UK Farmshops and Independent Delis Clinic - Monday 18th July PDF Print E-mail

The IEA held a clinic on Monday July 18th on the theme of 'Breaking into UK Farmshops and Independent Delis', as part of the Channel Clusters programme. The Welsh mentor, Lori Whinn, travelled over to give companies an understanding of this channel. The event took place in the IEA Boardroom in Merrion Square.

Snapshot - UK Farmshops and Independent Delis:
The food brands stocked by these retailers are not normally available through supermarkets, and many consumers have a different perception of value and quality when buying food within this sector -viewing their purchases as “feel good treats” – rather than part of the weekly food shop. They will therefore pay a premium for products purchased from these outlets.

1: Farm Shops: This is a dynamic sector and has seen rapid growth. It is estimated that there are c 3000 farm shops across the UK. These vary from small shops that were originally set up to sell produce from a particular farm – maybe with the range enhanced by other local produce, through to highly sophisticated retail environments that lean more towards a cosmopolitan “Food Hall” rather than the traditional notion of a farm shop. The performance of farm shops in the economic downturn has been patchy with prosperity depending largely on location and level of pro-activity demonstrated by the proprietor. Generally, outlets with cafes / restaurants and other facilities have fared better as they offer more of a complete visitor experience rather than those that are focusing exclusively on food products.

Examples of some premium Farm Shops in the UK are: The Hollies – Cheshire; Garsons – Surrey 2 branches – Esher (Surrey) and Titchfield (Hampshire) and Chatsworth – Derbyshire

2: Delis: This sector is extremely fragmented with different flavours of delis representing a wide variety of cuisine from across the globe. The “General” Deli sector is also experiencing varied fortunes due to the economy and – again – their prosperity is largely dependent on their location and the uniqueness of what they have on offer. There are various estimates of the number of these general delis across the UK, however, a figure of c4,000 seems likely. The search for local food is far less pronounced within this sector. National producers are widely represented, and overseas speciality products are also prominent. There is a decent proportion of chilled space available – especially in the traditional deli counter format. Delis are more widely found in towns and cities – although rural areas, especially those with a strong tourism sector – are catching up. Many are stand alone retailers, but there are some chains – such as Chandos Delis in the South West. , and Peckhams in Scotland.

Lori Whinn Profile:
Lori is a business mentor for artisan producers and is a specialist in the independent retail sector. Lori has been working with rural and artisan producers of high quality food and drink products for 10years. She is based in Mid-Wales and is an associate of Total Food Marketing – delivering mentoring to Welsh food producers through the Menter a Busnes Programme.

She also heads up a Farm Shop & Deli Cluster Programme as part of the Channel Clusters Programme. The purpose of this cluster project is to promote producers and their products pro-actively into the sector, and to work with them to obtain listings in farm shops and deli’s – either supplying direct or through appropriate distributors.

Outside of her role with Total Food Marketing, Lori also works with artisan producers from other areas of the UK and Europe, and is a member of the Guild of Fine Food and a regular Great Taste Awards judge. She runs workshops and delivers presentations on behalf of Regional Food Groups covering subjects such as “Brand Personality for Artisan Producers” and “Selling into the Independent Retail Sector – Farm Shops and Deli’s”.

Her clients range from micro business moving from part time to full time production, companies looking to increase their branding and marketing professionalism in order to complete in this crowded sector, through to well established companies with revenues of £3million+ who want to develop and market new products into established or new market sectors. Lori’s current portfolio includes: preserve makers, traditional bakers and confectioners, chocolatiers, granola producers, fruit farms, ready meal producers and makers of vegetarian specialities.


This project was made possible through a financial contribution from the European Regional Development Fund Ireland Wales (INTERREG 4A) Programme 2007 - 2013. This article reflects the views of the author only and not those of the Programme Authorities.