Supermarkets should give more space to high-quality products from artisanal British producers, says Sam Rosen-Nash

There's something about the word 'speciality' that suggests exclusivity and luxury. When used for food, images appear of premium truffles, handmade cakes and unusual preserves made with the finest ingredients using artisan methods.

Speciality food can come with a higher price tag, adding to the perception of it as an occasional treat rather than part of everyday life, so retailers tend to relegate it to its own area. However, it needn't be like that. There are some items handmade chocolates, for instance aimed at very special occasions, but there are a large number of products that should be part of daily life.

These products may seem expensive, but I would argue that on a cost-per-meal basis a bottle of single-estate olive oil will give pleasure more than worth its price. Similarly, while a speciality preserve or condiment may seem expensive compared with a supermarket product, you will often find that only a teaspoon of the superior product is required compared with a tablespoonful of the mass-produced one. And in difficult economic times, I believe the pleasure derived from a truly excellent marmalade at breakfast makes it very good value and a wonderful way to start the day.

There is clear demand for excellent products, as can be seen by the success of regional farmers' markets. Consumers are crying out for foods with real flavour and traceable ingredients they know and trust.

At Fortnum's, quality is our primary buying pillar, and we provide the best-tasting food by ensuring we only use the finest ingredients, exclusive recipes and optimum production methods, as well as searching out the best producers. This principle is store-wide, so that for example our finest salt is also used in our prepared foods and served in our restaurants. To complement our ranges we take time to search for the very best proprietary brands, which we are proud to promote alongside our own label. One of our most sought-after products is honey, made by our own rooftop bees. You can't get more local than that.

Fortnum & Mason built its reputation on innovation, and we will always strive to seek out the very best and most original products for our customers. This celebration of quality makes the Speciality & Fine Food Fair, on 6-8 September in London, such an important event for our business. Its support of the smallest producers bears a message to the food world that there is home-grown food available that answers customers' demand for quality and affordability. Once recognised, they can go on to achieve bigger things. Even we started small.

Tyrrells is an excellent example of opportunity seized. The company was one of the first to exhibit at the show [and still does] and has since gone on to achieve great things.

It is encouraging to see some of the supermarkets recognising the importance of speciality food. Waitrose has made a feature of stocking locally sourced British produce. Far from limiting business, this area seems to be getting bigger. There are a huge number of unique producers out there, offering fantastic products. Events such as the Speciality & Fine Food Fair give these smaller producers access to the major grocery players, and can make a difference to their business in the immediate and long term. I hope larger grocery retailers take heed.

Sam Rosen-Nash is grocery buyer at Fortnum & Mason.