shire in par­tic­u­lar, are home to some of the coun­try’s finest food and drink pro­duc­ers, with ar­ti­san bak­eries, brew­eries and free-range butch­ers to name just a few. The re­gion is renowned for its high-qual­ity pro­duce and truly flies the flag for de­li­ciously Bri­tish food and drink. Now you can be a part of this

The Mid­coun­ties Co-op­er­a­tive Food, which has 52 stores through­out the county, is on the hunt for Glouces­ter­shire’s next big food and drink pro­ducer.

Its Food Glo­ri­ous Food com­pe­ti­tion is look­ing for a prod­uct or idea that re­ally show­cases what makes Glouces­ter­shire food and drink some of the best in Bri­tain and the most in­no­va­tive en­try will re­ceive a £10,000 cash in­vest­ment.

The win­ner will have the chance to see their prod­uct or idea stocked on su­per­mar­ket shelves across the county as part of the re­tailer’s Best of our Coun­ties range and re­ceive busi­ness de­vel­op­ment sup­port and men­tor­ing to en­sure their prod­uct is a suc­cess. As well as this, they will also re­ceive a mar­ket­ing pack­age to help launch the prod­uct into the stores.

How to get in­volved

Af­ter sub­mit­ting a prod­uct or idea via an on­line form, short­listed en­trants will have the chance to pitch to a panel of food and drink ex­perts.

This in­cludes Paul Wil­liamson from Hill­side Brew­ery and Miss Mac­a­roon’s founder Rosie Gin­day, who have worked closely with The Mid­coun­ties Co-op­er­a­tive as they’ve built their busi­nesses to be­come what they are to­day. Both en­trepreneurs’ prod­ucts are stocked as part of the re­tailer’s Best of our Coun­ties range in stores across the Cotswolds.

Longhope-based Hill­side Brew­ery se­cured its first ma­jor list­ing with The Mid­coun­ties Co-op­er­a­tive Food in 2016 and went from be­ing stocked in just one store to over 100 in two years. Di­rec­tor Paul Wil­liamson has worked with the re­tailer over the past few years to grow Hill­side’s range and has re­cently cre­ated a new Glouces­ter­shire-in­spired ale ex­clu­sively for the Best of our Coun­ties range.

“The sup­port we have re­ceived from Mid­coun­ties has been in­stru­men­tal in al­low­ing us to grow our busi­ness, help­ing us to reach ar­eas we would never be able to get to on our own,” says Paul. “I can speak from ex­pe­ri­ence when I say that se­cur­ing in­vest­ment at those early stages can make all the dif­fer­ence. What is per­haps even more use­ful for lo­cal sup­pli­ers and in­di­vid­u­als, how­ever, is the stamp of ap­proval that you re­ceive from be­ing listed by a ma­jor re­tailer and the on­go­ing men­tor­ing and sup­port of­fered by The Mid­coun­ties Co-op­er­a­tive.”

Rosie founded Miss Mac­a­roon through her love for pre­mium qual­ity food, as well as her train­ing as a pas­try chef and ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing in a Miche­lin-starred restau­rant. Her award-win­ning busi­ness cre­ates and sup­plies mod­ern, in­dul­gent mac­a­roons and also sup­ports young peo­ple in break­ing into the in­dus­try.

Best of our Coun­ties

Food Glo­ri­ous Food forms part of The Mid­coun­ties Co-op­er­a­tive’s long-stand­ing ef­forts to supporting lo­cal pro­duc­ers through its Best of our Coun­ties ini­tia­tive, which cham­pi­ons more than 2,500 prod­ucts lo­cally-sourced from 200 pro­duc­ers in the coun­ties they trade in. The com­pe­ti­tion is be­ing run in part­ner­ship with Hartpury Univer­sity and Hartpury Col­lege, Folk2­folk, The Growth Hub and Cotswold Life, and is be­ing sup­ported by the NFU.

Mid­coun­ties’ Group CEO, Phil Pon­sonby, says, “As part of our com­mit­ment to pro­mot­ing and supporting lo­cal pro­duce, we are al­ways on the look­out for ex­cit­ing, in­no­va­tive new ideas. We hope our Food Glo­ri­ous Food ini­tia­tive will en­cour­age the most cre­ative Glouces­ter­shire busi­ness minds to come for­ward.”

If you think you’re Glouces­ter­shire’s next big food and drink pro­ducer, sub­mit your prod­uct or idea via the on­line en­try form by Jan­uary 31 at: www.food­glo­ri­ous­food.coop

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