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Ben O'Brien, Sourced Market: How To Get Listed

As a key element of the Futureminded event framework, our series of Futureminded Masterclasses will provide delegates with actionable market insights and an opportunity to engage in debate with thought leaders in the food, wellness, and hospitality industries. Featuring a carefully curated line-up of speakers, topics to be discussed include expert guidance on how to attract the attention of major retailers and a review of in-depth research into the way in which Covid-19 has re-shaped the wellness industry.

Walking into a big-name store and seeing your products on the shelf is an experience most direct-to-consumer entrepreneurs aspire to. As any new business owner will understand, getting noticed by the right people can transform fortunes, helping a brand with a small customer base grow into a nationally recognised name in only a short space of time. However, getting listed with a retailer can be a tough task, and even feel like an insurmountable challenge at times.

What to expect…

In a masterclass that’s sure to be invaluable to anyone looking to take their business to the next level, ‘foodpreneur’ Ben O’Brien, Founder and Chair of Sourced Market, will discuss how to fast-track your progress and avoid obvious mistakes on the route to success. Having revolutionised the idea of ‘street food’ by building a network of food and beverage marketplaces that take the best independent suppliers and connects them with consumers at festivals and in major transport hubs, his expertise on this subject is second to none.

Ben's masterclass will break down the process of building your pitch, from the checklist of essential boxes you need to tick to avoid an automatic rejection to the delivering core argument that will sway the hearts and minds of your target buyers. This is your chance to get in inside the mind of a leading food and drink retailer and buyer and equip yourself with the tools to earn you the all-important "yes" that will see your product listed.

About Ben O’Brien

It was the combination of a passion for food and a knowledge of the events industry that led Ben to the concept for Sourced Market. Working in the music industry allowed Ben to witness first-hand the “culinary wasteland” that existed within the UK’s festival scene; living on London’s Borough Market allowed him to interact with Britain’s best artisan producers. Spotting an opportunity to help the quality of the food on offer at events live up to the quality of the music, Ben took a group of entrepreneurial traders on tour to various music festivals and events, helping to start the street food revolution.

Today, with permanent outlets including the flagship St Pancras station, Ben is considered a leading figure and one of the most innovative voices of the UK food and beverage industry. He judges at the Great Taste Awards, has been a guest judge on The Apprentice and runs a successful street market in Clapham, Venn Street Market, a winner of the Time Out ‘Love London Awards’.

In 2019 Ben transitioned from CEO of Sourced Market to non-exec Chair, bringing in a new MD to take over the day to day running of the business and enabling him to devote more time to new ventures. Ben now mentors and consults for food and drink start-ups, and scale-ups and is working on a new wellness venture that brings fitness, food and health together under one brand.

About Sourced Market

After the success of the business model in festival setting, Sourced Market began the search for a permanent site, eventually opening the flagship site within the regenerated St Pancras station in August 2009: “When I first came up with the idea for this street food, market-style retailer, I thought, what I want is Borough Market-style produce but with the convenience of being able to pop into Sainsbury’s Local on the way home,” he says. To say succeeded in that is an understatement and, having raised investment from a leading VCT, a second site in Marylebone and a third in Victoria followed in 2016.

Now proudly serving over one million customers annually – and still growing – Sourced Market has in the past few years become one of the key places that artisan producers aim to be stocked, alongside Selfridges and Wholefoods. The brand’s sixth site in a brand-new motorway service station on the M1 at Leeds opens September 2020. The ambition is to revolutionise the food and drink offer in motorway services in the same way that ten years earlier Sourced did for train stations.

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