FOOD producers from across County Durham have been selected to supply their products to a new £15m hotel which recently opened.

Hotel Indigo has teamed up with Durham Food Hub to serve up 34 tasty products which have all been grown or made by independent producers from within the county.

The partnership has come about after the hotel approached Business Durham and Visit County Durham to see how they could engage and support local producers.

Food Durham, which Durham Food Hub is part of, then arranged a ‘Local Supplier Showcase’ where 12 local producers across different categories of bread, coffee, preserves, cheese, snacks, dairy and craft beers were given the chance to have their products tasted by Hotel Indigo’s Food and Beverage Team.

This led to the team selecting 34 products from seven suppliers which will feature on their breakfast, lunch and dinner menus.

Keith Gill, manager of Durham Food Hub, said: “This is a significant achievement for us and demonstrates our ability to provide local food producers with routes to market and platforms on which to showcase their products to potential customers.

“Now that we have a successful ‘local producer sourcing’ programme as part of the overall Food Durham support offer for this category of outlet, we intend to replicate this process and technique for other key leisure and tourism outlets within County Durham.

“We also have plans for other categories of outlets that are bespoke to them through our collaborative relationship with organisations like Business Durham and Visit County Durham.”

The partnership between Durham Food Hub and Hotel Indigo will also see J.R.Holland act as the sole distributor of all products from the seven County Durham producers.

Hotel Indigo is located at the Grade II Old Shire Hall on Old Elvet in Durham, which was formerly the home of Durham County Council. The building has undergone a £15m refurbishment to create the four-star, 83-bedroom hotel, and it also includes the Marco Pierre Steakhouse Bar and Grill.

George Liddle, Food and Drink Manager at Hotel Indigo, said: “When we started thinking about our menu and the products that we’d be using, we wanted to champion local producers wherever possible and now, thanks to the support of Business Durham and Visit County Durham, who introduced us to Keith and the Durham Food Team, we have been able to select seven producers from County Durham to supply products that will feature heavily within the food we serve.

“It’s a fantastic opportunity for these suppliers to showcase their products to an audience of tourists and business people who will use our hotel as their base for visits to the area.”

Food from Durham does not have a high profile, like some other regions, however the food market in County Durham is growing, with around 100 small producers of food and 1,000 outlets where food products are sold, including retailers, independent shops, restaurants and accommodation outlets.

Food sales also make a significant contribution to County Durham’s economy, with around 38 per cent of the £800m economic value coming via this route. Statistics also show that for every £10 spent on locally made products £25 is put back into the local economy.

Business Durham, the economic development company for County Durham, working on behalf of Durham County Council, was heavily involved in helping the hotel source food and drink from local producers. The organisation worked intensively with Durham Food Hub.

Brian Archer, managing director of Business Durham, said: “It’s fantastic to see Hotel Indigo has taken the opportunity to use some of the region’s leading food and drink suppliers and that they’re ‘buying local’. It really goes to show what can be achieved when people pull together.”

Michelle Gorman, Managing Director of Visit County Durham, said: “As part of our Taste Durham initiative, celebrating the county’s vibrant food and drink offering, we’ve worked closely alongside Durham Food Hub to facilitate the opportunity for local independent producers to showcase their food and drink products at Hotel Indigo Durham.

“We are delighted that visitors to the city’s newest boutique hotel will be able to enjoy a range of locally sourced products to experience a unique taste of Durham, and would encourage all tourism businesses to work with local producers and suppliers to allow their guests to sample the best the county has to offer.”

Food Durham is also headed up by Dr Liz Charles, Peter Samsom, Hannah Murray-Leslie, Russell Hayward and Helen Brown.