The first draft of a blueprint that’s been drawn up to help develop Leicester and Leicestershire’s £600 million food and drink economy is being unveiled to those who helped shape the strategy.

Last year, East Midlands business support organisation The Food and Drink Forum began preparing ideas to ensure that Leicester and Leicestershire have the place they deserve on the UK’s food and drink map.

Commissioned by the Leicester and Leicestershire Enterprise Partnership (LLEP), The Forum, working with the European Food and Farming Partnerships (EFFP), worked on a blueprint which aimed to help the city and county’s food, drink and farming businesses grow and develop, promote Leicester and Leicestershire food and drink products, and create tourism and promotional opportunities linked to food and drink.

Now, after talking to a range of the city and county’s food and drink firms, the first draft of the strategy is being unveiled to invited guests at an event on Tuesday March 22nd from 5.30pm to 8pm at The Royal Oak, Main Street, Kirby Muxloe, Leicester, LE9 2AN. Among those due to attend are representatives from food and drink businesses who took part in surveys and consultation events to help shape the strategy.

Andrew Granger, Chairman of the strategy steering group, commented: “The food and drink sector is one of our greatest local strengths with significant growth potential. I consider that this strategy and the targeted actions will help ensure Leicester and Leicestershire is a centre of excellence for food and drink.”

“We worked closely with those in the industry – those who run food and drink businesses in Leicester and Leicestershire – to find out what they needed to help drive forward the food and drink economy of the city and the county,” said Fiona Anderson, managing director of The Food and Drink Forum.

“Among those we consulted were farmers, local producers, restaurateurs, retailers and hospitality companies so that we could create a business-led strategy and action plan that would help develop food and drink networks, support skills and training activities, and encourage business and infrastructure development.

“A great deal of effort has been put in by many organisations and individuals over several years to ensure that Leicester and Leicestershire has a successful and vibrant food and drink sector, and this strategy has been designed to build on past work, current initiatives, and drive the sector forward.”

Once the strategy has been unveiled to the invited audience, it will be followed by a consultation period before being made available more generally, with the invitation for interested parties to comment.

At Tuesday’s event Andrew Granger will welcome attendees and provide context for the strategy. The Forum’s managing director Fiona Anderson and Mike Ader, a partner in European Food and Farming Partnerships, will give an overview of the strategy. Paul Murphy, Director of Business Builder, will present details of the progress that has been made on delivery of the action plan so far, and Gill Smitherman, Programme Manager at LLEP, will outline details of future resource to move the action plan forward.

Stephen Gould, Managing Director of Everards Brewery, will talk about Everards’ commitment to Leicester and Leicestershire food and drink, and provide an introduction to a local sourcing pilot initiative.

Leicester and Leicestershire has a rich heritage when it comes to food and drink, with a diverse mix of rural and city-based producers and manufacturers of differing sizes e.g. Samworth Brothers Ltd, Farsan Ltd and SpiceNTice™ Ltd. It is home to many household names like United Biscuits, Walkers, Pukka Pies and Everards, as well as producers of ethnic foods, artisan items and traditional products. Some are recognised around the world, and others have a very strong regional identity, such as Stilton cheese. Melton Mowbray is branded as the UK rural capital of food.

Established in 1998, the Food and Drink Forum is a membership-led organisation that stimulates and supports the sustainable development of the sector in the East Midlands. It is run by a team of food industry professionals who have first-hand knowledge of a wide range of business issues, including logistics, business development, sales and marketing. It has a Board of industry owner/managers.

EFFP is a specialist agri-food business consultancy that helps to strengthen the entire supply chain, developing solutions that generate greater security, stability and sustainability; they work with all parties from farmer groups through to retailers and food service companies.

Anyone who would like a copy of the final strategy should register their details with The Food and Drink Forum by email to

Nottingham PR consultant Perfect 10 PR