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Flying the flag for North East food and drink

Other posts by  |  Sheelagh Caygill on Google+ |  May 1, 2012 | 0 Comments
Jane Hogan

Jane Hogan

Jane Hogan is set to increase the profile of food and drink producers, sellers and hospitality businesses across the North East of England.

She is the new Business Development Manager at Taste North East and her role is to find new markets for and to support any food or drink-based businesses in the North East to reach their full potential – from those who grow and make to those that sell, prepare or serve food and drink.

Jane said: “Our role at Taste North East is to inspire everyone from families to football clubs and big and small organisations to discover, source and share local food and drink.  We are so lucky to have outstanding local food – from Tweed to Tees. Our region has one of the best larders in the country, thanks to its strong fishing and farming heritage, and our producers are some of the most inspiring in the UK.

“Connecting people – especially buyers and suppliers and creating a buzzing network of people and businesses who buy, supply, produce and consume food and drink in the region and beyond is pretty fundamental to what we do.2

Jane has a background within the innovation, engineering and manufacturing and corporate finance sectors and has also founded two businesses of her own.

Outlining her goals further, Jane said: “My aim is for the North East to punch well above its weight food and drink-wise.  By working together we can shape a place where local food is actively sought out, enjoyed and shared.  Lovingly produced food and drink can make a good experience a great and memorable experience whether you are buying it, having it served to you or cooking and eating it yourself.

“I want to make it easier for people to find and get hold of what we have here – to create great experiences for their families, customers, visitors and of course themselves.  If people want to find out more about local food our directory of places to find, buy and eat local food is a great starting point,” she continued.

“And if we’re enjoying food which has been produced and served locally we’re supporting our neighbours and their families because they are getting more business and a fairer deal, and when things are tight I want to know that my money is helping people who are close to me, that’s super important.”

Winning trade, developing new markets and arranging Meet the Buyers events for food and drink producers is at the heart of Jane’s responsibilities.

She has two decades’ experience helping a huge variety of businesses find new markets, from plastics to publishing, securing venture capital finance and running a £110m regeneration project.

And as well as marketing roles in the higher education sector, Jane also founded and ran business consultancies, twentyeight, which helps firms find new business, and Pure Insight, which works with international corporations including Philips and Unilever to develop their Research and Development and innovation capabilities through seminars, workshops and membership services.

Now as the Business Development Manager of Taste North East, she is working with food and drink businesses to ensure they are at the top of their game and able to achieve their full potential.

Members receive advice on adding value to their products and services, discounted training, ingredients and packaging, and are kept up to date about the latest food industry news and legislation, plus funding and opportunities to help them grow.

Jane said: “Taste North East isn’t just for enterprises growing or making local food – we can save anyone linked to the food and drink sector time and money by being part of Taste, regardless of their size or type, including processors, growers, food retailers and distributors and the hospitality sector.”

Jane will be leading the Taste North East campaign for regional produce to be sold in every food outlet in the North East and by retailers of all sizes.

The organisation is also aiming to inspire the hospitality sector, restaurants, hoteliers, pubs and caterers to serve local food and drink to their customers.

It has linked up with partners including Love Food, Taste Durham, Stockton Borough Council, Eat! Festival, Newcastle University and Northumberland Tourism to spread the message.

And Jane is exploiting the power of social media such as Twitter and Facebook to shout the message from the rooftops.

She said: “We’re doing our bit by inspiring organisations of all sizes to pledge their commitment to source one or two new products locally.  We help people to understand the value that a good food offering can add to a visitor or customer’s experience of a place.  Once they decide that they do want to discover more about local food we bring them together with producers who pitch their wares and broker new business relationships.

“We work with the distributors and the wholesalers who make local food more accessible and affordable, and we’re the go-to place for ANYONE involved in North East food and drink to come to for advice, information and intelligence about who’s doing what related to food and drink in the UK.”

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Category: Industry news

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