County Supplies' innovative marketing campaign that shines the spotlight on the excellence of British fresh produce and growers was amongst the runners up in the Marketing Campaign of the Year category at the FPC Fresh Awards 2023 last week.
County Supplies has been supplying London’s top chefs and restaurants with fresh produce from New Covent Garden Market since 2005. In 2019, the company decided it was time to rebrand the business. However, little did the management team know that the arrival of Covid-19 was just around the corner.
Following a difficult two years pushing through a new brand identity – including rebuilding its website, upgrading delivery vehicles, redesigning new staff uniforms and growing its social following – during what were unprecedented times, they were ready for the next step, to showcase County Supplies and the importance of Britain’s fresh produce industry.
As a proud family business, without extensive marketing experience or FMCG-sized budgets, Count Supplies wanted to try something new to celebrate the fresh produce industry and those responsible for feeding our nation, including the amazing growers and customers they work with.
Centring the campaign around ‘The Best of British Farming’, they set out to celebrate the seasonal variety of British produce. “With a BBC poll revealing that fewer than 1 in 10 Brits know when some of the UK’s most well-known fruits and vegetables are in season, we wanted to educate and inform,” said CEO Rob Hurren, below.
Aimed at chefs and customers, the campaign sought to encourage the purchase of British produce in support of UK farmers and to help reduce food miles and promote sustainable farming. Rob added: “We wanted our audience to feel a connection with where our produce comes from and to realise the passion British growers have for their produce – from farm to fork!
“Plus, as we know, seasonal food is fresher, more nutritious and tastier – even though we may like to eat strawberries all year round, we know the best time is when they are in season in this country.”
County Supplies created a campaign with three core pillars:
The County Supplies Monthly Market Report
Over the past 12 months, the existing Market Report online has been transformed into an informative web page and new-look monthly magazine.
“Packed with the latest information on produce availability, it celebrates what’s in season from the best of British growers, along with relevant industry news,” explains Rob. “Publishing on the 1st of every month, it provides valuable insights for chefs enabling them to create delicious seasonal menus.”
Aside from its online presence, the report is also shared with customers and promoted via County Supplies social media channels including Instagram, LinkedIn and Google ads.
Launched in Autumn 2022, the brand new Market Chef series recognises the very best of seasonal produce. County Supplies wanted to create a cooking series that used only the finest British ingredients and local produce.
Rob says: “To date, we have filmed over 15 menu ideas including English Asparagus, Salsa Romesco & Leafy Lemon Aioli, Forced Rhubarb Crumble and Coconut Custard and Middle Eastern Carrot & Chickpea Soup. These have been supported by six ‘produce tips’ which inform and educate chefs on how to select the best produce.”
Working with renowned chef Ryan Stafford, here’s a taste of some of the menus that have been created with British produce at their heart:
Each menu is published on the website with its own dedicated landing page and promoted across social channels including the newly-formed County Supplies YouTube channel.
Since launch, The Market Chef has reached an audience of more than 132,000!
The County Supplies Grower Interview Series (NEW)
“At County Supplies, we always try to source the very best seasonal produce from leading British growers,” Rob says. “From crunchy apples in spring to baby leaf during the summer – we are incredibly proud to support British growers.
“Through our new series of interviews with some of the UK’s leading growers, we wanted to capture their stories and passion for how to grow the best seasonal produce. From succulent strawberries to the perfect asparagus spears, readers gain an insider’s perspective on how growers maximise flavour and quality, and how they’re continually working towards building a more sustainable farming future.”
These interviews appear in the monthly Market Report, are featured on the County Supplies website, promoted on social channels and shared with customers.
“When we originally created the ‘The Best of British Farming’ campaign, we wanted to give our audience a better understanding of where their food comes from, why they should back British farming by choosing seasonal produce for their menus and how their contribution can have a positive impact on the industry’s carbon footprint,” says Rob.
“Fast forward 12 months and we’ve been delighted by the reach and engagement the campaign has achieved. Here’s the latest stats and audience reach figures:
Socially, the efforts have resulted in a total reach of over 110,000 with impressions exceeding 300,000 - this is against a spend backdrop of just under £4K!
The number of visitors to the website has also increased – up 49% year on year. Visitors are also spending 3x longer on the site with page views seeing an increase of 66% (YoY).
Open rates and click through rates for the monthly Market Report newsletter now average at 43% and 8% respectively, exceeding the industry benchmarks of 20% and 2.5%. Over the year, there were over 8K monthly interactions with customers.
“Through our campaign, we’ve successfully influenced chefs in menu planning and what they buy. After all, buying British, not only tastes better but also helps to reduce food miles and creates jobs in the countryside which will hopefully lead to more sustainable farming projects in the future,” says Rob.