What a fabulous weekend!  I really enjoyed my 3 days away in Tallinn last weekend, and can thoroughly recommend a visit there.  However, I got the timing horribly wrong.  It was 18 degrees at home last week and when we arrived in Tallinn, only 1 degree.  So, do go, but wait until May.  However, that cold weather is thoroughly appropriate for today’s task of helping to proof-read the Christmas Catalogue.  Yes, I know, it’s annoying isn’t it! We’ve only just recovered from the last one, but don’t blame me.  We only followed the larger wholesalers who had been doing it for many years before Cotswold Fayre started!  The belief is that the early bird catches the worm around May!

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Waitrose, performed their best in the last decade during the deepest parts of recession.  By no coincidence, Cotswold Fayre tends to grow faster in times of low economic growth.  Why is this?

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By the time you read this Article 50 may well have been triggered, or it May have been delayed (see what I did there?)  I have made my views on Brexit very clear over the past year, so have many others within the business world, but I like them whilst we voted “Remain” had resigned ourselves to the process of leaving, hoping for a smooth transition.  I wouldn’t say that I have become optimistic about being out of Europe but had begun to see some positives. 

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Paul Hargreaves - Back to Africa

13 Mar 2017 10:13:35

I’m writing this week’s blog from Western Kenya, where I am visiting our project and planning to try and make the children’s centre (orphanage and schools) more self-sufficient. For those who don’t know, we are doing this primarily by investing funds into a farm business. Now, you cry, what does Paul Hargreaves know about farming? And the answer is, “A lot more than I used to”.

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Paul Hargreaves - Inflation

3 Mar 2017 11:31:35

It seems that inflation will remain a hot topic for everyone within the next few months, but maybe especially for those in the food and drink sector.  It does seem as if there may be a perfect storm brewing with various factors coming together at once.  Let’s have a look at them and what we can do about them.

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I am always more interested in Dragon’s Den when companies come on from the speciality food world.  I think this series, so far, there have been three – and in any event there always seems to be at least one food and drink company on the programme.  What is especially interesting, of course, is to find out the financials of these suppliers, or in some cases, ex-suppliers.  These are the kind of questions it is not polite to ask during supplier meetings, and most suppliers are too small to have to post full audited accounts, so illuminating to see what is really going on.

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Paul Hargreaves would like to share insights on what he expects some of the retail trends to be in 2017, which have inspired some of Cotswold Fayre's product choices this year.

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Why is it that the same old lessons need to be learned time and time again?  I received a phone call last week advising me that one of our suppliers had gone into administration.  Launched at the peak of the popcorn revolution, Portlebay Popcorn, were different to many in that they made their own products.  Very commendable and something we look for as a priority with our suppliers. 

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Who would have forecast that Tesco would make a bid for Booker? However, as it stands, is this good news or bad news for the speciality food sector?

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There is no chance of complaining at present of the world being boring.  As I have started to write this blog, breaking news has just popped up on my phone, “President Donald Trump, America’s 45th Commander-in-chief has just been sworn in.

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