The Importance of Provenance
Since the horsemeat scandal of 2013, communicating where our food comes from and what exactly is in it has become crucial to restoring consumer confidence. In a landscape where fresh and local is now a big selling point, how can suppliers reassure their buyers about the origins of their produce? We asked our exhibitors how they’re giving prominence to provenance and how it’s paying off.
Peace of mind
Allaying the fears of customers is at the top of the agenda for today’s food producers. “People want to know where their food comes from after scandals such as the horsemeat lasagnes,” says Jen Kent, a farmer and creator of Quoats porridge. “They want high-quality food products they can trust.”
Craft beer producer, Rob Lilford of Tomos & Lilford Microbrewery, agrees: “I have to go out and collect the ingredients myself as the only way of truly providing the standard of provenance accountability. As a producer and as a consumer, provenance gives me a sense of community and I can know both where and who my ingredients come from and where and who my by-products go to. I’ve met the pigs that get fed on my spent grain.”
Meanwhile, Ben Rigby Game Ltd also puts great emphasis on guaranteeing 100% traceability for all their meat. On their website they say: “The result is that our customers have total confidence in the provenance and quality of our venison and wild game”.
The Appeal of Provenance
However, once producers have worked hard to convince customers of their commitment to full source disclosure, highlighting provenance also serves as an effective selling attraction and is giving producers a significant edge in the market.
As brewer, Rob Lilford, observes, “Mass production and generic branding are no longer the bywords. Provenance is one of a number of ways a craft producer can differentiate and add value to their product.” He also notes that, as a customer, “The sense of place that comes with a provenance also allows me to feel that I am, in some way taking part in the landscape and the community and that I am buying more than just a tasty product.”
So, beyond implementing the Red Tractor label and Food Standards guarantees, how are producers conveying provenance to their buyers?
“The way we communicate provenance is by storytelling,” Rob says. “All our beers have a story behind them; part of which covers why we made it, why we chose those ingredients… and… where those ingredients have come from.”
While Jen Kent says, “We communicate provenance by putting a map of where our cereals come from on our porridge pots and by using our social media and blog to show what we do on the farm and how British crops are grown”.
Meet the Exhibitors
Provenance is a hot topic at this year’s Food & Drink Expo and you will find many knowledgeable, passionate exhibitors who will be happy to talk to visitors about it. From Keepr’s British Honey (Stand K128) to Wensleydale Creamery (Stand M211) and Callestick Farm Cornish Ice Cream (Stand P163), why not seek them out? And you can find our blog contributors at the following locations:
Tomos & Lilford Microbrewery
Ben Rigby Game Ltd
You can also come and hear the subject being discussed at our session: Perfecting Provenance with Nigel Barden and the Happerley Board - the food provenance organisation. Wednesday 18th April 11:45am - 12:30pm at The Grocer Talking Shop Live.