Headed up by Michelin-starred celebrity chef Tom Kerridge and Ocado chairman Stuart Rose, Britain’s Next Top Supplier winner will secure a listing on ocado.com, a £20,000 marketing package and mentoring from the previous year’s winner.
The latest outing of the initiative comes at the same time that research showed shoppers in the UK are “increasingly scrutinising the provenance of their food”. A third are looking for small label products, while half use supermarkets to access small suppliers. However, 45 per cent of the YouGov survey’s respondents do not believe big supermarkets are doing enough to support small businesses.
Kerridge, who is the author of Proper Pub Food and owns The Hand & Flowers restaurant in Marlow, said: “We’re looking for the next big thing in food and drink and can’t wait to see what is on offer this year.
“This is not only a life-changing opportunity for the winner, but also gives home cooks the opportunity to get their hands on some of the best ingredients and latest products.”
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Last year’s winner was Hannah Rhodes and her craft honey beer Hiver. Since securing her spot on the Ocado website in 2014, her brand has gone on to secure listings in nationwide bars and restaurants.
Rose commented: “Ocado is a great British retail success story, so helping to give the next breed of small suppliers the opportunity to get their products online and available to shoppers across the country is something I am really passionate about.
“I’m delighted to re-join the panel as the calibre of entrants last year was staggering, even for someone like me who has been pitched a multitude of startup ideas over the years.”
Ocado has said that suppliers “of any size” are encouraged to enter.