New scheme aims to promote county's best food and drink

A new scheme to celebrate and promote food and drink produced entirely in Northumberland is officially launched this week.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 24 February, 2016, 10:38
Berwick Food Festival

Produced in Northumberland is a joint initiative between Northumberland County Council, Active Northumberland and Northumberland Tourism, which recognises producers and businesses that use and promote food and drink made in the county.

The verification scheme aims to raise the profile, value and public confidence in Northumberland food and drink.

The economic impact of food tourism in the county is worth nearly £276million a year and it’s hoped the scheme will help to add value to the visitors’ overall experience as food and drink is such an important and memorable part of their visit.

Producers will have to prove to visiting trading standards and environmental health staff that the food and drink is made in Northumberland. For butchers, checks will also be carried out on the origin of the animals from which their meat comes.

B&Bs and other hospitality businesses will have to demonstrate that a certain number of main foods being used on their menus is produced in Northumberland.

Retailers who are part of the scheme will have to ensure a proportion of food and drink is made in Northumberland by a variety of different producers.

Businesses will then be able to display their official Produced in Northumberland certificate in their shop, restaurant or B&B, use the logo on their labels, websites and literature and they will also feature in a bespoke website.

This is currently being developed to enable visitors to find businesses making and selling Northumberland food and drink. It will also enable hospitality and retail businesses to source producers of Northumberland food and drink for use in their establishments.

Already around 20 businesses have signed up to the scheme and the ultimate aim is to get national recognition of the unique regional distinctiveness of the county’s food and drink.

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Councillor Dave Ledger, deputy leader of the county council, said: “By being a truly verified and audited scheme this will raise people’s confidence in the origin of our food and drink.

“We hope that by encouraging local businesses to use Northumberland produce it will help reduce food miles, lead to increased production and sales within the local economy and ultimately create more jobs in an area that relies heavily on tourism.”

Councillor Val Tyler, Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture added: “We have a fantastic range of quality ingredients produced and available across our county and we want as many people as possible to try them.

“Not only will membership show to visitors and residents that the establishment believes in quality, it also shows they are committed to promoting local produce and giving customers a true taste of Northumberland.”

Jude Leitch, Director of Northumberland Tourism said: “We know that visitors to Northumberland are looking for authentic experiences that can only be found here.

“This scheme will make it easier for them to find our unique food and drink products and will encourage them to choose local options, increasing the sales of participating producers.”

Businesses interested in finding out more about the scheme can contact ken.henderson@northumberland.gov.uk or dgoodwill-evans@activenorthumberland.org.uk

‘Produced in Northumberland’ will be officially launched at the Northumberland Tourism annual conference on February 26 at Kirkley Hall.