Stefano headshot

We spoke to Stefano Cuomo, Managing Director, Macknade about what he thinks the products and trends are we should be looking out for in 2021 and why he can't wait to be united with the artisan food & drink community in September. 

What trends AND PRODUCTS do you see being prominent in the fine food and drink industry for 2021? What's in and what’s out for 2021? 

The truism of trends is that they come and go!!

At Macknade we recognise the importance of community, a place that people feel secure and loved which has never been more relevant than this year. We are clear that businesses like Macknade, that act as important hub to their community should make a real effort to understand their communities needs and continue to be the beating heart of their community for years to come.

I am excited at the prospect of working closely with partners that have this same world view and share our ethos in delivering it.

New Year tends to be a time for health and detoxing. What’s your top ‘no and low alcohol’ pick and what‘s your top healthy snack choice? 

The only detox folks want is from Covid!! I can see a continued interest this year in quality drinks, whether alcoholic or non-alcoholic, 2020 has been crazy but it has allowed people to try different price to quality ratios they might've not tried otherwise i.e. spend a little more on good wine.

With regards to no and low, there is so much out there that's exciting! I love what Square Root Soda do and not just because of their fantastic sodas but because of their ethos and approach in everything they do. It is not just about a finished product in a bottle but it's about really understanding the ingredients that have made something so delicious.

Green grocery is a huge department for us and so we are always encouraging people to eat more fruit and veg, not explicit vegan products per se, but better still helping people feel comfortable to cook with vegetables. Another emphasis for us will be on supporting supply chains that highlight the importance of well reared meat i.e. in the management of soils and environments - again less but better!

Have you got any New Year resolutions?

We just want to be the best for our community, whether that's in the new year or mid year, we want to join our peers in shifting the dial on bad consumption and the negative impacts it can have. I believe our sector can really drive positive change in the years ahead and I can see a generational shift in businesses delivering this collectively.

What are your hopes for 2021 for our industry?

We reflect our communities and facilitate the relationship our communities have with food and drink!

We now have the opportunity to recalibrate this relationship, to reduce negative consumption to move away from decades of abusing supply chains and subsequently our natural environment and I believe SMEs in the food and drink sector stand at the spearhead of delivering this change. We need to support each other through the operational trauma of covid and, no doubt Brexit (!), to come out stronger, not only economically, but for the stewardship of our environment and communities.

Where do you think the industry needs to improve in 2021?

There needs to be an understanding of value, is it really just about the money? As businesses in this sector we hold a deep responsibility to our communities and our world, I think we need to be braver in sharing collective thinking and supporting consumers in new and improved ways, not to just follow the market and react to trends.

I believe bigger businesses and stakeholders should be looking to the next generation of businesses coming through and supporting them to deliver the community value that is required, supporting the shift from simplistic ‘shareholder value’ to a broader community value.

We are excited to bring the community back together at Olympia in 2021. Do tell us what you love most about sourcing products from Speciality & Fine Food Fair 2021?

You have expressed it yourselves… it is bringing the community together!! I love seeing so many producers face to face in one space, catching up with old friends and discovering new ones.

Why is Speciality & Fine Food Fair important for your business?

It is the ability to learn and discover, as well as rekindle long term relationships all under one roof that is so important and no more so than after this year…I can’t wait!!