Organised by Marketing Lancashire, it brought together food entrepreneurs, retail bosses, agricultural leaders, international trade experts and influencers from the hospitality industry with the capacity audience at Holmes Mill in Clitheroe.
Developed in partnership with the Department for International Trade, Taste Lancashire 2017 aimed to challenge, inspire and celebrate the county’s food and drink economy.
The sector is one of Lancashire’s key strengths and a leading theme in the county’s Visitor Economy Strategy to grow annual visitor numbers to 70 million by 2020.
Ruth Connor, Chief Executive of Marketing Lancashire, said “Taste Lancashire 2017 brought together the county’s food and drink community for an inspiring, thought-provoking and very rewarding day.
“Conversations, collaborations and new deals were struck at the conference with Marketing Lancashire reaffirming our commitment to establishing Lancashire as a must-visit food destination.
“We’ve certainly succeeded in amplifying messages of quality and excellence across the sector, taking Lancashire to London for Lancashire Day in 2016 and now, creating the first Taste Lancashire food and drink conference.
“There is a step change occurring in the Lancashire food scene and we are proud to champion food and drink businesses across this great county and look forward to working with many more.”
The event opened with a keynote speech from food writer and broadcaster Jay Rayner, who offered insight on attracting national journalists to Lancashire and issued a warning against the ubiquitous use of the word local without due quality control.
Expert panels and case studies followed, covering topics such as Brexit, branding, food marketing and exporting, with advice and insight from industry leaders including Nigel Haworth, Michelin-starred chef at Northcote, Alastair Sawday of Sawday’s Travel, food consultant Helen Colley, travel-writer and blogger Zoe Dawes.
Taste Lancashire 2017 was produced in association with BOOST, Lancashire’s business growth hub and Burnley-based Coolkit, one of the UK’s leading manufacturers of fridge van conversions and supported by Holmes Mill, part of the James’ Places Group.
Producers and hospitality businesses wishing to learn more about initiatives to raise the profile of Lancashire food and drink, as well as the benefits of becoming a member of Marketing Lancashire should call Maria Moriarty Eames, Head of Partnerships on 01772 426464.
PICTURE: Jay Rayner (left) with Thom Hetherington, CEO of Holden Media, organiser of Northern Restaurant & Bar, Nigel Haworth, chef-patron at Northcote and Richard Nicholls from VisitBritain