A new Produced in Kent shop showcasing a range of food and drink brands from across the county has opened at Bluewater in time for Christmas.
It is the first time the organisation has opened a dedicated store, which aims to champion some of the best independent brands in the county, and the 2,000sq ft unit in the Greenhithe centre is braced for festive shoppers.
Seven businesses have been chosen so far for their goods, including Shepherd Neame, Kent Crisps, Kentish Pip, Maidstone Distillery, Coffee Bean Shop, Fudge Kitchen and Meopham Valley Vineyard with more looking to join.
Britain’s oldest brewer, Shepherd Neame, will be selling its range of beers and other beverages, alongside Kent Crisps' range of hand-cooked crisps in classic flavours, as well as A Little Bit Food Co which creates dressings, sauces and dips infused with fresh herbs.
Meopham Valley Vineyard joins the inaugural line-up selling its still and sparkling wines.
Robert Goodman, senior centre director at Bluewater, said: “We are delighted to welcome Produced in Kent to Bluewater.
"With many exciting independent local brands on offer, it allows our guests the opportunity to support the Kent community and provides a platform for smaller businesses in the area to reach a large retail audience.”
Laura Bounds MBE, owner of Kent Crisps, Kentish Oils & Condiments and A Little Bit Food Co, added: “I am passionate about promoting all that Kent has to offer when it comes to food and drink and believe this is a fantastic opportunity to showcase the very best producers from the Garden of England."
Produced in Kent’s chief executive, Floortje Hoette, said: “We are thrilled to finally have a physical space in Kent to showcase our members’ products, but also to explain to the customer what the Produced in Kent logo stands for: high-quality, locally produced sustainable food and drink with a clear Kent signature."
The shop will open initially for six months, with hopes that it will continue beyond that.
The news follows the recent opening of Amazon 4-star at Bluewater, the first of its kind in the UK.