I’ve spent nearly three years working in the food industry now - before that was a year in property and six years in renewable energy. And my word, the food industry is just the place to be! Especially in The Cotswolds.
I joined Kitchen Garden almost 3 years ago as Sales & Marketing Manager and in October 2016 was appointed as Commercial Director. In January 2017 James Moinet and I became shareholders (he's our Operations Director and nephew of the founders)
While working in the artisan & high-end food industry there are 5 key things I’ve learned...
1) The food is amazing
This almost speaks for itself, being artisan and all, but it really is. There are so many amazing producers out there who don’t sell in the supermarkets. Cheese, biscuits, pickles, crisps, drinks, nuts, eggs…you name it and it's available. So much care goes into these products and producers generally use only the finest ingredients.
2) I now drink coffee
Ok, so I occasionally drank coffee before – generally instant, but I now drink much more…and the good stuff! I’ve probably tried a hundred different types of coffee and, while I’m not a coffee snob, I know what I like. You probably want me to tell you what I recommend? Well, believe it or not, it’s the ground coffee from Aldi: Specially Selected, Aldi strength 3 (the one with the Giraffe on the bag) £1.79 for 200g. It's won a Great Taste Award too. I only have one coffee a day (unless I have meetings).
3) Farmshops /Delis are a gold mine
This links back to point number 1 – farm shops have SO MUCH amazing food that you’re unlikely to find anywhere else. The good thing about farmshop /Deli owners is that they’re also foodies, which means they care about high quality products and they don't waste stuff. If a fresh broccoli is going past it's best, they'll chop it up and bang it in a flan...and then they sell the flan. Love it!
4) People are happy!
Almost everyone I deal with in this industry are happy, optimistic and enthusiastic. Maybe because the food is so nice, or the coffee is stronger, but everyone is happy. In previous industries I would say at least half of all people I dealt with were not ‘happy’. They all seemed a bit glum, a bit bored & a bit grumpy - like they’re all running an endless rat-race. But perhaps property or energy isn’t much to get excited by?
5) Buying local is more important than ever
When you spend money at a big corporate, you’re potentially lining the pockets of very very rich people, and making them richer and giving them more control. When you shop local, you’re directly helping a family / sole trader build their business and support their family. While I’m not suggesting you do your monthly shop at the farmers market (you'll still need to visit Aldi for your coffee), I am suggesting to spend just £5 a week there. If you do, it means around £3.15 will go back into the local economy compared to just £2 if you shop at a large retailer. Plus the food at farmers market is normally bang on.
Below is a photo of us at Speciality Fine Food Fair before our re brand. That’s me in the middle, Tom from sales on the right and Oli Moinet (freelance designer / illustrator) on the left.
And look, we’re happy! (see, I told you)