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Influence of Chichester’s Food and Drink sector stretches far and wide
From supplying lobsters at Wimbledon to fresh salad across UK supermarkets, Chichester is a key player in the UK’s £120billion ‘farm to fork’ food chain.
The food and drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, contributing £29bn to the economy annually – outstripping all other manufacturing sectors, including automotive and aerospace.
And Chichester’s local food and drink businesses, producing a wide range of high-quality products and are central to the success of the sector in the South East, which (excluding London) is responsible for more than 11% of the UK’s food and drink manufacturing businesses*.
Chichester benefits from a long growing season – a district situated in a gap the South Downs, it boasts an ideal eco-climate, which is maximised by growers. Businesses here make land work harder than in other places, using tech and creating a cluster with economies of scale.
Home to some of the UK’s most successful businesses. Its community-orientated and pioneering ethos creates the ideal commercial climate for encouraging sustainability and innovation.
Natures Way Foods is an industry-leading innovator, which began in 1994 when the Langmead brothers had the idea to combine the freshest lettuce with the latest food manufacturing technology. Investing in new technologies from factory design to automation, it is market leader in fresh convenient food, with its range of salad products stocked across most of the UK’s leading supermarket as well as being the producer of Hellmann’s Coleslaw and Leon Salads. Most of the UK season crop is farmed locally, and its manufacturing sites are located just south of Chichester’s beautiful cobbled streets.
The Summer Berry Company has sustainability and stewardship of the land at its heart and supplies almost the entire UK supermarket industry with quality, fresh raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, and the family-owned Selsea’s Fish and Lobster Company are responsible for sourcing and distributing products across the UK.
There has been a 90% increase in vineyard coverage in the South Downs National Park since 2016, according to a report commissioned by the South Downs National Park Authority and carried out by Vinescapes. The area’s 51 vineyards and 11 wineries employ 358 people, attracting approximately 33,000 visitors a year and contributing directly around £24.5m to the local economy and £54m to the wider economy.
They include award-winning Ashling Park Estate. Managing Director, Gail Gardner, said: “Sussex is the sunniest county in the United Kingdom, according to Met Office records and Chichester’s annual growing season temperatures are higher than the regional average. With relatively warm and frost-free conditions and the Isle of Wight and the Downs providing shelter from strong winds the gentle rising coastal plain attracts high light and UV levels, making it ideal for vineyards.
“This little micro climate has encouraged us to invest £6m becoming a wine tourism destination. At our estate we now offer tours, tastings, restaurants, overnight stays, a gin school 50 bee hives, meeting facilities and a shop or as it called in the trade ‘cellar door’.
“Sussex has its own PDO (protected designation of origin) for wine and has become a wine region in itself with more Gold medal winners in wine competitions than any other county, Chichester is striving to be the capital of this wine region which adds value to our market positioning of excellence.”
Councillor Tony Dignum, Chichester District Council’s Cabinet Member for Growth, Place and Regeneration, said: “We are very proud to have such an array of high-quality producers and growers in our district.
“This region has some of the best light in the UK, which, together with the ground-breaking innovations that many of the businesses in the food and drink sector are pushing forward, we are excited about how bright the future is for this area.”
Simon Conway, MD of Vitacress Herbs, said: “As the market leader of fresh herbs in the UK, Vitacress Herbs has been a part of the Chichester community for 10 years. With over 12 hectares of glasshouses and a packing facility which delivers over 80 million herbs a year, it’s safe to say we’re heavily invested in the area. Aside from feeling lucky to be based in an area of outstanding beauty, Chichester provides us with access to transport links across the country. Known to be one the ‘sunniest places in Britain’, the climate contributes to growth of our herbs. With a progressive District Council and a City which welcomes over 16,000 students a year, there’s a wealth of opportunity and innovation in the local area.”
Members' Monthly Meeting- Chichester Festival Theatre, Caper and Berry Brasserie - 7th June
Join us for our June Members Meeting, hosted by Chichester Festival Theatres’ Caper and Berry Brasserie. Meet Chichester Festival Theatre’s Marketing Manager Jessica Blake Lobb and the Caper and Berry Team and enjoy a very special evening of networking at this beautiful venue.
Caper and Berry have provided excellent catering for Chichester Festival Theatre since 2014. They are dedicated to serving freshly produced food and drink wherever possible from local and regional suppliers, and their specialist team are experienced in providing swift and professional service.
Business Breakfast - 8th June
We are delighted to collaborate with the Chichester College for our Monthly Breakfast.
This monthly breakfast provides a friendly, relaxed and informative environment for local businesses to network and improve your business profile locally and there will be a guest speaker.
Includes full English breakfast with a vegetarian or vegan option too (please specify if you would like the vegetarian or vegan option in the dietary requirements field of the booking form – if left blank it will be assumed that you would like the full English).
As the breakfast is cooked in a training kitchen it will not be possible to accommodate specific dietary requirements unless specified at the time of booking.
Members Social: Call My Wine Bluff - Wine Tasting at CCDT - 23rd June
We’ve got together with our friends at Hennings Wine and the Chichester Community Development Trust to bring our members a superb “social” – a wine tasting evening with a difference.
Think you know your Noir from your Grigio, Rioja from Ribera?
Put your drinking skills to the test and book yourself in to join us for an evening of Call My Wine Bluff.
You’ll learn a little bit, be thrown a few red herrings and enjoy some great wines, just work out which of the Hennings Team is telling the truth about the wine you’re tasting. There’s a fab prize too for the winning team.
Venue: The Chapel, Chichester Community Development Trust
Ticket Price: £20
The Business Hothouse offers free support to pre-start and established businesses in the Coast-to-Capital area. From workshops to grant funding, they can provide the expert guidance to get your business growing. For more information, please go to their website
How to Write an Effective Business Plan - 1st June
About this event
Delivered by our start-up expert, Paul Dallibar, this remote, interactive workshop will ensure that you have the ability to write a business plan that covers all the bases and enables you to apply for business funding or grant funding.
How to Start a Start-up for Pre-Start & Early-Stage Businesses - 21st June
About this event
This is a free, online intensive programme that is live and interactive. There’s a Q&A opportunity at the end of each session and a chance to network with other attendees.
How to Lead & Manage Teams in 21st Century Organisations - 10th and 11th August
IN PERSON EVENT AT CHICHESTER HARBOUR PARK HOTEL
This is a free, intensive programme that is aimed at anyone who wants to understand how to develop an effective management style and how to make evidence-based choices about managing people.
For more information about what will be covered over this FREE two day course, please use the “Click here to book” button
Refreshments will be provided, please feel free to bring your own lunch