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07.12.06
2006 Cornish food industry study reveals huge progress and exciting opportunities

Christmas hamper on location in CornwallFarmers, food processors, wholesalers, retailers and food service operators are being urged to read the very latest research on the Cornish food and drink industry and join the debate in the future policy and market opportunities for this exciting sector which has seen phenomenal growth in the past three years.

The 2006 Cornish Food Industry Study is the culmination of three in-depth studies commissioned by the food support agencies in Cornwall, examining activity, trends and development in the UK, Cornish and Isles of Scilly food and drink sector. The report highlights the remarkable growth in the Cornish food industry, increasing by a staggering 50% from £1bn to £1.5bn in overall value since 2003. Most of the growth is in manufacturing and processing where the turnover of a small number of businesses grew by 80% from £500m to £900m.

Angie Coombs, Manager, Taste of the West in Cornwall said: "The 2006 Cornish Study gives a valuable insight into the huge progress the sector has made since 2003 with the industry moving in the right direction. But we need to raise the game and become market leaders rather than followers. This report will help to focus policy and strategic direction, identify emerging opportunities and tackle some of the real problem areas that still exist. There is something for every sector in this study from the smallest producer to the largest company. We want to encourage as many people as possible to log on to our website and read the reports and then take part in meaningful debate early next year."

Key findings in the report include:

Significant growth in overall value of the Cornish food industry, increasing by an estimated 50% between 2003 and 2006, from £1bn to £1.5bn.
The turnover of a small number of large food manufacturing and processing businesses grew by 80% during this period, from £500m to £900m.
Agriculture has grown by 14% from 2001 – 2005, above the rate of inflation and better than the national farming picture.
With an estimated growth of £500m against an Objective One led investment of £240m, the investment appears to have paid for itself twice over.

A series of recommendations highlight a wealth of future opportunities, including such things as:

Tackling the local retail market and finding the best ways to engage shoppers and create better access to ordinary locally produced foods.
Conducting research into the development of new horticultural varieties and species, taking into account global warming, local climate and soil conditions.
Investigating the Cornish potential for the next super-food by researching the nutritional properties of locally grown or processed foods.

The 2006 Cornish Study is a repeat of a similar project carried out for the first time in 2003. The first part, 'A Review of the UK Food Market 2006', prepared by food industry analyst Ruth Huxley, is a comprehensive examination of the trends, developments and critical issues facing the British food and drink industry today; the second is an extensive report by the University of Exeter Centre for Rural Research on 'Food Production, Processing and Distribution in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly'; the third and final report by Ruth Huxley, 'The Cornish Food Industry 2006: progress and opportunity', examines the findings of the first and second reports and attempts to draw conclusions for local, regional and export development.

Food industry analyst Ruth Huxley concludes that the Study confirms that Cornwall's food and drink sector can claim significant success and achievement, developing not one but a number of leading UK initiatives such as the Healthy Boxes fresh fruit and vegetable scheme lead by Penwith District Council.

She said: "Food and drink is a fast changing competitive industry that has to be constantly looking ahead. Those businesses that do well know that they just can't sit on their laurels. You have to look forward and innovate. There are exciting times ahead for those that seize these opportunities in Cornwall."

The 2006 Cornish Food Industry Study has been funded by Defra and Cornwall Objective One EAGGF and commissioned by Taste of the West in Cornwall, Cornwall Agricultural Council, Cornish Horticultural Enterprises, Organic South West and Business Link.

The 2006 Cornish Food Industry Study is available in electronic format on www.cornwalltasteofthewest.co.uk. For further information, or to become a member of Taste of the West in Cornwall, telephone 01579 349363.
For further information please contact Jilly Greed of One Voice Media on 01392 278801 or email: jilly@onevoicemedia.co.uk.

The Objective One Programme for Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has invested in Cornwall Taste of the West through the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF).

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Editor's notes:

Taste of the West in Cornwall is a £5 million Objective One gateway project, funded by the European Agricultural Guidance and Guarantee Fund (EAGGF), the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) and private matched funding. It is part of the Taste of the West regional food group. Taste of the West in Cornwall's project includes a trade development programme, a marketing grant scheme and a capital grants scheme, available to small and medium sized food businesses which produce, sell or process foods in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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