BRIDGING the gap between Scotland’s catering businesses and the nation’s fine larder of quality produce has been big business for Fife Creamery down the years.
So it should come as no surprise that the chilled food service supplier celebrated 60 years in business with an exhibition at Keavil House Hotel in Dunfermline, bringing attendees face to face with the people behind the products.
This year’s event was a special one according to Steve Appolinari, sales director at Fife Creamery, who said the firm had pulled out all the stops to create an event that would excite its customers.
“We’ve got manufacturer/owners here that know their stuff,” said Appolinari.
“The people who are here are the people behind the products.
“We have tried to say, ‘wholesalers have shows every year, they’re ram packed with suppliers; we’ve hand-picked 30 suppliers and they’re going to be the right people and they’re going to bring something to the party’.”
With Fife Creamery stalwarts like Cobbs Cakes and Browns Food Group standing alongside relative newcomers such as sugar-free smoothie firm Savse, there was plenty for exhibition attendees to take in.
And with enough food on display to stock more than a few venues, Appolinari and the Fife Creamery team were also able to show off how products available through the wholesaler can come together in some interesting ways, with producers on hand to keep customers abreast of the latest developments from across the country.
“What helps is when the people behind the company are there and they can tell you what’s happening all around the UK,” said Appolinari.
“That’s a big thing for the customer. The guys who are in the know that serve London or key European cities say ‘this product is really starting to work and it’s ready for the Scottish market place’, or ‘here’s something regional that works as well’.”
Guests at the event were invited to try samples of Fife Creamery’s food offer from across a host of categories, ranging from soups and breakfasts through to dinners and coffee, with producers on hand from the likes of filling experts Calder Foods to bakery specialist Aryzta, to explain how their produce fits into the category.
Speaking at the event, Appolinari told SLTN that providing an efficient and quality food offer for catering firms dates back to the 1980s – when the firm was the original supplier of high street baker Greggs – and the birthday exhibition provided the perfect opportunity to showcase this.
“We were the original chilled food supplier to Greggs so when Greggs had 12 shops in Glasgow we were the company developing the products,” he said.
“They had the plan all those years ago that set them ahead of the game and that was consistency, speed of service, food safety and quality.
“So those sandwich fillings [at the exhibition], that’s what we took to them all those years ago ‘this model was what Greggs were after, and basically the rest is history,” he said.
It wasn’t just produce on display at the exhibition, Appolinari also brought representatives from equipment suppliers Taylors and Cossiga, to talk about the features and benefits of their catering equipment, as well as answering any practical questions on price and margins.
And the exhibition is just the start, according to Appolinari, who said Fife Creamery plans to take its popular depot tour to the next level with the introduction of a similar setup in its planned training room, improving on “the best sales tool we’ve got”.
“Our training room at Fife Creamery will allow our customers to come see all of this in action,” he added.