Worcestershire’s fine bounty of home-grown, locally produced food and drink looks set to become as famous as its iconic landmarks, buildings and events, thanks to a new initiative being launched next month.
The Worcestershire Food & Drink (WF&D) project aims to grow the county’s independent sector by promoting its passionate food and drink producers, caterers and retailers and ultimately positioning Worcestershire as a veritable ‘Centre of Excellence’ on the wider food map.
Led by the Worcestershire Regulatory Services (WRS) Environmental Food & Health team, the project is funded by Worcestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (WLEP), and is open to any independent producer, caterer, retailer regardless of size, operating in Worcestershire and producing/selling local food.
It is also open to third party organisations with relevant alignments who might be actively interested in membership or can provide support through sponsorship.
The WF&D Steering Committee, chaired by former WLEP Board Member, Dr. Simon Murphy, is able to offer free introductory membership for 2018, and around 30 businesses have already signed up.
The project and the new WF&D web site will be officially launched at The Food & Drink Trade Show (Three Counties Showground, 2 – 3 May 2018).
Helen Cameron, Project Lead for WRS, said: “Worcestershire has an abundance of superb food and drink produced by talented, innovative and focused businesses – some of the most enthusiastic and passionate people in the industry in fact. The county’s one EU designated food is of course asparagus, and its long-running Royal Three Counties Show actively promotes local and regional food with taste.
“It is, however, some way behind in telling its food story and we need to do more to spread the word. Most importantly, this project is being driven with the active support of Worcestershire food businesses. A series of focus groups carried out last year were met with a hugely positive response and have helped to shape our food journey to ensure it is in line with what is required by those working in the industry day in, day out.
“Other regional food organisations like Cotswold Taste and Eat Live Sleep Herefordshire have already set the benchmark, and it’s time for us to follow suit to bring Worcestershire’s produce to the fore. To this end we look forward to working with our neighbouring counties to ensure that the very best of our region goes on show to the world at large.”
Organised by Hale Events in conjunction with the Three Counties Food & Drink Company, The Food & Drink Trade Show at Malvern is the place where producers, suppliers, retailers and buyers can get to grips with the very latest industry ideas and developments and meet with its movers and shakers.
It’s also the perfect venue to make new connections, sample new products and learn how to enthuse potential customers.
New for 2018 is a ‘Meet The Buyer’ event (3 May), sponsored by WF&D, Wychavon District Council and The Food & Drink Trade Show, where a carefully selected range of products exclusively from the three counties region, and some of them new on the market, will be on show to buyers.
Nick Waloff, Director of Three Counties Food & Drink Co said he very much welcomed the new marque supporting Worcestershire Food & Drink.
Nick said: ‘We’re delighted that Worcestershire now has a designated organisation to promote its great food and drink offering. It paves the way for all three great food and drinking producing counties – Worcestershire, Gloucestershire and Herefordshire – to work collectively on branding and showcasing what the region has to offer.
By working as partners, we will be better equipped to attract inward investment into the food and drink chain, and encourage export opportunities.”