BRITISH FOOD FORTNIGHT

BUILDING THE BRITISH FOOD BRAND IN PREPARATION FOR BREXIT
17th September – 2nd October 2016
Sponsored by the Co-op
“We are encouraging everyone to celebrate British food in homes and in neighbourhoods across the land.”
Raymond Blanc, British Food Fortnight Ambassador
 
Running from 17th September to 2nd October and now in its fifteenth year, British Food Fortnight is the biggest national celebration of the diverse and delicious range of food that Britain produces.  Hundreds of shops, pubs, restaurants, care homes, markets and visitor attractions are embracing the challenge of ‘going British’ for two weeks.  In some parts of the country, entire towns are taking part.  There is a special focus on showcasing the benefits and opportunities of serving British food in schools and hospitals; a national competition led by Raymond Blanc to find the most imaginative celebration; the crowning of the Cake for The Queen winning school; and the continuing campaign to keep Harvest Festival on the national calendar.  This year’s national food promotion has been given a huge boost by the Co-op, the Official Sponsor, the ultimate community store and the leading retailer in bringing the best of British food to the high street.
 
Alexia Robinson, founder of British Food Fortnight, said: “Britain’s food production is one of the areas most affected by Brexit.  This is a watershed moment for British food.  Subsidised and regulated for 40 years by Europe, our farmers will now be competing in a global market place.  British food is produced to the highest standards; it really is some of the very best in the world, and the opportunities to trade on this in the global market are immense.  But building the brand ‘British food’ starts at home and it is more important than ever that we excite the British public to buy it.  We need to give farmers the confidence to continue to invest in innovation and quality thus ensuring our food security and a robust supply of quality domestic food.  British Food Fortnight has been flying the flag for British food for 15 years; we now ask the Government to join us in promoting the qualities of British food to the consumer; and – as part of their Brexit planning – to make it a priority that schools, hospitals and all Government organisations lead the way by sourcing British food.”
 
Highlights to look forward to:
 
The Co-op leads the way in bringing British food to the high street
 
British food will be celebrated in Co-op stores across the land. A Love British Food Fortnight roadshow will be touring England, Wales and Scotland during the fortnight to highlight the Co-op British sourcing credentials with meet the producer opportunities, lots of tasty food samples and British food information.  Co-op will be undertaking exciting research into traditional British food recipes and local specialities alongside a wide range of activities with colleagues and supporting British online at www.coop.co.uk/food

Cathryn Higgs, Food Policy Manager at Co-op said: “At Co-op, we are so pleased to be the sponsor of Love British Food and this fortnight feels like the culmination of all the exciting activity and hard work through the year.  Co-op are very proud of our British credentials from product and ingredient sourcing to our support of British farmers through the Co-op dedicated farming groups, the levels of investment we make into British sourcing and the increasing amount of locally sourced products in our stores. With a store in every single postal area of Britain, we are local to everyone who wants to support and buy British food.”

 
Raymond Blanc leads the search for the best British Food Fortnight celebration
 
For the fourth year, Raymond Blanc is leading the search for the most imaginative event celebrating British food with a special theme this year: rediscovering long-forgotten recipes that represent a local area.  Dishes like Staffordshire oat cakes, Bakewell Tart, Bath Buns, Bosworth Jumbles, Arbroath Smokies and Yorkshire Solomon Gundy.  The judges, led by Raymond Blanc alongside the new Secretary of State for Defra and the Co-op’s Director of Delicious Food Breige Donaghy, are looking for an event, large or small, that brings colour to the lives of those taking part and shows a love of the diverse and delicious food produced in this country.  The competition is producing a superb legacy: the 2014 winner, Emsworth in Hampshire, now celebrates British Food Fortnight throughout the town every year; and last year’s winner, Peterborough, is championing a menu consisting only of ingredients that come from the ‘P’ postcode.
 
This year’s winner will be presented with the Love British Food trophy by the Secretary of State and receive a behind-the-scenes tour and breakfast at Raymond Blanc’s hotel, Belmond Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons plus £250 in Co-op vouchers and a case of Co-op award winning ‘Les Pionniers’ champagne.
 
British Food Fortnight menus in hospitals and schools prove that sourcing British is the way to go in the public sector
 
British food menus are being run in school canteens and hospital restaurants during the national food promotion.  These are flagship pilots that the organisers of British Food Fortnight hope will encourage the Government to make a commitment to sourcing British food across the public sector post-Brexit; something that has not been possible within the EU.
 
British Food Fortnight Partner, Cucina Restaurants, is promoting British food in 44 secondary schools in the South East and one in Manchester.   Pupils are being asked to submit their own British recipes for the school menu; an after-school programme is planned for pupils and parents educating them about seasonal British ingredients; and ‘Great British Classics’ will be on the menu throughout September, with dishes developed by Masterchef the Professionals winner, Ash Mair.  British Food Fortnight promotions have increased the uptake of school meals by 50% in participating schools in previous years.
 
In hospitals, British Food Fortnight has teamed up with the Hospital Caterers Association to create exciting examples of serving British food on hospital menus and then to use these to encourage more hospitals to source British.  The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle upon Tyne is showcasing a special British Food Fortnight Menu with locally sourced meats and seasonal vegetables freshly cooked in-house; and hospitals of the Morecombe Bay NHS Foundation Trust will be working with local suppliers to promote British and seasonal produce on menus.
[Further British Food Fortnight highlights are included in the Notes to Eds below]
 
NUF Deputy President Minette Batters said:
 
“I am delighted that British Food Fortnight is working with the farming industry for its autumn campaign Celebrate Great British Food. It's a perfect time to highlight the quality, nutritious affordable food that we as farmers and growers produce for feeding the nation and playing our part in feeding the world.
“But it’s also a chance to promote the fact that we don’t just produce food – our industry provides much more to Britain. The food and farming industry is worth £108billion to the UK economy and employs 3.9million people. As farmers we manage our vibrant landscape, caring for 71% of the U.K.
“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that our industry is at the forefront of the minds of shoppers and our decision makers in Government – they have an important role in shaping the future of our industry for generations to come.”
 
WHAT RESOURCES ARE AVAILABLE TO HELP PEOPLE TAKE PART?
Keep a look out on www.lovebritishfood.co.uk for details of all the activities, lots of ideas for taking part and 14 things you can do - one for each day of British Food Fortnight.  Check out our What’s Happening Map for foodie events taking place near you. Download our bunting and posters.  Be the first to hear the news by following the activities on Twitter @LoveBritishFood, #Love British Food, and Facebook: Love-British-Food
 
WHERE CAN WE FIND OUT MORE?
To find out how you can take part, download promotional material and details of what is happening near you, visit www.lovebritishfood.co.uk or email info@lovebritishfood.co.uk.