Support for independent retailers & producers

We’ve brought together a range of genuine offers from our partners, enabling independent retailers to benefit from discounts and promotions during these difficult trading conditions.

Here at the Guild of Fine Food we have been supporting those who sell and make food for 40 years.

Overall, we’re optimistic about post-pandemic recovery: in 2021, 87% of you who run shops and 68% of you who make products told us you are expecting an increase in sales. Promisingly, over half of the businesses we talk to expect to create new jobs in the coming year. With that in mind, we’re taking the first steps towards launching two new initiatives – a mentoring scheme for our members and the start of a job matching / apprenticeship programme. Find out more below – we hope many of you will want to be involved.

Our industry faces an incredibly challenging time and we know the lengths independents have gone to in order to keep their teams intact and serve their local communities, and we’ve been campaigning for the government to recognise the role our sector has played in the last two years by ramping up its support as we move into the recovery stage.

Our members’ businesses form the lifeblood of both our local high streets and our food and drink culture and with the right support can ensure a diverse, healthy and sustainable future for food and drink across the UK. It is in everyone’s interests to ensure that independent food retail is here to stay.

There are huge demands on the sector, which are creating BOTH challenges and opportunities. There is also an awful lot of information circulating the internet and social media that generically helps business and individuals: all useful, but we will try and distill the most useful for you on a regular basis.

We are working hard to put together resources to support all those involved in our sector:

  • Make sure you are signed up for our support bulletin: sent out at every fortnight, full of information specifically relevant to independent food retailers and the producers who supply them. It will give you practical business support.
  • If you are an independent retailer and do not currently receive a printed copy of Fine Food Digest and would like to going forward, please apply here.
  • To further support our members, we are currently gathering interest for a mentoring scheme and and a career/job-matching service. Please help us scope these schemes and ensure they are beneficial for you by registering your interest and feedback in the two brief forms below.

Mentoring scheme

Would you benefit from having a mentor? Could you help advise a mentee? Let us know here.

Job-matching / apprenticeship programme

Are you an individual looking for work or an apprenticeship, or a company currently advertising a vacancy or on that might be in the future? Tell us how the Guild could help you.

Brexit help page

As part of our support for small food & drink businesses, we continue to help you navigate the Brexit maze by picking out salient links and points that you should read and act upon.  Check out ourlatest advice on Brexit here.

Photo by Rocco Dipoppa on Unsplash

Advice on labelling and Natasha's Law

With Natasha’s Law coming in to effect from 1 October 2021, we are putting together a special support package for Guild members to help ensure you are compliant with the new labelling laws specifically relating to foods that are prepacked for direct sale.

The package will include:

  • Overview of requirements, signposting relevant online resources and software that can assist in reaching labelling compliance
  • Online workshop for Guild members, with a dedicated Q&A section. This will be a bookable event for limited numbers and focus on implementation and compliance of the labelling laws.

If you are a Guild member, further information and a link to book into the workshop will be sent to your company’s Guild membership contact when available.  For more information on becoming a member of the Guild, please click here.

Printable signage to keep staff & customers safe

Government guidelines on social distancing is due to be published shortly.  In the meantime, through our affinity partnership, you can use these ACS resources:

Printable signage to encourage 2 meter distancing at tills
Printable signage to encourage contactless payment & responsible tillpoint behaviour
Printable signage to encourage 2 meter distancing whilst queuing outside shop

The key rule is a 2 meter distance between each customer and between customers and your staff.  The best way to do this is with floor markings and signage.

Please also consider:

  • Number of people in store at busy periods
  • How you restock safely (consider closing aisles, closing store to restocking period, using bollards/markers to separate customers & staff)

The full government list of essential retail businesses can be found here. “Supermarkets and other food shops, petrol stations, corner shops, newsagents and post offices” can remain open as long as they adhere to social distancing guidelines.

In the Press

As part of its wide-ranging support for small retailers and producers during the COVID-19 crisis, the Guild of Fine Food has been working hard to connect with the press to champion the work of the independents, sharing innovations and success stories from across our food and drink community.

See the latest activity over in our press room here.

Communicating your message

You’ve taken in the situation. You’ve adapted your business.

Now you’re keen to get your message out there, but you’re not sure how.

Finding the time to market your business can often be a challenge when you are busy with customer orders, coordinating supply issues and managing staff. Now, more so than ever.

Your regional press will want to spread the word about local businesses going the extra mile, so a press release can be a great way to get your message out to both new and existing customers. We’ve created a DIY press release template, where you can add in your details and initiatives, along with a factsheet on some tops tips for finding and engaging with press contacts.

Download the Factsheet

Download the Press Release template

'Good News' stories from our sector

Please continue to share your stories with us – they are helping other businesses with ideas and best practice across our sector.  You can share them by email to and via our social media pages (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn).

How to contact the Guild

The Guild of Fine Food team are currently working from our Gillingham and London offices, and from home, depending on department.

Please contact the team via the following email addresses:

All inboxes are monitored Monday to Friday 9.30am to 5.30pm.

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