Prince of Wales extends his support for Taste of the West

TASTE of the West has today announced that The Prince of Wales has extended his Patronage of the regional food and drink group for a further five years.

TASTE of the West has today announced that The Prince of Wales has extended his Patronage of the regional food and drink group for a further five years. Clarence House has confirmed that His Royal Highness is "delighted" to continue his Patronage of Taste of the West until 2015.

The Prince of Wales's continued support of Taste of the West comes at a time of growing membership for the organisation (now 800 members) and increased vitality in the regional food industry. John Sheaves, Taste of the West Chief Executive, says, "We are very pleased that The Prince of Wales is supporting Taste of the West to develop its vision for the future of regional food and drink for another five years. Taste of the West is developing a new, innovative approach to supporting the region's superb food industry based on long term financial sustainability with a strong commercial ethos."

1) The Regional Food Group which is responsible for joined up marketing of food and drink from the West Country has;

- A strong industry following with 800 members and over 3,000 non-member contacts

- Developed a strong brand for the region

- Has a comprehensive industry based awards programme

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- has a dedicated trade show in its name (working with events partner - Hale Events) bringing together over 120 producers - the biggest of any region on 19th and 20th April 2010

- Has a Food and Drink Academy set up to help support producers in the region

- Has developed a regional supply chain solution (with distribution partners - J&R Foodservice) that puts the region at the forefront of regional food in the UK.

- Recognised the region's hospitality trade in the South West Chef of the Year awards

Ensuring that consumers recognise and buy regionally sourced produce, Taste of the West has helped to showcase the best of the South West's food and drink at public events across the region. After developing and running the Exeter Food Festival successfully for the last 6 years, increasing visitor numbers year on year, it now launches a new Food Festival in Torquay on April 30th and May 1st to a new, different but equally discerning consumer.

John Whitechurch, Taste of the West Chairman explains, "Taste of the West wants to create innovative shopping choices for consumers giving them the chance to buy regional food and drink in as many and varied outlets as possible. By working with the public and trade buyers we can ensure not only that people understand the quality and importance of regional food and drink but that it is easy to source through our distribution hub at Exeter."

He continues, "We are currently building a stronger membership foundation and developing a strong commercial partnership with key brand names in the region, such as Mole Valley Farmers and Ginsters and it is this kind of work that has real impact on the region's food and drink producers and to this end The Prince of Wales' support for our efforts is a great boost to the industry and to the region.