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Paul Hargreaves is the chief executive of Cotswold Fayre a specialist fine food wholesaler.

“Too small to survive?”

I am always more interested in Dragon’s Den when companies come on from the speciality food world. I think this series, so far, there have been three – and in any event there always seems to be at least one food and drink company on the programme. What is especially interesting, of course, is to find out the financials of these suppliers, or in some cases, ex-suppliers. These are the kind of questions it is not polite to ask during supplier meetings, and most suppliers are too small to have to post full audited accounts, so illuminating to see what is really going on

“Retail trends in 2017”

I thought this week I would share insights on what I expect some of the retail trends to be in 2017, which have inspired some of our product choices this year

“Don’t place too many eggs in one basket”

Why is it that the same old lessons need to be learned time and time again? I received a phone call last week advising me that one of our suppliers had gone into administration. Launched at the peak of the popcorn revolution, Portlebay Popcorn, were different to many in that they made their own products. Very commendable and something we look for as a priority with our suppliers

“The New Superpower of Food?”

Well that was a surprise to most of us – who would have forecast that Tesco would make a bid for Booker?

“Innovate to survive in 2017”

There is no chance of complaining at present of the world being boring. As I have started to write this blog, breaking news has just popped up on my phone, “President Donald Trump, America’s 45th Commander-in-chief has just been sworn in”. Five minutes prior to that the breaking news was Jeremy Corbyn saying in a speech that Scotland couldn’t survive as a separate nation, should it vote to remain in the EU and leave the UK – a very real possibility in my view. It’s Scotland where I am for the next few days at Scotland’s Speciality Food Show. I’m looking forward to seeing our many Scottish customers, many of whom travel for hours to come to this show, even if we are in deep snow, which it actually looks like won’t happen for a change

“How was Christmas for you?”

The most commonly asked question around the food world at this time of year must be: “How did Christmas go?” Initial feedback we have received suggests that it was generally positive for many retailers in the speciality food sector, although ask me again in a couple of weeks when I will have seen 100s of retailers at our January Launch Shows which start next week

“It’s beginning to feel a bit like Christmas”

For many of us in the food sector, it is easy to potentially not enjoy Christmas as much as others as we are immersed in it for much of the year

“Emails: blessing or curse?”

As we approach the festive season, many of us heave a huge sigh of relief as the volume of e-mail traffic decreases as producers start winding down for Christmas and retailers are too busy to e-mail

“Ordinary people”

I have been watching on “catch up” a BBC series 'Ordinary Lies' recommended by a friend. Just as well as I wouldn’t have normally watched it - the title didn’t really do it for me! It is a well put together, well-acted series about different characters within the same work place. The series follows a different character each week, and the viewer finds out that those ordinary people sometimes have extraordinary things going on in their lives. Of course, they do, we all do. The business is an SME with a sales team and a warehouse team - all very close to home really!

“Scandinavia”

I am currently spending a few days in Scandinavia, in particular, Sweden and Denmark. I arrived in Stockholm on Saturday to be greeted by over a foot of snow thinking this is normal for these parts. It turns out that it was the heaviest November snowfall for 111 years. It’s suddenly feeling a bit like Christmas! After spending more of the year focussing on Christmas than ever before it seems, those of us in the industry can become a little cynical about the festive season, but this has really put me in the mood!

“Communication is king”

Tempting though it is to talk about Brexit again, with some slightly positive news for business this week from the High Court judges, I am going to refrain, as some of you may be bored! Instead I am going to talk about communication

“Silly season is on its way”

Many of us are just back from SIAL in Paris. Well there are worse places to go for a trade show I can think of!

“Currency pressure”

Whether a fat finger blip or not sterling had already reached a 31 year low against the dollar last week, before plummeting to $1.14

 
Hida Beef: Where Skill Meets Tradition

Hida Beef: Where Skill Meets Tradition

If you're looking for fine Wagyu beef with a story, look no further than the beef produced in the…

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