Fine foods wholesaler Cotswold Fayre has launched a series of networking events for farm shops and delis, which it claims lack opportunities to talk to each other.

It aims to set up 12 Cotswold Fayre Connect groups in Southern England, so its customers will have to drive no more than 30 miles for meetings.

The first two sessions have included a presentation and Q&A with mystery shopping group Shopper Anonymous about ­customer service.

"We started this because we did a survey of our customers last year and one of the biggest things that came out was that there wasn't really any opportunity for independent retailers to share ideas," said MD Paul Hargreaves. "Garden centres are well networked but delis and farm shops have no way of finding out what each other are doing apart from via their local chamber of commerce."