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Taste North East to promote region’s food and drink

Other posts by  |  Sheelagh Caygill on Google+ |  September 1, 2011 | 0 Comments

Food and drink group

Henry Roberts and Sir Donald Curry toast the birth of Taste North East

A new not-for-profit membership group has been launched combining the cream of business services with support and discounted products for everyone involved in the North East’s regional food and drink sector.

Taste North East Limited has been formed by merging Taste NE, The North East England Food and Drink Group and Northumbria Larder. United as the region’s sole food and drink organisation, Taste North East is not just a new name. The new membership organisation is bringing a fresh look and feel to promoting the North East’s food and drink sector from artisan bakers to visitor attractions, hotels and retailers.

In the tough economic climate, Taste North East is a self-sustaining membership body that no longer needs to rely on public funding to survive.

Services offered by the new group are open to all aspects of the industry, providing support from initial start-up enterprises through to expanding companies.

Via a menu of services and membership packages starting from £75, companies can access advice on a range of issues such as skills and training, technical and compliance or marketing as well as assistance in identifying routes to markets. Members can also draw on an online ‘Ask the Expert’ facility with an evolving range of expertise available.

Henry Roberts, Taste North East chairman, says: “I am delighted that we are bringing the two groups together in a new organisation that has the interests of all those businesses connected to the food and drink sector at heart.

“As a membership body, Taste North East will continue to support this vital part of the North East’s economy with updated services, money-saving discounts and more.

“In establishing Taste North East Limited we have cherry-picked the core strengths from Northumbria Larder and Taste North East. A key feature of this new food and drink organisation is that membership and support is open to all businesses working within the food and drink sector, including accommodation providers, retailers and restaurants.

“If a business grows, makes, sells, prepares or serves food and drink then they are eligible to become Taste North East Limited members. And by joining, businesses will become a part of the North East’s only food and drink network.”

Outgoing Taste North East chair Sir Donald Curry adds: “We are very proud of the achievements of Taste NE over the period of its contract, in raising the profile of food and drink businesses in the region and helping them to grow and find new markets as well as stimulating demand for local produce. In the last year alone we estimate that around £3.7m of extra business has been generated for the sector.

“I am delighted that this new group will take that success forward and continue to help put this region on the map, as food and drink is of fundamental importance to the economy of our region, local job creation and plays a huge part in driving the tourism agenda.”

Taste North East will champion the North East’s food and drink industry on behalf of members and spread the word both regionally and further afield about what members can bring to the table. Above all, it aims to raise standards across the board to help the North East’s food and drink sector become recognised as one of the best in the UK.

Businesses can join one of three tiers of membership: bronze, silver and gold, with prices starting at £75.

In return, they are offered access to a host of business-boosting services, including:

  • Discounted services, commodities, ingredients and overheads
  • Savings on training and workforce development packages
  • A platform for members to market and promote products, services, offers and news through Taste North East’s enhanced online directory
  • An essential ‘one-stop-reference’ point for producers, manufacturers, buyers, the press and partners
  • Networking and inter-trading opportunities

The food and drink sector is now an important part of the regional economy, with visitors to the area wanting to sample local fare. This is particularly true of visitors to Newcastle and Northumberland. Northumberland cottage holidays too are seeing a demand for local food hampers, due to the success of locally produced food and drink.

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