British Food Fortnight is an established annual event celebrating all that is great about food produced here at home. Run by the team behind Love British Food and with the Co-op taking the lead, the Fortnight which this year runs from the 22 Sept-7 Oct brings together people and organisations with a passion for food including large and hospitals and small care homes.
Last year Sunrise Senior Living and Gracewell Healthcare got behind British Food Fortnight. Their chefs were invited to create an event of their choice to celebrate British Food involving residents and the activities coordinators. Sunrise of Tettenhall planned and held a daily event throughout the Fortnight which kicked off with a Great British Pub using local ale suppliers. They also ran a Downtown Abbey themed evening, a cheese and wine event, ‘Down the Chippy’ and an Alzheimer’s tea party complete with reminiscing foods and experiences. Other sites championed the seasonal menus, naming the supplier and region. The apple pie competition in Sunrise of Eastbourne involved residents in the cooking to the judging and finally a private dining lunch where celebrity chef, Rosemary Shrager came along to judge and dine with the finalists.
Sophie Murray of Sunrise Senior Living was delighted with the response: “The Chefs and homes got heavily involved in the activities and made the Fortnight a very exciting time for residents and their visitors. One resident even said it was the best day of their life. We are already planning this years activities and look forward to making them bigger and better”.
So how can you make the most of British food and support local food and farming communities?
Tips on how to get involved
- Promote your participation by displaying material using the British Food Fortnight logo or Union Jack on menus and in restaurants.
- Organise a special menu and expand the range of seasonal produce that you use. Rather than just using the term ‘local’, name the producer or farm to give it a more personal touch.
- Use phrases such as ‘seasonal veg’ on the menu that will enable you to take a variety of stock from different suppliers.
- Look at your existing suppliers. If any of them are local and British make sure you tell your customers about them.
- And if you are able to specify that all the meat used comes within 30 miles of the restaurant then highlight this on your promotional materials.
- Include a ‘Chef’s Special’ on the menu to give you flexibility in your ordering process.
- Ensure the whole kitchen, admin and front of house staff and suppliers know about the British Food Fortnight promotion well in advance and encourage them to communicate this to customers while serving food.
- Organise a consumer-focused event such as the following:
- If you run a public facing restaurant or café why not invite producers to run a tasting of new and existing products – research shows that products offered for tasting increases sales significantly and adds value to the whole dining experience.
- Create a mini farmers market in the restaurant using fruit and veg from local suppliers and producers. This will add interest, colour and help build the atmosphere.
- Create a display of British food and drink in a prominent position such as a window or entrance so that customers can see that you are supporting the campaign and that you have available a good selection of products. A display is also a useful draw for the media and can be used across social media and other digital platforms to help raise awareness.
Other useful tips
- If you organise a tasting e.g. regional cheeses, it makes sense to sell complimentary foods and drinks such as biscuits, chutneys and wine
- Use British Food Fortnight as a lever to build relationships and network with other suppliers and businesses. Think about running regular supplier events and introduce local suppliers to other businesses in the area.
- Use the Fortnight to create online content such as videos, blogs and social media.
Chef Raymond Blanc and well-being writer and farmer, Liz Earle invites everyone to get involved
A competition to find the most imaginative celebrations of British food taking place during the Fortnight will run in conjunction with the Telegraph. Previous winners include community groups from Bath, Emsworth and Peterborough; and schools in Hampshire to food festival organisers such as Ginger & Spice. Anyone organising an event is encouraged to enter and you can visit the website www.lovebritishfood.co.uk for more information.
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. Visit our advice pages for information on sourcing and buying British food and which logos and marks to look out for.