FOOD AND DRINK producers and suppliers have the opportunity to generate orders worth millions of pounds as they meet buyers from some of the UK’s biggest retailers and organisations.
Organised by the Business & Enterprise Group, the ‘Food and Drink Meet the Buyer’ event is being held at the Xcel Centre near Darlington on July 3.
Buyers already signed up to attend the event include supermarket giant ASDA, Baxters Food Group, Newcastle University, Fenwick, Tyneside Cinema, Nisa-Todays, SK Foods, Beamish Museum and Morrison Supermarkets.
The event will bring together over 60 food and drink producers to meet with buyers from some of the UK’s biggest companies to do business and win contracts potentially worth millions of pounds.
Amanda Nichol, project manager at the Business & Enterprise Group, said: “We’re inviting buyers from major national and regional companies to come and get a flavour for some of the excellent food and drink producers in the North East and Yorkshire.
“This is a major event and increasingly popular due to the potentially huge contracts that are on offer and a fantastic opportunity for everyone involved.
“For buyers, it gives them the chance to meet with large numbers of quality regional food producers in a time efficient way. For the producers, it gives them the opportunity to showcase the food and drink they produce to buyers they otherwise might not get a chance to meet.”
Meet the Buyer events have been run by the Business & Enterprise Group’s event management team for over 17 years in various industry sectors. At a recent food and drink Meet the Buyer event 33 buyers exchanged contracts with new producers.
A number of producers have already confirmed. They will be bringing products such as dairy, beer and cider, fresh produce, meat, chocolate and confectionary in addition to speciality foods.
One seller which attended the previous ‘Meet the Buyer’ event is potato producer, Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes, based at Tiptoe Farm in Cornhill-on-Tweed.
At the event Anthony and Lucy Caroll met with many different buyers and secured business with the Marriott Hotel,Metro Centre, Durham, and Sunderland, supplying them with a weekly delivery of a range of Carroll’s heritage potatoes. As well the Marriott Group they secured other business with a number of other North East restaurants.
Lucy Carroll, owner of Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes said: “We grow some very distinct and unusual varieties of potatoes on the farm so meeting with buyers one-on-one was an excellent way for us to get our key messages about our products across.
“It’s really difficult for smaller companies to meet the decision-makers so these events are a fantastic way to do business.”
The Carroll family has farmed at Tiptoe since the 1930’s and in 2002 decided to specialise in potatoes. Today the 60 acre farm supplies its 17 varieties of heritage potatoes to restaurants and hotels across the UK and as far away Holland, Italy, and Singapore.
Lucy said: “We found many people interested in hearing about our heritage potatoes and we were really pleased with the business we gained.
“Meet the Buyer was very beneficial and a time efficient way to do businesses, I would certainly recommend attending.”
Buying Carroll’s Heritage Potatoes was Raoul Lemmerling, General Manager at Marriott Newcastle Gateshead and Marriott Sunderland. As well as potatoes, Raoul also placed business with various other producers he met at the event and arranged contracts to supply ice-cream and tea to the North East’s three Marriott hotels.
Raoul said: “Meeting suppliers face to face gives me a chance to get to know them, their products and their businesses. It’s also great to keep up to date with what’s available and the emerging trends in the food and drink industry.
“I meet with producers who have a passionate story to tell. I pass these stories onto customers who increasingly want to know the source of the food they eat.
“The feedback we’ve received from customers has been very positive and I would certainly recommend Meet the Buyer events.”
Limited places are still available to buyers and producers wanting to attend.