GROWERS have a chance to sell into an expanding food service market and replace imported produce, says the NFU.
Horticulture board chairman Sarah Dawson spelled out the opportunity during the first Craft Guild of Chefs Cookery and Food Festival.
She said the fresh produce sector had been overly focused on the retail market, possibly at the expense of seeking out opportunities to supply restaurants, schools and hospitals – a sector worth £45 billion a year to the British economy.
She said: "By developing relationships with chefs and the food service sector, I believe there is huge potential to displace large volumes of imported produce. British growers in certain parts of the country could be encouraged to grow more of the exotic, niche ingredients that chefs want to use, but which are currently only available as imports."