New initiative for food and drink sector

New initiative launched to turbo charge Cornwall’s food and drink sector

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Food and Drink Cornwall has received funding of  £455,078, following Cornwall Council’s successful bid to the government’s UK Community Renewal Fund, to provide support for this important and growing sector.

Food and drink producers in Cornwall will be offered expert help so they can pinpoint areas of their business which, with guidance and support from the project, will help them accelerate their growth, build for the future, increase employment opportunities, and help brand Cornwall thrive across the UK and abroad.

Cornwall is already synonymous with fabulous food and drink products. The sector is worth nearly £2 billion per annum in revenue and takes a large bite out of the whole of Cornwall’s total economic output – with an 18% share of the pie.  One in three jobs in the region have some form of attachment to Cornish food and drink, equating to 60,000 people.

Cornwall Council portfolio holder for economy Stephen Rushworth said: “We’re committed to turbo-charging Cornwall’s economy by facilitating growth and increased investment in our businesses.”

“We want to help local businesses build on Cornwall’s growing reputation for producing great food and drink products.  This initiative will help them to tap into expert advice and give them the tools to take their food or drink business to the next level, so they are renowned not just locally and nationally, and internationally.”

The new programme, delivered by Oxford innovation Advice, will give businesses access to a range of services including a digital diagnostic to highlight where support can have the biggest impact, and workshops delivered by industry experts, arming them with best practice to move forward.

There will also be an opportunity to take part in exclusive online video classrooms developed in collaboration with renowned chef and food campaigner Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and his team at River Cottage.

Hugh commented: “I’m delighted that River Cottage is collaborating with Food and Drink Cornwall, a project that echoes our own ethos and values. It’s exciting to play a part in helping Cornish food and drink producers shape a future that places sustainability at the forefront of their businesses. We are looking forward to sharing our knowledge and experience with many of the leaders in Cornish food and hospitality and giving them advice and feedback to help take their brands to the next level”.

Businesses will be given access to free advice from expert food and drink industry consultants, tackling subjects such as compliance, certification, labelling, selling to supermarkets or help with branding to help shape the story behind the product.

A conference to discuss the future of the sector in the Cornwall will take place in May. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and leading industry experts will offer insights to an invited audience of key stakeholders who will engage in workshops and open discussion to help shape future policy development.

The project will also build a legacy for the future, developing and launching an online community for businesses to talk to each other, compare approaches, share best practice, build professional networks and do business with other likeminded businesses in Cornwall.

Running until the end of June 2022 this pilot project is already seeing strong demand. Businesses are urged to visit www.fdcornwall.co.uk as soon as possible as spaces are limited.