Real Food Heroes is Cornish Mutual’s latest campaign. Celebrating the people behind our produce, it puts the spotlight on farms and rural business across the South West, including the growing numbers of Cornish Mutual Members.
We chose Real Food Heroes because so many of our Members are behind the high quality food and drink that comes out of our region. They include farms, large and small, as well as rural businesses such as food and drink producers and retailers.
Cornish Mutual was set up by a group of visionary Cornish farmers in 1903. Since then we have expanded, while staying true to our original mutual values of fairness and transparency. We now insure growing numbers of farms and businesses in Dorset and Somerset, as well as Devon and Cornwall. We wanted to do something to recognise the passion, commitment and ingenuity of our Members across those four counties: the Real Food Heroes.
Food and drink in the South West
With its mild climate, the South West is known for farming. Its agricultural sector contributes around £345 million each year to the UK economy. Across its varied landscapes, the region is home to a diverse mix of agriculture, from upland sheep farms to dairy farms, fruit and vegetable growers.
We are also seeing an explosion in new and innovative food and drink producers. Many of our farming Members are diversifying and the region has a burgeoning industry creating high quality, artisan produce: from cheeses to cider and sweet treats to pickles and chutneys.
Growing support for local produce
Our own research has shown that we are not alone in wanting to recognise the contribution of local farmers and producers. In 2018, we commissioned independent market research, which asked consumers in Dorset, Somerset, Devon and Cornwall about their food shopping habits and attitude to local produce. One-in-three South West consumers said they were buying more local produce than in the previous year. Interestingly, the top reason given was wanting to support local farmers.
Half of the people surveyed said they had bought local produce within the last week and nearly a third said they were prepared to pay up to 10 per cent more for local produce.
Launching Real Food Heroes
We launched our Real Food Heroes campaign in Somerset and Dorset on 22nd November 2018, with Dorset-based TV chef Lesley Waters, a well-known champion of South West produce. We held the launch at two award-winning farm shops, both run by farming families: Rumwell Farm Shop, near Taunton, and The Udder Farm Shop, near Gillingham. Both shops invited local food producers to display their food and drink and offer free tasters to customers.
Get involved with Real Food Heroes
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.