Food for thought

This year was the second year for the show at its new home at The Three Counties Show Ground in Malvern, and it was lovely to see so many of you there this year. It takes a while for a new show to grow, but there were more visitors last year, many of whom had never attended before, and we’ve had a lot of positive feedback from those who came along. Lots of lovely goodies were available to taste, along with a wide range of alcoholic beverages – with artisan gin distilleries being particularly well-represented and their products enthusiastically sampled!

The chefs in the Demo Kitchen, including Felice Tocchini, Andy Link and Mark Stinchcombe, also did a great job of whetting appetites and sharing their expert knowledge. Mark’s dish of “Lamb, tomato and cumin, peas, lettuce and goats curd” went down particularly well with its amazing fresh flavours.

We’ve been crunching the numbers.
Although this year’s show went well, we know that it has the potential to become even bigger and better.  With this in mind, we gathered feedback from visitors and exhibitors so that we can get a good idea of how they feel the event can be improved.  We had an excellent response to our post-show survey, and the results have now been deliberated, cogitated and digested! We thought we’d take this opportunity to share some of the findings with you.

For starters 61% of visitors found 3 or more new suppliers, and 40% of visitors actually placed orders at the show, or shortly afterwards. Not surprisingly a high number of those that replied, 83%, said they’d recommend the show to colleagues or contacts within the industry and 93% of respondents said they’d be returning to the show next year. We are definitely doing something right!

What the visitors had to say:

Here are some individual comments that give you a flavour of the general feedback:

“Small producers demonstrating great passion and not easily found via general research.”

“Good variety of exhibitors, all welcoming and willing to not only demonstrate their products but also give insights on their development.”        

“Good size show– more manageable on the time factor and also more opportunity for conversations.  Great variety of offerings– to keep an eye on what’s around.”

“Always lovely to meet the great producers behind the products and tasting is always great so you know what you are selling.”

“Many good things: – variety of exhibitors – well organised show space – good accessibility and location – free entry.

“It’s a manageable size and allows time for good conversations with the exhibitors.”

Coming away with new customers
It wasn’t just the visitors who had nice things to say about the show. Exhibitors were also positive about the experience and felt the two days were well worth the investment:

“Malvern had a wonderful friendly atmosphere, I came home with a bundle of leads and we have already had orders from new customers and several more that are very close to converting. It was a new area for us and well worth the visit.”  Jean Edwards, Deli Farm Charcuterie.

“We took a stand at the show looking to get into a new market region outside our usual patch. The buyers/attendees at the show were high calibre and we secured some great new customers on the day without having to follow up.  Other exhibitors were all very friendly and we did a lot of cross selling which helped to expand our footprint. A well organised show set in the amazing backdrop of the Malvern Hills.”  Chris Jefferies, Ginjar.

This comment from healthy snack provider Go Nutz! really sums up what we believe is special about the show – we’re delighted that we’re not alone in feeling this way!

“As a healthy food start-up it’s very important for us to have enough face time with the buyers to explain what the product stands for – but at bigger events this is very difficult as there are too many people on the stands.  The show was friendly, welcoming and reasonably priced. We met buyers local to us who gave us invaluable direct feedback on our products. We also met a lot of small and medium sized retailers and wholesalers and managed to get talking to a national retailer! The best part of the show was the time that it allowed to actually engage and speak to the buyers rather than the mad rush that we see in bigger events.  Pranab Ghost, Go Nutz!

And the lucky winner is…
All the visitors who completed our survey were entered into a prize draw, and we’d like to congratulate Lois Bond, from Churn Valley Services, who was the lucky winner of a £50 John Lewis/Waitrose voucher. It’s in the post as we speak!

A penny for your thoughts
It’s always good to hear what you think of the show, so if you were there and have anything to add, please do leave us a comment here. If you weren’t, why not come and see what the show is like in 2019?  Next year the show is on Wednesday 1st and Thursday 2nd February, and it’ll be here before you know it!

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