Southern Co-op appeals for local producers to enter Pig Den

Hampshire Fare, a not-for-profit organisation supporting local food, drink and craft producers, held its first ever Pig Den with the regional retailer Southern Co-op in 2019.

It was such a success that a second Pig Den is going to be held on Tuesday, 7 July 2020, and Hampshire Fare is calling out to interested food and drink businesses to get in contact.

Pig Den is inspired by BBC TV's Dragons' Den and provides a unique opportunity for local businesses to pitch their products to the buying team for Southern Co-op's Local Flavours range.

At the first Pig Den, held last October, more than 20 local food and drink producers pitched a wide range of products, from fishcakes and jams to chocolates and spirits, to four members from Southern Co-op's buying team.

Tracy Nash, Commercial Manager, Hampshire Fare, who initiated the Pig Den event, commented, 'This event is a positive business agenda, supporting local businesses and providing great experience for producers to step up to pitch to a retailer with a significant presence across the region.'

Crissy Ryan of Bee Good, a bee-friendly natural skincare company near Basingstoke using beeswax, honey and propolis, who pitched at the first event, explained, 'This represented a major opportunity for us to raise awareness of our brand. We usually have to fight tooth and nail to get in front of buyers. For Hampshire Fare to facilitate this for us was very helpful.'

Southern Co-op is currently continuing a number of discussions with Hampshire producers who pitched at the first Pig Den with the hope of getting them stocked on Co-operative Food shelves in the near future.

Matt Elliott, from Southern Co-op's Local Flavours team, said, 'We were blown away by the quality of the products pitched to us last time. There was no one winner as we came away with a number of producers we wanted to keep chatting to in order to stock their products in the future.

'With Southern Co-op having a commitment to sustainability and a strong ethos of ethical consumerism, we would be keen to hear from producers who echo these values.'

Pig Den is open to producers across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight who are members of Hampshire Fare.

Last year’s food and drink producers included: Alf Turner in Aldershot; Bee Good in Basingstoke; Catch Fabulous Fishcakes in Fawley; Chalice Mead in Petersfield; Charlotte Brown’s Handmade Preserves in Southampton; Ciderniks in Kintbury; Conker Spirit in Bournemouth; Corner 53 in Clanfield; Gorilla Spirits in Upton Grey; JK Fine Chocolates; Mayfly Gin (River Test Distillery) on the River Test; Mortimer Chocolate Company in Reading; Naked Jam in Lymington; Pig Beer in Brockenhurst; Tatchbury Farm in Winsor; Test Brewing in Broughton; Test Valley Gin (Wessex Spirits) in Andover; The Hampshire Salami Company in Wolverton; Tipsy Wight; Tutts Clump Cider in Bradfield; Wholesome Wolf in Petersfield and Winchester Distillery in Old Alresford.