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East Midlands Chamber News

Business Gateway whips up ingredients to support Leicestershire's food and drink sector

A new programme of support has been announced for food and drink businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire to combat the economic impact of Covid-19.

The Chamber-backed Business Gateway Growth Hub and the Food and Drink Forum have joined forces to whip up "ingredients" for a series of webinars to support the sector after a recent survey of local food and drink businesses identified a number of specific challenges and hardship caused by the pandemic.

Growth Hub manager Jon Egley said: “Like everywhere, businesses in Leicestershire have been hit hard by the Covid-19 crisis and the food and drink sector is no different.  

"I’m very pleased to be working with the Food and Drink Forum, which has a fantastic team of experts who speak the language of this sector and who will share their knowledge to enable businesses to recover and come back fighting.”

What will the Business Gateway Growth Hub and Food and Drink Forum webinars involve?

Leicestershire’s food and drink manufacturing sector is already known for its nationally and internationally-recognised brands such as Samworth Brothers, Cofresh Snack Foods, Walkers Crisps, Long Clawson, Belvoir Fruit Farms and Pukka Pies.

However, it also has a solid base of small and medium-sized food and drink enterprises such as Harrisons Sauces, Royal Tea, Just Egg and FGS Ingredients.

Some businesses in the sector have been able to adapt quickly to the problems caused by Covid-19 through effective business planning, finding new product areas and securing new customers. But many have been adversely affected, are at risk of closing or have been unable to respond to trading under Covid-19 restrictions.

With business support from the Business Gateway, it is hoped many of these businesses at risk can turn things around, adapt to the new normal and prepare for the future.

To help businesses in the food and drink sector, the Business Gateway will launch a programme of free, one-hour, sector-specific webinars to be delivered by the Food and Drink Forum.

Topics will include supply chain development, product development and adaption, regulatory compliance, selling and routes to market as well as understanding emerging trends. 

Andrew Collinson, commercial manager at the Food and Drink Forum, added: “It has been a difficult few months for the food and drink businesses within our network, but it has been fantastic to see so many of them starting to get back to full production and diversifying their offering.

“We have developed this programme of webinars based on feedback received from the sector and we feel the broad range of topics will give businesses the tools they need not only to bounce back but to expand their product ranges, access new markets and develop new skills.” 

The full webinar programme with booking details can be viewed here. The webinar series kicks off on 17 September with "Finding sales leads for food and drink products".

The Business Gateway Growth Hub is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and run in partnership with Leicester City Council, Leicestershire County Council, East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) and the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership Limited (LLEP).