Real Food Heroes Launch

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Cornish Mutual Member Anne Mitchell (Rumwell Farm Shop), Lesley Waters and Alan Goddard

One-in-three South West shoppers buying more local produce than 12 months ago

TV chef Lesley Waters launches Real Food Heroes campaign with Cornish Mutual

South West consumers are buying more local produce than this time last year according to new research by Cornish Mutual. Support for local farmers and the quality of the produce are the main reasons people gave for choosing local food.

Thirty-three percent of respondents to a survey of consumers in Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall said they now buy more locally produced food and drink than they did 12 months ago.

The results were announced on 22nd November as the South West insurer launched its Real Food Heroes campaign with Dorset-based TV chef Lesley Waters. Celebrating the people behind our produce, the campaign puts the spotlight on farms and rural business across the region, including the growing numbers of Cornish Mutual Members.

Half of people surveyed said they had bought local produce within the last week. When asked why they chose local food and drink, ‘supporting local farmers’ came out as the top response (72 per cent) with ‘it’s better quality’ (43 per cent) the second most popular reason.

And nearly a third (29 per cent) said they were prepared to pay up to 10 per cent more for local produce.

Vegetables came out on top (75 per cent) as the most popular locally-produced food people prefer to buy, followed by fresh meat (63 per cent).

Lesley Waters and Cornish Mutual launched the campaign at Rumwell Farm Shop, near Taunton in Somerset and The Udder Farm Shop, near Gillingham in Dorset. Run by farming families, both shops invited local food producers to display their food and drink and offer free tasters to customers.

Well known for her TV appearances and as a champion for South West food and drink, Lesley Waters lives in West Dorset, where she runs the Lesley Waters cookery school. She said:  “I am delighted to hear that more and more people are choosing to shop locally. It is something that we have always championed here at the cookery school, along with cooking with the seasons.

“If you have good quality ingredients then you don't need to do too much to them to bring out their flavours, and you have the added benefit that you support local producers, farmers and their families at the same time. Get to know your local suppliers and I have no doubt you will receive, not only the best quality products, but the best quality service as well.”

Over the coming months, Cornish Mutual will share stories from some of its Members involved with food and drink production, from farms, large and small, to artisan producers and retailers.

Cornish Mutual Managing Director Alan Goddard said: “From Cheddar cheese to Portland lamb, Red Ruby Devon beef to Cornish clotted cream, we think the South West makes some of the best food in the world.

“Our survey suggests this is a view shared by people who live across the four counties where we work.  It is fantastic to see that so many are choosing homegrown produce to support their local farmers.

“Behind all of our wonderful local produce is a bunch of hardworking people and we are very proud that many of them are our Members. Whether they are growing or rearing it, producing, distributing or selling it, they are united in their passion for helping to create the very best food and drink. That is why we are putting the spotlight on the people behind our produce: the real food heroes.”