Lancashire’s food and drink manufacturing sector can play a key role in the county’s economic recovery from Covid-19, a national retail expert has claimed.
Suzi Wynne, managing director at Wynne Business, works with national retailers including Waitrose, the Co-Operative and Tesco. She specialises in helping growing food and drink manufacturers to target contracts with supermarket chains.
She said with people changing shopping and eating habits, there will be new opportunities for growing food and drink firms to expand into retail and develop their Lancashire supply chains.
The comments came with Suzi currently working alongside Two Zero on a first of its kind scaleup programme for the county’s business leaders which is currently open for applications. Route Into Retail is aimed at helping fast-growing Lancashire food and drink manufacturers gain retail contracts.
Suzi said: “Food and drink manufacturing is one of Lancashire’s key sectors but our businesses have felt the wide-reaching effects of the coronavirus pandemic over the past year. People are shopping online for groceries more often and making less visits to the supermarket each week.
“This has limited the opportunities for growing food and drink brands to catch the eye of shoppers on supermarket shelves and these companies have also been hit with the shutdown of the leisure and hospitality sectors, another important outlet for their goods.
“With restrictions easing, growing food and drinks brands have new opportunities to thrive in both retail and hospitality outlets and their success can be an important part of Lancashire’s overall recovery from the current downturn.”
Route Into Retail is aimed at Lancashire food and drink manufacturing leaders already growing their business at more than 20 per cent per year who are looking to accelerate their growth by gaining contracts with retailers.
If features a combination of tailored coaching, quality one-to-one support and focused peer learning sessions to help business owners and managers define their sales strategy, create and hone their pitch as well as advice on launching new products.
The commercial programme is 75% funded by Lancashire County Council with businesses asked to contribute the remaining £495.
Suzi added: “The programme starts in May, which is great timing for business leaders to begin to take advantage of these new opportunities to improve their visibility over the summer months as the UK emerges from lockdown.
“You may already be working with restaurants or local retailers and feel ready to take the next step. Route Into Retail will help you put your brand on a national stage.”
Applications are set to close on April 16 and 10-12 business places are available.
Businesses can find out more about Route Into Retail, including eligibility criteria, and apply via the Route Into Retail programme page.