Billed as the biggest annual national celebration of British food and drink, British Food Fortnight (BFF) kicked off on Saturday (September 17) and runs until Sunday October 2.
Since its beginnings in 2002, BFF has become an opportunity for those who work in any aspect of food and drink to come together and promote the benefits of buying and eating from our home-produced British larder.
Hundreds of shops, pubs, restaurants, markets and visitor attractions are embracing the challenge of ‘going British’ for two weeks. In some parts of the country, entire towns are taking part.
There is a national competition led by BFF ambassador chef Raymond Blanc OBE to find the most imaginative celebration; a special focus on showcasing the benefits and opportunities of serving British food in schools and hospitals; and a campaign to keep Harvest Festival on the national calendar.
Chiddingstone Primary School in Kent will also be going to Buckingham Palace during BFF to celebrate winning ‘Cake for The Queen’: a competition for schools run by the organisers of BFF to commemorate The Queen’s birthday. A total of 98 schools took part in the contest that invited schools to make a cake using healthy, local ingredients. The winning cake was made with home-grown carrots, Kentish apples and local eggs and honey.
Alexia Robinson, founder of BFF, said: “Britain’s food production is one of the areas most affected by Brexit. This is a watershed moment for British food.
“Subsidised and regulated for 40 years by Europe, our farmers will now be competing in a global market place. British food is produced to the highest standards. It really is some of the very best in the world, and the opportunities to trade on this in the global market are immense.
“But building the brand ‘British food’ starts at home and it is more important than ever that we excite the British public to buy it. We need to give farmers the confidence to continue to invest in innovation and quality, thus ensuring our food security and a robust supply of quality domestic food.
“BFF has been flying the flag for British food for 15 years. We now ask the Government to join us in promoting the qualities of British food to the consumer and – as part of their Brexit planning – to make it a priority that schools, hospitals and all Government organisations lead the way by sourcing British food.”
BFF has long provided an umbrella for organisations that care about promoting British food to work together. This year sees The Women’s Institute, National Trust, Sustainable Restaurant Association, National Association of Care Catering, British Culinary Federation, National Association of British Market Authorities, Campaign for the Protection of Rural England, Harrison Catering Services, Cucina Restaurants, Whiting and Hammond pubs, University Caterers Organisation, Hospital Caterers Association and National Federation of Young Farmers Clubs championing national food through their activities.
The National Trust, for example, is planning food-themed events including scone baking, apple and pear harvesting, and traditional recipe testing at their properties.
High street chain Co-op is the official sponsor of BFF 2016. To find out how you can take part in BFF, download promotional material and details of what is happening near you by visiting www.lovebritishfood.co.uk or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
‘Love British Food’ has been founded by the organisers of BFF to provide consumers, retailers, caterers and schools with a one-stop-shop of advice on the diverse range of food that Britain produces.