Taste of the West will be celebrating 25 years of supporting the region’s food and drink industry in 2016 with a host of initiatives planned, culminating in the food group’s biggest ever Awards ceremony to take place at Exeter Cathedral at the end of September.
Founded in 1991, Taste of the West has grown to become the UK’s largest independent regional food group, with over 1,000 members, all passionate about the provenance and quality of the products they make, serve or sell. Taste of the West works hard to promote and support fantastic food and drink from Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. Its members include food and drink producers, hospitality establishments, specialist retailers and wholesalers.
Taste of the West’s 25th celebratory year looks set to be an exciting one for the region’s food group. Initiatives planned include:
- The launch of our own “Taste of the West Country” shop on Ocado, the online grocery store, in February. This is a dedicated area within Ocado for food and drink from the West Country.
- Establishment of Taste of the West’s commercial sales operation to promote the region’s premier “foodie” status to key domestic and global markets following a share offer launched in 2015.
- The biggest and best Awards programme to date, with new product and hospitality categories and a prestigious ceremony planned for September in Exeter Cathedral. The Awards programme is proudly supported by title sponsors Rangemoors and Hearth & Cook for the first time in 2016 and entries are already up by 50% compared to the same period in 2015!
John Sheaves, Chief Executive of Taste of the West, said “For a quarter of a century now, we have been promoting quality, provenance and integrity in our food products and hospitality services in the South West. Our 25th anniversary comes at an important time for us as we embark on a major expansion of our activities so that our regional foodie culture can reach out to new markets which will firmly put this region on the national and international food map.”
The organisation’s 25th anniversary year also coincides with the announcement that His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has extended his patronage of Taste of the West and therefore his support for the West Country’s food and drink sector for a further 5 years until July 2020.
Nick Hurst, founding director of Burts Crisps, said: “I believe that it is now time for the region’s food and drink industry to stand up and compete on the bigger stage.”
The team will be celebrating the milestone at the Source Tradeshow held at Westpoint, near Exeter on 10th & 11th February 2016 and events throughout the year.