Caterers in education sector invited to make British the first supplier of choice for British Food FortnightWritten by Anjali Dattani
British Food Fortnight (21st September – 6th October 2019), now in its 18th year and organised by Love British Food, is the national food promotion which every Autumn invites communities and organisations across the country to celebrate the diverse and delicious, high quality food produced in this country. The food service sector has been at the heart of the promotion since its early years with many of the leading food service organisations taking part resulting in hundreds of chefs in the public sectors running special Love British Food menus every year. It is now a proven commercial promotion delivering affordable quality menus that are a hit with the customer.
Public Sector (PSMI) Top 20
Alexia Robinson, Founder of Love British Food, was named in the 2018 listing of Cost Sector Catering’s Top 20 ‘most influential’ people in Public Sector catering. This is a tremendous accolade and platform for further work in the sector at a time when food supply chains and prices are at their most uncertain. With this in mind Love British Food is focusing its 2019 campaign on catering in the public sector with the aim of encouraging more school caterers to make British the first supplier of choice.
Leading chefs are Ambassadors for Love British Food
The campaign is led by some of the most renowned and passionate chefs and leaders in the food world: Michelin-starred Chef Raymond Blanc, OBE, TV Presenter, Entrepreneur and Farmer Liz Earle, Michelin-starred Chef Phil Howard, GBBO 2016 winner Candice Brown, NFU President Minette Batters, Nutritionist Lucy Williamson and Children’s app developer Oli Blanc. New ambassadors for 2019 include home cook and family food writer Alex Hollywood, Presenter and expert on English Cookery, Lotte Duncan, TV Presenter, Chris Bavin, Founder of The Clink, Chef Alberto Crisci and TV Presenter and Chef Cyrus Todiwala, MBE.
Who is taking part?
LACA: increasing the number of schools that serve British Food Fortnight menus. 1.5+ million British meals were served to schools during British Food Fortnight 2018. Welsh schools have been invited to take part this year too with bilingual support materials to assist caterers to run Welsh menu promotions during the national food celebrations.
TUCO: British Food Fortnight fits well with Freshers Week and is a key time for educating young people about healthy, quality food in the university environment. Love British Food is partnering with TUCO to invite university chefs to run British Food Fortnight menus. British food recipes and How-to Student Guides will be shared with universities.
Sodexo: working with nearly 200 schools in the UK, Sodexo will be ramping up activity to include British Food Fortnight branding across all sites and introducing specific British menus.
Cucina: In 2018 supplied 60,000 students across 50 schools with a British Food Fortnight menu each day. Activity included ‘Cooking through the Ages’ with recipes dating from each decade starting with 1920s and up to 2010. This year Cucina is looking to make activity bigger and better.
Hampshire Fare & HC3S: 70% of schools in Hampshire participated with a pick and mix British/harvest men as well as additional classroom activities to fit with the curriculum.
Leading food service organisations: Brakes and Harrison Catering are all taking part this year building on their successful involvement in previous years.
Love British Food Founder, Alexia Robinson, says: “We are facing uncertain times with Brexit and there is a real need for a robust supply of quality food at stable, affordable prices. We want to encourage the food service sector to make British food the first supplier of choice throughout the year. British Food Fortnight is a proven promotion in food service and we are encouraging school caterers to take part.”
Why Should Caterers Take Part?
During the 18 years that British Food Fortnight has been running, caterers have continually been able to prove that buying British is affordable, adds value but also ensures they have a unique selling point by being able to list exactly what region or even farm the meat has come from.
Michael Hales, LACA said: “Last year we were involved with British Food Fortnight for the first time and it really opened a number of doors for us. We are looking forward to working with our members to encourage them that British food sourcing is the way forward.”
Love British Food Partner, David Mulcahy of Sodexo said: “We have partnered with Love British Food for a number of years and each year the food service activity gets bigger and better. As a company we reach a number of education establishments including schools and universities. Being able to run British promotions and showcase key British ingredients and dishes gives us a unique selling point. Our customers are keen to buy British but at the right price."
Top Tips British Food Fortnight 2019
Whether a contract caterer or meal provider to schools everyone can get involved in British Food Fortnight – the biggest national promotion of British Food. New customers can be attracted and existing customers can spend more, promotions during British Food Fortnight have had a serious impact on sales with one restaurant increasing sales by 300%.
Many will be sourcing British food already so can use British Food Fortnight to promote menus, ingredients and promotions. For those that don’t usually buy British, the fortnight is a good opportunity to source new suppliers, experiment with menus and add a number of British dishes.
- Send your suppliers a copy of the menu and ask them to if they can supply British ingredients.
- If you are catering in the public sector, consider forming a partnership with other public organisations to aggregate demand and make savings through bulk purchase.
- Don’t be put off by prices that initially may seem higher. Buying large volumes can make the whole process affordable.
- Promote your involvement in the fortnight by displaying POS material showcasing the British Food Fortnight logo on menus and around the restaurant.
- Make sure you share the menus with customers well in advance. As well as British dishes you could also include local dishes from your region.
- Run a competition to showcase the new menu. Some promotions that work include giving all diners entry to a prize draw to win a foodie treat.
- Offer tastings of specific British dishes.
- Use British Food Fortnight to see how popular dishes are or produce a special dish going forward that uses locally sourced ingredients.
- Use Love British Food website for resources on how to make the most of British Food Fortnight, including the basic details, template menus and case studies.
- British Food Fortnight national competition will continue to run. Ensure your establishment is taking part. With judges including Raymond Blanc, Phil Howard and Alberto Crisci, this is a guaranteed route to publicity and it will engage customers.
Resources for caterers are available for download from www.lovebritishfood.co.uk. There is advice not just for the Fortnight but on everything caterers need to make British food a commercial success in their establishments: advice on sourcing, supplier contacts, case studies, tips for promoting your business in the media and sample regionalised menus and ideas for working with schools. Promotional materials including bunting, posters and shelf barkers can also be downloaded on the website.