Our aim at the Good Food and Wine Company is to help Local (UK and Ireland) Micro (less than 15 employees) Artisan producers of Food and Drink find a “next step”, sustainable, constructive, profitable and easy route to market.
For most artisan producers their first sales are through a local market stall or country fair. This is an important and useful way for artsans to test customer reaction and to sell! We at The Good Food and Wine Company offer the “next stage” in the selling process. Through our Food Hall and Teahouse in Belfast (soon to be expanded) and our website, we provide a VERY SMALL “supermarket” option for local producers.
HOW IT ALL STARTED
My husband and I are the cofounders of the Good Food and Wine Company (a small family business) established in 2012. We both worked within the business development and food sector in the UK and Ireland for over 30 years collectively. Importantly we are passionate about local food but sadly that doesn’t always make for a sustainable business.
As part of our work we could see that there were a few pieces that go to make up a successful jigsaw in the local artisan food and drinks sector- namely –
- Artisan producers have wonderful products with limited opportunities to get these to the customer
- Artisan producers need asisstance to get their products more market-ready such as consistency, quality, reliabilty and sometimes commercial kitchen facilities to be able to produce quanities that make the process profitable
- Artisan producers need a “next stage” buyer – after local country market stalls and before dealing with the mulitnationals
However, inorder to be able to stock these products under a growing brand name, we need the local producers to work on their recipes, shelf life, consistency in the quality of their product and their reliability to produce. This requires us to work through a hand holding exercise with each producer in our Community Development Kitchen based in a very rural area on the North Coast.
OUR INVESTMENT TO DATE
The Good Food and Wine Company set up to deal with all these issues BY:
- Building a commercial community kitchen facility (part funded by ourselves and part funded by government) in a rural area that enables artisan producers (less than 15 employees) from across the UK and Ireland to undertake RandD and produce products in a scaled quantity
- Handholding small business owners through the process of selling to a third party
- Investing in a Food Hall, Teahouse and BrewBar in Central Belfast (the first indeginous one in Northern Ireland) to provide a “window” for artisans to consistently and sustainably get their products to the customer
- Providing a strong brand under which this could be carried out ie The Good Food and Wine Company
- Developing links with buyers to provide a wholesale route to market
OUR ACHIEVEMENTS SO FAR
Just a sample of the wonderful products our artisans aleady produce
- We spent the first 2 years of the business investing in equipment, branding, food awards and establishing a high street presence
- To date we sell over 60 local artisan products through our FoodHall, TeaHouse, Brew Bar, Website and Wholesale
- We have consistently and sustainably worked with and bought from, over 35 local producers (with less than 15 employees) from across Ireland and the UK in the past 2 years
- We have assisted local artisans to sustain their employment in difficult times
- We have provided another (next step) route to market with additional income for local producers
- We are developing a successful business
OUR NEED GOING FORWARD
Our Community Development Kitchen used by our Artisans
The “hand holding” process to get artisan producers ready for market and to sell on our shelves is costly. This project will enable us to add to what we do for the small owners by establishing a proper training facility with a training room, equipment, small items for the development kitchen including refridgeration and more cooking stations for producers. Importantly we are still a small business ourselves and we need this support to help us to grow the local producers so that we all win and can compete in a very competitive market place. We require £12,000 to expand the work we do and intend to match this funding with an additional £12,000 of government funds.