Whether its sausages for your fry up, veggies for that vegan superfood salad or a refreshing pint of ale, this 21st of September kicks off British Food Fortnight. So make sure it is only the best British produce that graces your plates, bowls and glasses.
British Food Fortnight was founded by the Love British Food institution in 2002 when the foot and mouth crisis crippled the British farming industry. This makes it one of the longest-running national food campaigns. It was designed as a national celebration to inspire more people to actively purchase British food when eating out and shopping. The hope was that if people participated and chose British produce during British Food Fortnight then they may continue to make an effort to buy British all year round and help support the struggling British farming industry.
Now in its 18th year, British Food Fortnight is the major driving force in promoting the use of local produce through industry partnerships and educational programs. One of its most successful educational initiatives is the “putting the ‘ooo’ back in food” program that was rolled out to schools to educate young people about the benefits of eating healthily as well as the advantages of eating quality, fresh and regionally distinct produce.
The lessons offered are not limited to cooking in classes though, and the values of British Food Fortnight are represented creatively across the whole curriculum including Geography, Science and History lessons. These lessons cover topics like food miles, food through the ages and how to grow your own food. Because of this initiative, British Food Fortnight is now an established date on the school calendar and hundreds of schools have taken part since the rollout.
Consumers are becoming increasingly more curious about their food, such as its nutritional and allergen content, the welfare of fish and livestock and where the food is sourced. Locally sourced food interests not only the environmentally conscious who are concerned about carbon emissions from food miles but also those who want their money to go to work in supporting the British economy. British Food Fortnight is an event that is positioned perfectly to promote awareness and give manufacturers, wholesalers and caterers a platform to be proud of the food they produce.
Keep an eye out
Whether it’s British Food Fortnight or not, identifying British produce is easier than you may think. Admittedly as a nation, we do import a lot of food but there are clear identifying marks on a lot of British products that will help you choose nationally produced food and if you are an Erudus wholesale user, you can use our Query Builder to easily identify products that have specific accreditations such as these:
Red Tractor Mark:
The Red Tractor mark has some of the most comprehensive farm and food standards in the world, covering more types of food and drink than any other. Buying produce with the Red Tractor mark means that you’re not only supporting British farmers and food producers because it indicates that the product has been born, raised, slaughtered, grown, prepared and packaged entirely within the UK. It also signals that you are consuming produce held to a world-leading food safety standard. More information can be found at www.redtractor.org.uk/home
The British Lion stamp has been on over 130 billion eggs since it was launched in 1998. If an egg is marked with the British Lion it guarantees that it is safe to be eaten runny or raw. The British Lion code of conduct ensures that all hens are vaccinated against salmonella and that those hens, their eggs and the feed that they consume are fully traceable using a passport system so you can be certain the eggs come from British Farms. More information can be found at https://www.egginfo.co.uk/british-lion-eggs
Marine Stewardship Council EcoLabel:
The blue fish label from the Marine Stewardship Council is only applied to wild fish or seafood from fisheries that have been certified to their impeccable standards for sustainable fishing and they have certified 45% of the wild-caught fish in the UK. The blue fish label means that the seafood in question is fully traceable to a sustainable source and regular DNA tests are performed to ensure that products are labelled correctly. More information can be found at https://www.msc.org/uk/
So, you are a caterer who is excited about getting involved with British Food Fortnight, or perhaps you just want to add a bit of regional flair to your existing menu. What sort of things can you do to support British producers and promote your business?
- You can give simple dishes on your menu a little bit more flair by sourcing British produce. “Locally farmed cider and mustard pork sausages served with spring onion mashed potato” sounds more appealing than “Bangers and Mash”
- Using the term “Seasonal Veg” allows you to be more flexible with what you offer when using nationally grown produce. You can use the Eat the Seasons website to stay informed about what is in season and you can partner with your wholesaler or supplier to keep stock of British fare.
- Be proud in your promotion of national food with prominent point of sale materials and train your whole team about the products and suppliers you use so they can communicate this to customers while serving them food.
You can also give back to the community during British Food Fortnight by partnering with local schools. Part of the national curriculum must include cookery and food-related topics and schools are advised to achieve this through collaboration with local chefs so schools in your area will be eager to hear from you. This gives you plenty of opportunity to:
- Educate your future customers and promote your business by either having them sample your menu after a cooking lesson at school or offer your kitchen facilities to host a lesson/demonstration if the school is not equipped for such an event.
- Promote local suppliers and ask them to donate ingredients for any educational events so that they can share in your publicity.
- Promote any child-friendly menu promotions that you are offering at your establishment. Consider offering smaller portions of regular menu items instead of a separate “Kids Menu” with the usual chicken nuggets and chips or beef burgers.
Recipes for British Food Fortnight
To help get your creative juices flowing. Here are some recipes that may inspire you. They have all been sourced from the Love British Food website, which not only has recipes, but a wealth of information about the British Food Fortnight, its importance for our economy and loads of resources to help you get involved not just this 21st Sept – 6th Oct, but all year round.