Local producers came together from across the region to showcase and celebrate local, seasonal produce at the Local Produce Trade Show, reflecting the vibrant food and drink industry that the Central South has to offer. 

The sell-out Show, which took place on Friday 24th January at the Ageas Bowl, has been flying the flag for the region’s exceptional food and drink for over a decade. The foremost event of its kind in the region, the show supports local supply chains by putting local suppliers directly in touch with food and drink buyers from cruise lines, catering businesses, government, hotels and restaurants.

The event, which is organised by Business South, and sponsored by Cavendish Ships Stores, Carnival UK, Cunard, Hampshire Fare, Hampshire Farmers’ Markets, New Forest Marque, and Paris Smith, supports local food and drink businesses and encourages seasonality, sustainability, quality and diversity in the hospitality industries.

Over 60 local food and drinks producers showcased their products to over 300 visitors including chefs and buyers on the day.  Producers attended from across the Central South region and included Flack Manor Brewery, FNK Pies, Great British Biscotti, Laverstoke Park, Wessex Country Gammons and Catch Fabulous Fishcakes.

Jon Barfoot Co-Founder & CEO of plant-based brands Boxxfresh.com and Vegbred® opened the event. “High provenance foods that are convenient and clean label are being increasingly demanded from conscious consumers and 25% of the UK population is now buying groceries online,” explains Jon. “Boxxfresh combines this appetite for convenience with high quality freshness of local produce; it’s a plant-based shop for everyday products that can be delivered to your door, anywhere across the UK.  Proud food heritage is clear to see in this region, and the Local Produce Trade Show reflects the growing interest in artisan and independent brands every year.”

Cavendish Ships Stores has been involved and sponsored the Show since it began. “25 new cruise ships are being delivered globally this year. As the home to Europe’s leading turnaround cruise port in Southampton, our region’s local producers have a fantastic opportunity to pitch their products to cruise ship Chefs seeking to source new and more bespoke products.  The Local Produce Trade Show continues to make the connections between buyers and suppliers” said John Davey, Director of Cavendish Ships Stores.

Paris Smith LLP also continued their sponsorship of the Show. “Regional economies are the driving force for the success of the UK.  The Central South region has an exceptional amount of talent and the Local Produce Trade Show reflects this with a plethora of suppliers ready to seize the opportunity to make the connections for success in their businesses” Peter Taylor, Managing Partner at Paris Smith LLP said.

Butler Country Estates was one of the food producers exhibiting. “We are a new business producing smoked trout pate here in Hampshire, and this was our first visit to the Local Produce Trade Show” Richard Butler, the owner, Butler Country Estates said. “The event is excellent for start-ups like ourselves. It offers a unique opportunity to not only get in front of influential industry buyers but for them to taste our delicious pate too.”

Highball Cocktails was another supplier exhibiting for the first time. “We are a brand-new company, based in the New Forest, launching a range of alcohol-free ready-to-drink cocktails” explains Kate Johnson, Founder, Highball Cocktails. We took our own favourite standard cocktails, including a Mojito, Cosmopolitan and Pink Gin, and created delicious, alcohol-free versions from natural ingredients. The trend towards no and low alcohol continues to grow and we were delighted to be showcasing our product to local buyers at the Business South Local Produce Trade Show, sharing how our range of drinks can meet consumer demand for alcohol-free products and complement pubs, bars and restaurants’ portfolio of drinks.”

In addition to the exhibition, the Show also featured a ‘Meet the Panel’ discussion around the challenges with sourcing local hosted by Tracy Nash, Commercial Manager for Hampshire Fare featuring Jon Barfoot, Owner of Boxxfresh, David Watts, Chef Owner at The Crown at Upton, Andy Mackenzie and Phil Yeomans, both Executive Chefs at Lainston House Hotel, Peter Taylor, Managing Partner from Paris Smith LLP, Tim Ferrero, Senior Specialist for Marine Advocacy Technical Specialist for the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and John Davey, Director for Cavendish Ship Stores.  This was then followed by a ‘Meet the Buyer’ presentation consisting of Mark Cribb, Director at Urban Guild, Adam Duebel, Head Chef at the Ageas Bowl, and John Davey.

The event also included a student presentation with speakers from Carnival, New Place and Ageas Bowl, followed by a tour.

Following their support of the Local Produce Trade Show, Paris Smith have created an exclusive legal guide for the food and drink sector for attendees and exhibitors of the show, containing information on IP, GDPR, terms and conditions, funding your growth, and business disputes. https://parissmith.co.uk/legal-guide-food-drink/