I'm an Aussie, presently residing in Queensland and I run a small food business (cakes and pastries).
Due to my DH's work commitments I'm due to move south soon so, to prepare, I thought while we were venturing down to our 'new city' to sort out accommodation, that I'd check out the market situation given that I'll be starting in a new area and envisaged starting at a market to get things going. So I attended a few markets over the weekend and visited the food stalls specialising in cakes and other baked goods.
I must admit I'm a little shocked. Okay and a tiny bit horrified when I saw the following:
- ~ No one used refrigeration to store goods that should have been refrigerated such as pastry items and cream cupcakes etc.
~ I saw no use of gloves, they just grabbed the item with bare hands and plonked it in a
~ A lot of the food wasn't covered or properly packaged. It was just laid out.
~ No labels. I found one stall that labelled their food.
~ Shoddy workmanship in the cake decoration. Some stuff was just shoved onto cakes, the icing was lumpy, cakes weren't level, condensation on the fondant....
~ Dogs behind/in the stalls. As in the stallholders had brought their dogs along for the day.
~ Unregistered, uninsured businesses with no food safety quals to speak of.
I could go on but that would be being picky
But, apart from just wanting to be hygenic as a matter of self representation and respect, in a climate where people sue your backside off if their food is damaged or poisons them it was a big overall. I was so surprised that these people are allowed to sell food in a public arena and that the organisers really couldn't give a toss.
Another element crept up that I found rather dodgy. When I approached organisers with a view to finding out how to obtain a stall, my eyebrows were raised when I was immediately shut down when I mentioned the word cake. "Oh we already have a cake stall" and when I tried to explain that there was a bloody vast difference between me and Jo Blow with her back door cake mix offerings, I was told, 'Oh we can't have another cake stall because the consumer needs variety.." But when I investigated further I found that the stallholders knew the organisers on a personal basis and basically had the competition sewn up. That is, you couldn't get into the market because they didn't want people competing with them. In other words, a closed shop!
Fellow Australians, particularly those in southern climes, please assure me that there are markets out there that are professionally minded and do care about what they present and how!
I need to go and rip my hair out now.
I am not in Australia but how disgusting! I don't know if I would want to be associated with that market at all. I am positive that the kind of clientele that you want probably won't go to that market because they see how unsanitary it is.
As far as being told no about the booth, I had a similar situation. I was trying to get into a local Bridal Show. I emailed telling them I wanted a booth. I received an email back stating they would see what was available and then asked me if I wanted to work with their bakery. Turns out the bakery owners were co-running the event with reception site. I told them that I was just starting out and really wanted to get a feel for things first. So my answer was no. I never heard back from them although I repeatedly tried. Some people just don't like the fact that someone elses products maybe better than theirs. At least that us how I took it. They are threatened. I specialize in cupcakes and now I notice how their website was updated. Not saying it was because of me but it happened right after I inquired about the show.
*nodding* It is disgusting. And it's embarrassing. The public are being presented with an image regarding the work that we do as being slap dash and unregulated. What's worrying is that it wasn't just one market but a series of them. They have slick logos, advertise wildly (and widely) on Facebook, have followers etc and give the impression that they're a reputable, well set up operation. It's not until you get there that you realise it's very much slapped together to make a buck for the organisers.
And they do make money. One market I attended was costing out 2x2m stalls at $145 (which makes it roughly the same money in US dollars given that our currencies are on par with each other at the moment). Given that the market is aimed at local clientele/mums and dads (as opposed to trade and retail) I think that's outrageous.