Britons are more willing to buy expensive, top-quality food than ever before. This 'democratisation of luxury is demonstrated by the rising market for hand-made origin-specific foods, which has grown 30% in one year. Research from Datamonitor finds that 83% of UK consumers believe it is important to be 'open-minded about trying new products and experiences. Datamonitor predicts that the trend is set to grow UK spending on speciality food, drink and personal care will increase from £3.4bn in 2004 to £4.5bn in 2009.
Top hosts take to Brown Cow
Lake District brewer and pub operator Jennings has bought the Brown Cow in Oswaldtwistle, near Blackburn, in a six-figure deal. The new licensees, David and Gillian Heyes, were named Licensees of the Year in 2004 by the British Institute of Innkeeping. They aim to concentrate on using varied foods from local producers, and offering a diverse range of cask ales. Jennings business development manager Bob Brooks said: 'We believe the Brown Cow represents excellent value for money and the acquisition strengthens our presence in an important area.
SFI to build on wine tastings
Customers at five city-centre Slug & Lettuce bars enjoyed a series of wine-tasting sessions staged by wine supplier Bibendum. The two-hour sessions comprised tastings of two whites, a red and a rose and were complemented with a selection of appetising bites. SFI head of menu development Jason Danciger said feedback from the tastings had been excellent, prompting the company to organise similar events in the future. SFI is particularly keen to encourage the matching of different foods and wines. Bibendum, which supplies wine to a range of on-trade venues across the country, is eager to develop wine education, particularly in pub locations. 'The Slug & Lettuce is taking a responsible approach to educating customers on fine wines, teaching them to appreciate the finer things in life, said spokeswoman Liz Tarry. The wine tastings were held at Slug & Lettuce pubs in London, Cardiff, Cambridge, Chester and Edinburgh.