Midcounties Co-op launches Dragons’ Den-style competition in Gloucestershire

The co-op is looking for the region’s best food and drink idea or product

The Midcounties Co-operative has launched a £10,000 award for the best regionally produced food or drink idea or product.

The Food Glorious Food competition will see producers, farmers and locals pitching their ideas to a Dragon’s Den-style panel of local food and drink experts

The winner will receive £10,000 to invest in their product, which will join the Midcounties Best of our Counties range. Runners up will also get the chance to sell their products in selected Midcounties stores, along with a free one-day business skills course at Hartpury University and Hartpury College.

Midcounties is already working with 42 Gloucestershire food and drink businesses for its Best of Our Counties range, including Hillside Brewery, which supplies beers to over 120 of the society’s stores.

Paul Williamson, director of Hillside Brewery, said: “The support we have received from Midcounties has been instrumental in allowing us to grow our business, helping us to reach areas we would never get to on our own. There’s a real focus on quality and local sourcing, which made them the perfect retail partner for us.”

He added: “I can speak from experience when I say that securing investment at those early stages can make all the difference. What is perhaps even more useful for local suppliers and individuals, however, is the stamp of approval that you receive from being listed by a major retailer and the on-going mentoring and support offered by Midcounties.

“The Food Glorious Food competition is a unique opportunity for local businesses to work with a dedicated team that is committed to helping put Gloucestershire producers on the map.”

Midcounties chief exectutive Phil Ponsonby said: “Supporting local suppliers is at the heart of what we do. Through our Best of our Counties range we are promoting more than 40 local producers and this latest campaign is designed to extend that even further.

“For the winning idea or product there is the offer of a cash injection and guaranteed listing across all of our Gloucestershire stores. However, we will be looking to work closely with all those who enter to provide access to industry experts and for the runners up shelf space in selected stores.”

Those interested can enter the Food Glorious Food competition by providing details of their new food and drink idea at: www.foodgloriousfood.coop.

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