Hampshire Fare Holds First Pig Den

Hampshire Fare Holds First Pig Den

"The producers have pitched so well all day. It's been amazing."

Local food and drink producers have had the opportunity to pitch their products to four members of the Local Flavours buying team of Southern Co-op thanks to Hampshire Fare. This special 'Pig Den' event, held 15 October at Rownhams House, near Romsey, was inspired by BBC TV’s Dragons Den while referencing the Hampshire Hog - Hampshire Fare’s motif.

Independent retailer Southern Co-op has a business ethos that focuses on sustainability and supporting local communities including a range dedicated to regional produce – Local Flavours. Matt Elliott from Southern Co-op explained that they were keen to source more suppliers for the Local Flavours range which is continuing to grow in response to consumer demand.

The event provided an opportunity for producers to approach the team and establish a supportive relationship. Tracy Nash, Commercial Manager, Hampshire Fare, who organised the 'Pig Den' event, helped producers prepare by providing pitching guidance.

Tracy commented: “This is a great experience for some of the producers, stepping up to pitch to a retailer with a significant presence across the region. It is a positive business agenda for supporting local businesses.”

Nick Edwards of Ciderniks said: “It is quite unusual to get in front of buyers without having to kick down doors. Southern Co-op’s interest in local businesses and supporting the local community should be commended.”

Crissy Ryan of Bee Good added: “This is a major opportunity for us to raise awareness of our brand. We usually have to fight tooth and nail to get in front of buyers. For Hampshire Fare to facilitate this for us is very helpful.”

The approach was informal and more light-hearted than BBC TV’s Dragons Den equivalent with a great deal of laughter.

Andrew Farndell from Southern Co-op commented that the team was keen to provide advice about packaging, process and price points: “We hope our expertise will help these producers be retail ready if they want to pitch to other retailers.”

Andrew was very enthusiastic about a number of products and interested in the stories behind them: “The producers have pitched so well all day. It’s been amazing.”

Matt Elliott added: “It has been a very productive day and there are certainly a number of suppliers we want to work with, if not now, then at some point.”

The businesses pitching to the Southern Co-op panel came from across the county and the Isle of Wight. They included: Alf Turner; Bee Good; Catch Fabulous Fishcakes; Chalice Mead; Charlotte Brown’s Handmade Preserves; Ciderniks; Conker Spirit; Corner 53; Gorilla Spirits; JK Fine Chocolates; Mayfly Gin (River Test Distillery); Mortimer Chocolate Company; Naked Jam; Pig Beer; Tatchbury Manor Farm; Test Brewing; Test Valley Gin (Wessex Spirits); The Hampshire Salami Company; Tipsy Wight; Tutts Clump Cider; Wholesome Wolf and Winchester Distillery.