It’s fair to say we’ve had a busy three days promoting the market!
On June 7th, several tenants attended the opening cocktail reception for the fourth annual London Produce Show and Conference, which attracts around 700 fresh produce and flower industry professionals to Grosvenor House on Park Lane. It’s a fabulous affair, held in the hotel’s historic Great Room and overlooking the exhibition stands for the trade show on the following day.
On June 8th, the show kicked off as ever with a breakfast panel, featuring buyers from across the different sectors of the industry. During this session and throughout the days’ seminar programme, there was a theme around promoting fruit and vegetables to children and encouraging the next generation of British consumers to eat more healthily from a young age. The show ambassador Prue Leith was particularly vociferous and several of the presenters on the day showcased interesting views and innovations in this area.
The rest of the day was spent manning the New Spitalfields Market stand at the trade show, which was beautifully decked out with fruit and vegetables provided by Peter Thomas of Prescott Thomas. We had a constant stream of interested visitors, many of whom were non-EU international suppliers looking to find a ‘new’ way into the UK market as and when the Brexit deal is struck. There were also plenty of London-based chefs and retail buyers present, representing the customer end of the chain.
It’s the only trade show of its kind that this country has ever seen and it’s in our city, so we have no hesitation in supporting it. We would like to see more of our fellow tenants there as it is a once-a-year opportunity to meet this many people in one place in our own backyard. They’ve come to London because they are interested in the UK market and as the country’s leading wholesale market and we find this the ideal trade show to raise our profile and showcase our offer.
As soon as the trade show was over it was a quick change into formal evening gear and a short walk to the InterContinental Hotel further down Park lane for the Fresh Awards, another annual event for the industry, this time organised by the Fresh Produce Consortium. The awards, hosted brilliantly this year by comedian and actor Hugh Dennis, recognise the high achievers in this great industry of ours and with a view to supporting our own sector, New Spitalfields Market was the sponsor of the Wholesale Supplier of the Year category. Tenants Association chairman Chris Hutchinson presented the award to the winner, George Carruthers & Sons of Glasgow.
We were up again first thing to host a tour of the market for attendees at the London Produce Show, joining them on the bus from Grosvenor House. Thirty people came on the tour and were given a guided walk around the market, met with lots of tenants and then had breakfast, before heading back to the show hotel. It is unusual to be able to give people you meet at a trade show the opportunity so quickly to experience the market first hand and to meet potential customers and suppliers face to face.
As we said at the start then – a very busy few days, but also extremely rewarding and valuable to the market. Now, what have we missed while we were away!?