Quality counts despite squeeze

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Despite being in a time of economic austerity, it would appear that UK consumers are determined not to compromise on quality when it comes to food and drink.

That’s the conclusion of an ICM survey, commissioned by Cornwall Development Company to determine how attitudes towards food and drink have been affected by the current economic climate. Cornwall is home to a vibrant food and drink industry worth approximately £1.5 billion to its local economy.

The study showed that almost nine in ten people (86%) said they would spend money on quality food and drink, either at home or eating out, as a means of treating themselves this year, despite 70% of people acknowledging that they will have to be more careful about how they spend their money.

A whopping 81% chose quality of ingredients as one of the most important criteria when purchasing food and drink, with nearly half of all those questioned (46%) unprepared to compromise on this in order to save money.

Commenting on the results, celebrity chef Rick Stein said: “With Cornish line caught sea bass gracing the tables of many a Michelin starred restaurant in the capital and Cornish blue cheese voted as best in the world, the quality I’ve always recognised is suddenly becoming much more generally realised. Hooray!”

Stein’s view of Cornwall as a leader in the food and drink industry is supported by the study, which highlights Cornwall as the area of the UK people most associate with high-quality produce.

The study confirms that the UK food and drink industry has a significant role to play in the economic recovery. The research also provides further insight into Government figures which show consumer expenditure on food and drink increased during 2010, totalling £68 billion in the first three quarters of the year.

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