For those of you who might have recently perused the food magazine section of your local WHSmith, you might be familiar with Food Stories. The magazine has just released their first quarterly issue. It showcases the smaller artisan food companies that you don't often see in the supermarket aisles.

I spoke to Emma Schwarz, founder of The Rare Brand Market and editor of Food Stories, about her ethos behind Rare Brands, and how Food Stories aims to educate and inspire the everyday consumer.

What was the initial idea behind The Rare Brand Market? 

"I had moved from London to the country and felt that the high street was homogenised and just full of big brand retail. I craved independent retail.
wasn't prepared to just be a click-click happy consumer and get everything online, I loved markets and what a fun social experience they can be, so we created a London standard pop-up market, and chose stunning venues to host them. Our Christmas Market on the Goodwood Estate is now the biggest pop-up Christmas event on the south coast.

How did you get involved in the food industry? 

I am a retailer since my teens, the bulk of my career with Marks and Spencer in store management and strategy in head office, in Food and Clothing. I was bought up with a chef mother, always having been very hands on in the kitchen from an early age. My day revolves around eating great food, and having new food experience out or in.
The Rare Brand Market has booked circa 30-40% of its brands in the small producer food community over the last 5 years, so I have got to know the community well. I have judged for The Guild of Fine Food/Great Taste awards and now I am partnering with them with Food Stories. 

What prompted you to put together Food Stories?

I am personally a frustrated consumer - I find it hard to find rare food without an award-winning farm shop or deli on your doorstep, or access to the Harrods or Selfridges Foodhall. How do you find great food producers with stories fast without trawling the internet?
Plus I think consumers need a little help some times with the culinary use of products - don’t just think honey is good for the top of your porridge or on your toast! Or that good gin can only be used in a G&T!!

What rare brands would you like to showcase more of? 

Brands that have stories to tell about how they were founded, their heritage maybe, or the story about why they are so market leading. Brands that are emerging, and who don’t have the biggest advertising budget, because all their funds go on the craft of making the food or drink.

What do you have in store for the next issue? 

We have so many brands we want to feature, the next issue will be Autumn, so because we are a seasonally inspired publication the Autumn season will influence all of our features.

What are the rare brands to watch out for in 2016? 

A huge trend area is innovative health conscious rare brands, as we all continue to be more educated and aware of health, it's the emerging rare brands who are leading the way with newness and innovation."

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