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02.03.06
Shopping habits will reveal path to retail success

Ian Lobb displays some local produceNew research into how and why people shop for local produce is going to get more people than ever buying and selling fresh Cornish food and drink.

The research, undertaken by Taste of the West Cornwall, will reveal market gaps and opportunities for retailers to optimise, which should lead to more Cornish produce being sold at more of the outlets consumers like to purchase it from.

The research results are to be announced at a seminar event – 'Optimising retail potential' at Lobbs Farm Shop, near Heligan on Wednesday 15 March.

"It's no secret that demand for local produce is at its highest level ever," says Angie Coombs, of Taste of the West Cornwall. "But what people want to buy and how they want to buy it is changing. This new research has identified where there are retail opportunities or gaps in the market. It will help the sector assess its local product levels and hopefully inspire them to make more of this product pool."

The research was undertaken last year, first at the Royal Cornwall Show to ascertain the shopping habits of Cornwall residents and those from neighbouring counties, then at the Royal Show at Stoneleigh to assess how Cornish products were seen and sourced by people from outside the area.

People were asked about what Cornish produce they buy, where they shop for it and why or if they prefer it to generic products. They were also asked what might help or motivate them to buy more Cornish products and whether alternative shopping methods such as online or mail order, mobile shops or extended vegetable box schemes would appeal.

"Retailers need to stay ahead of consumer demand," continues Angie Coombs. "This research can help identify consumer trends before they happen, so retailers can drive the market in the right direction by anticipating consumers which will make for a much more profitable and positive market place for all concerned."

The 'Optimising retail potential' event will include a presentation by market researcher Ruth Huxley, who undertook the shopping habits research. Guest speakers will include Michael Lough from 'Thought for Food', who will speak on national opportunities for retailing locally produced products, plus the Lobb brothers who won 'Best retail outlet in the South West' at the 2005 Taste of the West Awards for Lobbs Farm Shop.

The seminar runs from 5pm to 7.30pm on Wednesday 15 March. To request a ticket and confirm your place call 01579 349363 or email: james@cornwalltasteofthewest.co.uk. Places are limited so please book early.

For further information please contact Veronica Newport on 01363 866927 or email: veronica@n-pr.co.uk.

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

Anyone considering a new horticulture, food and land based industries project is advised to speak with Maria Ford, at Government Office South West - 01752 635015 - before commencing development as there are now only limited funds available due to the successful uptake of funding by the agricultural sector in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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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's Cornwall 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. For more information log on to www.cornwalltasteofthewest.co.uk.

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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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