Posted: 14th September 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:
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.”
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 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.
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?
A National Harvest Service is held every year as part of British Food Fortnight’s celebrations and a Harvest Torch travels the country as a beacon for harvest festivities. This is part of a campaign, run by the national food promotion, to introduce new generations to the tradition of celebrating the harvest which once was such an integral part of our national calendar. This year, the Harvest Torch, travels from Canterbury to Lincoln Cathedral where it will play a central role in Lincoln’s County Harvest Festival on 23rd October. HRH The Duchess of Cornwall is sending a message of support to those taking part and, from the smallest hamlet to the largest cities, over 400 Harvest celebrations are planned.
Chiddingstone Primary School in Kent will be going to Buckingham Palace during British Food Fortnight to celebrate winning Cake for The Queen, a competition for schools run by the organisers of British Food Fortnight to commemorate The Queen’s birthday. 98 schools took part in the competition that invited schools to make a spectacular birthday cake for The Queen with an interesting challenge: the cake had to be made using healthy ingredients – the healthier, the fresher and the more local the better. The spectacular winning cake was themed ‘The Queen’s 90th Garden Party at Buckingham Palace’, decorated with corgies, crowns and even a Landrover, and made with home-grown carrots, Kentish apples and local eggs and honey. Megan Glover, teacher at Chiddingstone school, said: “Each week, we made different cakes using healthy and local ingredients which helped us come up with our final recipe. We researched the Queen’s history and one of our funniest lessons was looking into the ten most weird and wonderful gifts the Queen has been given. The children made miniature versions of these out of icing for our cake, including the elephant!
I’ve looked at all the other entries and they really are amazing. I can see how many hundreds of children have benefited from the competition and have no doubt that my class will remember this project for the rest of their lives”.
British Food Fortnight has long provided an umbrella for organisations that care about promoting British food to work together. This year sees The Women’s Institute, National Trust, Sustainable Restaurant Association, National Association of Care Catering, British Culinary Federation, National Association of British Market Authorities, Council for the Protection of Rural England, Harrison Catering Services, Cucina Restaurants, Whiting and Hammond pubs, University Caterers Organisation, Hospital Caterers Association and National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs all championing the national food promotion through their activities.
Food festivals are being organised in every county for British Food Fortnight and the national campaign is inspiring new events including the Taste of Timsbury The National Trust is planning food themed events including scone baking, apple and pear harvesting, and traditional recipe testing at their properties – look out for their special British themed menus when you visit! Check our What’s Happening Map for hundreds of foodie events taking place nationally.
How can people take part? Buy British….simple as that!
Check our website for a full list of 14 things you can do during British Food Fortnight. Here are some simple ideas for starters:
Co-op Food is the Official Sponsor of Love British Food and British Food Fortnight 2016.
Love British Food is a Supporter of the Year of Great British Food.
For further press information please contact:
Jane or Alexia, T: 0203 239 7032 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter: @LoveBritishFood, #LoveBritishFood #BuyBritishFood
British Food Fortnight is the annual celebration of the diverse and delicious food that Britain produces. It was founded in 2002 response to the foot and mouth crisis in order to encourage the public to support British farmers and food producers. Hundreds of shops, pubs, and restaurants take part every year with special menus and promotions. The event is also an established date on the school calendar, with many schools using it as an opportunity to teach children about food. It is organised by Love British Food, a small independent organisation that educates consumers, retailers and caterers about the benefits of buying British.
Love British Food is a small independent organisation that educates about the benefits of buying British. It is supported by a family of organisations led by its Official Sponsor, the Co-op, alongside: Cucina Restaurants, Harrison Catering Services, Whiting and Hammond pubs, The British Culinary Federation, Sustainable Restaurants Association, Church of England, Campaign to Protect Rural England, Hospital Caterers Association, National Association of British Market Authorities, National Association of Care Caterers, National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs, National Trust, Women’s Institute and TUCO Ltd.