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Cumbrian business leader takes part in ground-breaking food event

L-R: Michael Lane Editor of Fine Food Digest, Kamil Shah of Olive Branch and Maria Whitehead of Hawkshead Relish

Maria Whitehead co-owner of Hawkshead Relish took part in the annual ground-breaking food event Bread & Jam Festival, between 3rd & 4th October.

Bread & Jam is a two-day conference designed to bring emerging and scaling food and drink brands, food and drink entrepreneurs and innovators, investors, retailers, media and industry leaders under one roof.

With an innovative programme of panel discussions, inspirational keynotes, hands-on workshops and mentoring sessions the festival helps to accelerate independent food and drink brands with bold aspirations as well as providing them with opportunities to pitch to national retailers and secure funding for their ventures.

Every year, 16,000 food and drink brands emerge into the UK market and yet, 90% of them don’t make it past their first year of trading. Bread & Jam is a celebration of the food and drink industry’s entrepreneurial spirit and provides fledgling and establish food and drink businesses with invaluable information and industry support.

Among the guest speakers sharing their knowledge and insight were Cumbria’s own Maria Whitehead and Kamil Shah from London based company Olive Branch, who both travelled to the Institute of Directors on 04th October to deliver a joint Shap Talk Q & A panel discussion entitled ‘Building a Business Through Independent Retailers’.

The session chaired by Michael Lane Editor of The Fine Food Digest, examined how both Hawkshead Relish and Olive Branch embarked on their respective journeys to market. The ensuing discussion centred around both Maria and Kamil’s experiences in business. Looking specifically at the sustainability of small businesses launching directly into supermarkets versus choosing to build their brand solely by working with independent retailers.

Maria Whitehead co-owner of Hawkshead Relish commented: ‘’Events like Bread & Jam are vital tools in the armoury of any start-up food and drink business, and I would urge them to get involved in 2020. These events are a great source of knowledge, a real opportunity to gain invaluable insight from people who have embarked on the same journey, and are perfect for networking and make connections. Connections which will invariably stand businesses in good stead for the future. Kamil and I wanted to share our insight and help future food businesses learn from our experiences. Especially as things have changed in the marketplace, consumers are moving away from big brands and refocussing on small authentic businesses. Hopefully we both showed different facets of our respective success and our personal stories and inspired future business leaders to roll up their sleeves and have a go at forging ahead with their food and drink ideas.’’

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