Dragons’ Den for food producers
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