The whole ethos and drive behind The Great British Exchange was routed in deep and passionate belief in the raw creative talent of the British public. We are slap bang in the middle of an epidemic of a throw away culture and until a few years ago, small batch local produce was seen as an unaffordable luxury.
In 2010 Britain threw away almost 2 million tonnes of waste textiles into landfill which was identified as almost purely garment based and was seen as a direct result of the rapid fall in prices of mass produced, imported clothing.
But now, the Brits are fighting back! – From Jewellery to Jeans, plants to prints, the lovely people of Britain are pulling out all the stops to prove the age-old phrase of “Quality not Quantity”
And our Foodies are no different!
We have always had food gems, up and down the country producing wonderful locally grown, sourced and made eats. The people in the know would loyally buy from them and if you were lucky, you might hear a whisper over the grapevine of which dusty farm track to take to find them! But with the brainwave of social media for business, and an influx of young hungry foodies dying to share their talents with the nation, we are finally clambering our way back to a high street bursting with cake filled window displays, Instagram photos to make your mouth water and farmers markets, street corners and everything else in between singing with the sounds and smells of hearty, inspired, local, tummy pleasing goodness!
“Between 2012 and 2013 an increase of 27 per cent of food and drink merchants was discovered across the 40,000 British independent retailers surveyed. These ranged from a 31 per cent rise in bakeries to a 9 per cent increase in butchers. Along with an astonishing 65 per cent rise in independent supermarkets, including small delis and grocers.”
We asked our friend Luke Shaw at Deliciously Yorkshire where he thought this surge might have come from, he told us
“I believe that following the horsemeat and other scandals, customers have become more sceptical of some of the major retailers and re-discovering the benefits of shopping locally. We think it’s great that more and more consumers are shopping in a conscientious way. Food knowledge is increasing and we are becoming far more discerning regarding the provenance and quality of the food we buy. This can be seen through the number of Food Festivals and craft events which take place around the region where customers can meet the people actually making the products they’re selling.”
Sadly, we will never be able to persuade everyone to buy local and independent, and as long as we have the supersize supermarkets, with flashy offers and bulk buy deals, people will always be tempted and conned into the false economy of mass produced, cheap food.
The battle of our obscene desire as a nation to import out of season goods from across the world, or even worse, to force grow produce in the UK at an astronomically high carbon footprint cost is a conversation for another day … Despite certain findings in 2011 like;
“When it comes to seasonal fruit and vegetables, a third of people don’t look to buy it because they think it is too expensive, and 40 per cent say they want a wider choice of foods”
Today, The Great British Exchange is very proud to say that the word on the grapevine is that British food is BACK, and we couldn’t be happier … and it sounds like our friends at Deliciously Yorkshire are pretty happy too,Luke Shaw continued to comment;
“Having seen first-hand the diversity and standard of regional food and drink producers, there is no doubt that Yorkshire, and I’m sure the country as a whole, has some incredible and passionate artisan producers across all sectors. In a time where provenance and quality are becoming more important and people are seeking something more individual and not mass produced, The Great British Exchange is helping facilitate a link between these fantastic, creative businesses and the wider public and retailers, which can only be a very good thing.”
Food & Drink Buyer
The Great British Exchange