Food from Britain introduced Sainsbury’s to West Country artisans

As part of its drive to ensure that UK consumers have access to quality regional food and drink, Food from Britain (FFB) is working with Sainsbury’s to bring key buyers from the supermarket to meet standard-bearing regional food and drink companies in a series of visits across the UK.

The first two-day trip introduced nine Sainsbury’s representatives to some of the best South-West produce. Designed to help Sainsbury’s buyers and product developers appreciate the artisan values of regional food producers, the tour took in Denhay Farm’s English air-dried ham, J & A Montgomery’s artisan Somerset Cheddar and Edward & Liz Tabor’s Home Farm in Sutton Montis, to see their sheep lambing and Dingle Suckler cows calving.

The visitors were treated to more fine West Country fare with a lunch at Denhay Farm that featured some of the best local products. Charlotte Smith, Sainsbury’s Product Developer for chilled desserts, found the visit inspiring. “It was a fantastic two days. The passion and enthusiasm of the West Country producers we met was second to none. We learnt so much from them and the trip was over too soon. We really appreciated tasting really quality ingredients and getting back to the roots of food production.”

Denhay Farm’s owner George Streatfield was optimistic that the visit would have a lasting effect. “The team were introduced to a huge range of West Country products and we felt that they were really interested and understood our passion. They were looking for things that were special, that tasted different, that had a unique story – they are really responding to a national appetite for high-quality food and drink.”

Sainsbury’s has invested in the regional tours to spread the word about the quality of UK regional food and drink throughout the organisation. The product developers and buyers who took part in the visit will now report back to their teams to communicate their new enthusiasm for regional produce.

Kirsty Grieve, FFB’s Regional Foods Manager, commented, “We’re really pleased that Sainbury’s is so keen to get out into the regions and learn about the UK’s regional food heritage. We’ve got so much fantastic food that UK consumers want to buy, but find it difficult to access. FFB are working really hard to make sure that the current enthusiasm for regional food is converted into real gains for regional producers.”

The next two tours will sample signature foods from Northern Ireland and the Orkneys.