There’s a huge opportunity for retailers to grow ranges and communicate provenance more clearly, says Bruce Langlands

I wouldn't usually take what is said on Twitter as gospel, but a story posted recently caught my eye. According to research by Mintel, a quarter of UK consumers think local retailers should be stocking more British foods, while one third of those interviewed deemed the origin and purity of their food to be really important.

Was I surprised by the stats? Only that the figures weren't higher. Product provenance, traceability, purity and seasonality are hot topics with our shoppers at the moment. In fact, I believe there has never been more interest in understanding the full history of products, what makes them so unique and in supporting British producers.

And with so many different products on the market, from a variety of sources, it's not hard to understand why. At Harrods, having a fantastic range of British, artisan products is at the heart of our business and we work hand in hand with unique suppliers from across the country wherever possible. Yet while 'Britishness' is key, we have a big international influence, too. What is more of a delicacy than Manchego from La Mancha, washed down with sherry from Jerez? It's all about product provenance and authenticity.

The success of farmers' markets in recent times further illustrates the fact that consumers are crying out for British, locally produced products, so there is a huge opportunity for retailers to either expand their offering or communicate provenance more clearly. And the benefits don't stop there. Working with British suppliers also means shorter supply chains, meaning more efficient, certain and predictable operations as well as quicker reactions to seasonal trade and customer demand.

Harrods Food Halls have provided a theatrical setting for some of the finest foods from all over the UK since opening in 1849. Just next month we are hosting a Festival of British Foods campaign in-store, in partnership with food writer and cook Valentine Warner.

It's all about helping shoppers buy what's in season and focusing on undiscovered delicacies. One example is goat meat, which we'll be sourcing from Dorset and launching into Food Halls for the first time. It's a meat that has been on the culinary backburner for some time with a low-fat, high-protein content and a taste much like lamb.

We know British foods excite our shoppers so our buyers are constantly on the hunt for new premium British products from interesting producers to ensure we always have something new and seasonal to offer. In all categories, we are interested in products of outstanding quality and 'brand newness', which is why events such as Speciality & Fine Food Fair next week are so important in our calendar.

The show provides a great forum for retailers and producers to come together and discover the latest developments, trends and directions. Since the last event we have launched a number of new products from exhibitors - including Northern Irish soft cheese producers Fivemiletown Creamery and artisan pâté company Findlaters - on to our shelves and this year doesn't look set to be any different.

Our buyers always leave with a string of ideas for new products. And with the show apparently larger than ever before, we can't wait to see what's new on the artisan food market.

Bruce Langlands is director of the Food Halls at Harrods.

Focus on Speciality & Fine Foods