Food and drink retailers enjoy busy Suffolk Show first day in Adnams Food and Drink Experience and Food Hall
Food and drink retailers have celebrated the region’s growing reputation for top-quality products as they highlighted the importance of the Suffolk Show.
Hundreds of people have packed out the Adnams Food and Drink Experience and Food Hall at the agricultural showpiece in Trinity Park today.
The food industry employs around 9,000 people in Suffolk, contributing to the food, drink and agriculture industry worth £400 million to the region.
The food hall showcased the very best sausages, beers, wines and cheeses produced in the ‘bread basket of England’. A mid-morning rain sower provided a boost in trade as vhisitors sought shelter in the large tent.
One of the food stalls, Scarlett & Mustard, which specialises in dressings, marinades and sauces, won the Food or Drink Marketing and Pride of Suffolk awards at the East Anglian Daily Times and EADT Suffolk Magazine Food and Drink Awards in April.
Sandy Ruddock, owner of the Earl Soham business, said: “The local food industry is very important for Suffolk and the Suffolk Show is a fantastic showcase for local businesses, especially food and drink companies.
“It provides an enormously wide reach for us from a PR and marketing perspective and is obviously great for sales.
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“We also meet people who provide the ingredients for us, which is a very nice tie-up, and people can learn just how much food actually comes from Suffolk. That’s why we love the Suffolk Show.”
Family-run chocolate company Hadleigh Maid made their debut in the food hall.
Gavin Bowie, sales and marketing director of the 1974-formed company, said: “We have been round here before and thought we would set up our own stall this year to promote our brand to a huge number of people and receive invaluable customer feedback.
“We can’t get to every store so this provides a fantastic opportunity for us and everyone else in here. There is a tremendous depth of food and drink products in Suffolk and we are all very passionate and proud of what we are achieving.
“I think Suffolk’s reputation is growing. We are very good at promoting ourselves and are one of the best of that in the country I believe.
“We have enjoyed the experience so far and have been surprised by how much chocolate people are willing to eat (their free samples) in the morning!”
Thurston-based Yum Yum Tree Fudge was selling everything from Sea Salted Butterscotch Fudge to Belgian Dark Chocolate Fudge.
Director Adrian Turner said they attend 80 shows every year. He said: “We started out seven years ago as my wife’s hobby and are still building our brand, so the Suffolk Show is massive for us and is one of the best ones at it is our county show. It is where we get out biggest percentage of repeat business.
“We have been to Edinburgh and Chester food shows. In Devon, people asked us if we were local and we told them we were from 300 miles away. We were up against local fudge firms and people said our fudge tasted the best. People are interested if you are local, but they are more interested in the quality.”
Musk’s Newmarket, one of a clutch of foodie Royal Warrant holders, was selling its famous sausages, which are made traditionally to a recipe created in 1884 by James Musk. They use the best traceable pork shoulder meat, local bread and secret spices.
Marketing chief Hector Bunting said: “Coming go the Suffolk Show is like a pastime for us now. The show allows us to bring our products to the whole food line and teaches everyone where our food comes from. It is so important to buy local. Don’t buy foreign food – buy local food.
“A lot of hard work goes into our local food industry and the Suffolk Show and it is great to showcase our efforts, and our high-quality products, to visitors.”
Jane Hadley, owner of ice cream firm Handmade by Hadley’s, based at her family farm in Colne Engaine near Colchester, said: “This is a great opportunity to promote the company to new customers in Suffolk. People can taste the ice cream and we can discuss our products.
“The design of the food tent has also changed this year and I think it is much better for people to walk around in.”
Derek Jones, director of DJ Wines, based in Framlingham, said: “People come from miles to the Suffolk Show, so it is very important for all of us. There is a tremendous amount of artisan food here in Suffolk. There is a great range of food and drink, and it is all very good-quality. We are very spoilt.”