Sunderland firm goes global just months after launch of food and drink hamper business

A Sunderland business set up to help independent British food and drink producers sell their produce online has gone global, just six months since its launch.

Tuesday, 2nd March 2021, 3:12 pm

Husband and wife duo Melissa and Robert Ferguson launched amidst the first pandemic lockdown after witnessing first-hand how difficult travel restrictions made it to source their regular home comforts.

Initially stocking a mix of food and drink products from a handful of independent suppliers, the pair started the business from home but quickly took the decision to invest in their own business premises after just two months after seeing demand sky-rocket.

Six months on, the firm has continued to grow, selling hundreds of hampers and products to customers across the globe, from the UAE to the US and Australia and is again on the move, having received the keys to a new, 1,800 sq ft premises in Quay West, Sunderland.

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Robert and Melissa Ferguson

Co-founder and director Melissa said: “We set up the business to provide a platform for British food and drink suppliers to showcase and sell their products to customers across the globe after witnessing the impact the pandemic had on them.

“One of the things Robert and I enjoy doing in our spare time when he is home from work is taking our three little girls for days out and sampling new food and drink products, be it farm shops or visiting local villages in Northumberland and County Durham, and all of this ground to a halt during the first lockdown.

“We also saw how much of an effort our local businesses were putting in to supporting the community during the pandemic, delivering parcels and operating door-to-door services to those shielding, and we thought there had to be another way these brands could reach out to their customers. British food and drink is revered across the globe and so we thought, why not set up a website that gives our producers a platform to reach more customers?”

Best British Produce now stocks an array of products, ranging from sought-after spirits such as gin and whisky to English sparkling wines, confectionery and jams and spreads, with brands such as Cartwright & Butler, Peter’s Yard, Lottie Shaw’s and Mr Filbert’s just some of the brands on offer.

Diamond of the Season Hamper by Best British Produce

Robert added: “We officially launched in August and have already sold hundreds of hampers to customers all around the globe, we’ve been absolutely blown away by the response.

“Naturally, Christmas was our busiest period, and I think this was boosted further by people not being able to go out and visit shops, however, I genuinely think a lot of it is down to people taking pride in shopping local and wanting to support independent family-owned businesses.

“We currently support over 50 brands from Cornwall up to the Highlands and would actively encourage any brands who would like to reach new audiences to get in touch. We’re always looking for new suppliers and are always willing to help the sector out whenever we can.”

Following the success of its Christmas promotion, the company has also launched a Bridgerton-inspired Mother’s Day range, jam-packed with quintessential British favourites such as Greyfriars English sparkling wine, Lottie Shaw’s gingerbread, old-fashioned sweet jars and a range of chocolate treats from Cocoa Ooze.

Some of the products stocked in the hampers.

For more information on Best British Produce, visit

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Some of the products stocked in the hampers.
Some of the products stocked in the hampers.