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Country Markets Ltd. - Home-produced Food

What are country markets?

Country markets are co-operatives of growers and producers of homemade goods that sell their produce directly to their community through regular markets. Together, these individual markets make up Country Markets Ltd., a thriving network of around 400 local markets that sell homemade baked goods and preserves, home-grown fruit, vegetables, plants and crafts at weekly venues across England, Wales and the Channel Islands.

 

What did we do?

The project, delivered by Country Markets Ltd., aimed to respond to the growing demand for home produced food by developing a range of support to help producers sell their goods through retail outlets like village shops.

This was achieved by developing a new brand, the Cooks of Country Markets, a producer toolkit and an advisory team, supported by a marketing and promotional campaign to strengthen the brand and encourage recruitment of members and outlets, particularly younger producers.

Informed by extensive market research, the project team developed and built a toolkit for indirect sales including a new website, highlighting the personal nature of the organisation by featuring producer profiles, a members’ area, a state of the art, bespoke product labelling programme and merchandising materials which strongly reflected the key findings of the research of an organisation with ‘real people’, ‘real food’ and the ‘community’ at its core to support activity out in the field.

A training programme was also devised and a team of 20 business support advisers recruited to support producers in the field in establishing sales into retail outlets in the area; this included support in labelling, business development, sales techniques, merchandising and marketing.

This was also supported by a national publicity campaign, which gained the organisation important press coverage and also by regional press activity using a publicity toolkit developed by the project team.

What impact did the project have?

By the time the project had ended in June 2012 147 producers had been supported to sell their produce through shops and other outlets. The project significantly improved the professionalism of these producers thanks to the specialist resources. A hundred and sixteen shops had been supplied with country markets food products, serving over 500,000 people in communities. 84 outlets continue to be supplied with goods and supplies of goods into new outlets continue to be developed.

Be inspired

Have a look at a film we produced of Hartley Wintney Country Market and the impact they have had on their community. You can also hear producer Karen's story, visit the Cooks of Country Markets or visit our resources page to see how you can become a producer of homemade goods.



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