The ‘Global Flavours of Leicestershire’ event took place on Wednesday 12th October in the Jubilee Room at the House of Commons. The event aimed to celebrate the innovation, heritage and diversity of Leicestershire’s Food and Drink sector.
It was developed by the LLEP as a pre-cursor to the Leicester Business Festival and it was sponsored by two Leicestershire MPs: Alberto Costa (MP for South Leicestershire) and Andrew Bridgen, (MP for North West Leicestershire).
Nationally, Food and Drink is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, with an annual turnover of £95.4bn. The sector is of vital strategic importance to the UK economy and is one of the largest sectors for employment, particularly in the low-skilled or unskilled areas. Across Leicester and Leicestershire there are around 200 Food & Drink companies employing approximately 12,000 people. The sector contributes around £600m to our local economy each year.
We carefully selected ten local food and drink businesses, along with the University of Leicester, to accompany us to London. The businesses that attended the event all have an interesting story to tell, whether this is a unique innovation in their manufacturing processes or products, how they have managed to get their products – particularly ethnic-based food and drink into major supermarket chains, or exporting successes.
As well as being able to sample local produce, we wanted visitors to see the strength and potential and understand there is so much more that goes on in this sector in Leicester & Leicestershire.
In addition to the heritage and a long-standing history of food and drink manufacturing in the area, we wanted – through our businesses, to demonstrate:
• the wide-ranging diversity of food manufacturing;
• the vast range of ethnic products manufactured in Leicestershire, many of which are now mainstreaming in major supermarket chains;
• the enormous range of exporters of locally-manufactured products;
• the advanced technologies, scientific innovation and constant research and product development/adaptation that takes place in order to meet consumer needs.
Following the morning tasting session, there was an opportunity for the businesses and educational establishments to discuss some of the challenges facing the food and drink industry. The debate included topics like the living wage; migrant workforce and the impact of Brexit; hard-to-fill vacancies and skills needs for the future.
To view the full HoC evaluation report, please see download below. You can also download the event brochure below.