Top food and drink producers in the North East of England are showcasing their talents at an event aimed at securing new business deals.
Organised by Compete North East, the event is being held in association with EAT! NewcastleGateshead, which is produced by NewcastleGateshead Initiative, and gives artisan food producers from the region the opportunity to network with hotels and local attractions.
Top Quality Local Produce 2012 takes place on 29 February 2012 at the Marriott Hotel, MetroCentre. The event includes a networking taster session, where head chefs and general managers will be able to sample the locally produced food, followed by an afternoon of one-on-one meetings aimed at securing new supplier contracts.
Paul Taylor, head of business engagement at Compete North East, said: “These events are hugely popular because it’s a really time-efficient way to network. We’re inviting the region’s leading food and drink producers to showcase their talents to top hotels and attractions.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved. Smaller producers meet high calibre businesses and potentially secure contracts, and the buyers might just find that hidden gem of a supplier they’ve been looking for.
“A number of buyers have already confirmed including Centre for Life, Jesmond Dene House, Tyneside Cinema, The Alnwick Garden, Marriott Hotels, Hotel Indigo and Ramada Encore. They are looking to source suppliers for a range of products such as dairy, fish and seafood, fresh produce, meat, artisan foods, chocolate and confectionary and speciality foods.”
One small north east producer which has seen real success from attending previous events is Gelder’s Bakery.
Gelder’s Bakery attended an event, where local producers were meeting buyers from multiple retailers and walked away with a contract to supply 20 Asda stores with 1,360 packs of pies per week. Four years on and Gelder’s is still working with Asda and the contract has increased.
Sales manager Tony Gelder said: ““It’s really difficult for smaller companies to meet the decision-makers. So these events are a fantastic way to meet and do business. We couldn’t believe that we would ever have the chance to talk to Asda, never-mind be awarded a contract.”
The bakery was started in 1958 by Tony’s father Alan Gelder, as a small business to support the family butcher shop. Today it has a turnover of over £1m, employs 35 members of staff and is still very much a family run business.
Some of the producers from the region who are already confirmed as attending including Beckleberry’s, Lintz Hall Farm, Mark Toney & Co, Northumberland Gourmet Pie Company, Northumberland Sausage Company, Ravensworth Grange Farm, The TeaShed, and many more.
Simon Preston, festival director of EAT! NewcastleGateshead, said: “Over the past five years EAT! NewcastleGateshead has helped raise the profile of the region’s food and drink industry thanks to the on-going support of food producers, chefs, restaurants and the wider sector.
“This event gives local food producers the chance to showcase their amazing products and develop new business opportunities across the region. EAT! NewcastleGateshead is proud to champion the wonderful North East food offer.”
Top Quality Local Produce 2012 takes place 29 February 2012, Marriott Hotel, MetroCentre, with a nominal fee of £45 to attend and showcase products. For more information or to book a place email Amanda@btob.co.uk.