Somerset is at the forefront of the food and drink industry, with an established reputation for high quality produce. It is a buoyant £500million plus sector, with a dynamic and dedicated network of over 8,500 farmers and food producers – the highest number of food producers in any UK county.
The make-up of the sector in Somerset is wide and varied, with many smaller producers and a handful of large, nationally recognised firms, such as:
• Oscar Mayer Ltd, Chard – 800+ employees
• Refresco Gerber, Bridgwater – 700+
• Bakkavor Desserts, Highbridge – 400+
• Greencore Evercreech, Evercreech – 300+
• Wyke Farms, Bruton – 230+
• Vion Food Group, Wiveliscombe – 200+
• Andros UK LTS, Frome – 200+
• Romford Food Group Ltd (RWM), Langport – 200+
• Framptons Ltd, Shepton Mallet – 200+
• Muller Milk & Ingredients, Bridgwater – 200+
• Yeo Valley Organic Co Ltd, Cannington – 200+
• Ministry of Cake Ltd, Taunton – 200+
• Coombe Farm, Crewkerne – 150+
• Norseland Ltd, Ilchester – 150+
• Branston Ltd, Ilminster – 150+
• AJ & RG Barber Ltd, Ditcheat – 150+
• Dairy Crest Ltd, Frome – 150
(numbers correct as at 2014 or as revised where supplied. Note some producers employ seasonal labour)
Somerset produce benefits from a strong reputation
Somerset's strong reputation is an advantage for food and drink companies moving to the county, helping them to market their products more successfully. High quality ingredients are on the doorstep, there is a vast amount of agricultural land available at a good price, and the strong, natural link with tourism gives a great boost to the market for Somerset produce. Annual shows with a regional and national reach, such as the Royal Bath & West Show at the end of May each year, helps to showcase local produce. International exports of Somerset Cheese and cider, amongst other products, now reach well over 170 countries, with UKTI support playing a significant part in opening doors to new and emerging markets in China and elsewhere.
Somerset's thriving food culture
This is a supportive and collaborative industry, where food and drink businesses can prosper thanks to a thriving local food culture. Somerset food and drink businesses recognise the value of working together with an example being the Association of Somerset Brewers establishing a joint website to help market their beers to both local and national consumers. Residents are keen to buy locally-produced food and drink, and people outside the South West see it as a strong sign of quality and authenticity, making the Somerset location an excellent sales tool for businesses in this sector.
There are active business support networks in place thanks to groups such as Levels' Best and Taste of the West, and agencies such as Somerset Local Food Direct and Somerset Farmers Markets ensuring that local produce is higher up the shopping list for local consumers.
This is the story of how it all began, from Derek Miles. ‘I started working in the Tea Trade in the early 1950's, in the City of London, first for a Dealers and then for a firm of Brokers in Plantation House, Mincing Lane. My background was in tea, as my grandfather Henry Miles started a blending business in Birmingham in 1888 and my father and uncle ran it until 1974 after which I purchased it with a friend Norman Halls, and we incorporated it into D.J.Miles & Co.’ – Derek MilesRead more...
Dedicated to producing innovative research based products of the highest quality for animals and humans, Probiotics Int Ltd (Protexin) was founded in 1992 with Managing Director Toby Lewis at the helm. Born and bred in Somerset he wanted to stay in this beautiful part of the world and moved to premises in Stoke sub Hamdon.Read more...