Many of the region’s food and drink producers, retailers and restaurants met up at Taste North East’s first ‘Meet and Eat’ event last week to network, share ideas and raise their profiles.
Members of Taste North East, the not-for-profit company that sells and promotes Great North food and drink, attended the networking evening at Newcastle Falcons, along with non-members, wholesalers and suppliers.
All had the chance to showcase their products, businesses and services to others in the food and drink industry, with many members making valuable new connections.
Helena Hill, Director of Borthwick Hill Bakery, said: “As well as making some great contacts at the event, I had interest from some large companies in my corporate cupcakes based on samples I had brought along. This was a really positive result and will hopefully lead to increased sales.”
Bethany Swash at Northumberland Cheese Company added: “This was a very successful evening for us; we gained promising new business leads, increased our profile with local businesses, and it was good to learn about the plans that Taste Club has for 2013 to support and promote members.”
Three local companies have already joined Taste North East as a result of attending the event: Gluten Free Kitchen, Storm Tea and Rock Farm Dairy.
John Gregory, Manager at Rock Farm Dairy, said: “We decided to join as we were really impressed with the event and the quality of local businesses present – we even gained five or six potential sales leads. We believe that being members will benefit our business considerably in terms of sales and growth, and having access to this marketplace will help us to give our customers great value products and services.”
Jane Hogan, Chief Executive of Taste North East, commented: “We’re delighted that our first members’ networking event went so well, and it was great to see Great North food and drink businesses networking and passing on opportunities.
“It was also a good chance for prospective members to get a feel for what Taste North East does to support and promote local food and drink, and we’re pleased to welcome the new members that have now joined us. Our aim is to raise the profiles of our members and ultimately help their businesses to grow, so we’re looking forward to holding regular events like this one.”
The next event organised by Taste North East will be the Great North Gluten Free Fair on Saturday 27th April. Showcasing the North’s best gluten-free food and drink, it will be held at the CastleGate in Newcastle from 10am – 4pm, and is open to everyone.