You may have seen in the papers our recent reveal that this annual event dedicated 100% to Cornish food and drink more than doubled its estimated value to the county’s economy in 2014, rising from just under £1.5 million in 2013 to more than £3 million this year.
According to our analysis, around 40,000 people flocked to Truro’s Lemon Quay over the festival’s three-day run in September, travelling from all over Cornwall and beyond, some from as far afield as Canada, Australia and the US. Buoyed by late summer sunshine, the festival’s welcoming fresh new look and an exceptionally high calibre line-up of exhibitors, chefs and experts, the amount these visitors spent grew by a whopping 20% this year.
But the amount that changed hands on Lemon Quay is far outweighed by the associated business the festival generates, for shops, cafes, pubs, restaurants, markets and accommodation providers in and around Truro and across the county. A key factor here is the number of festival-goers visiting from outside the county, which this year included around 8,500 holidaymakers and nearly 5,000 who had travelled to Cornwall specifically for the festival, either planning their holidays around it, or fixing up a day or weekend trip to make the most of the occasion.
Post-festival analysis suggests that nearly 8,500 food professionals - including chefs, restaurant managers, retailers and other trade buyers from within and outside Cornwall - were amongst the festival visitors this year too. Many of these were scouting for new products, meeting up with existing suppliers or having conversations about new business ventures.
The Cornish calendar is now dotted with food-focused events, from April’s Porthleven Food and Music Festival – the season’s opener – to this weekend's Padstow Christmas Festival, which brings it to a fitting close in the town where Cornwall’s food reputation came to life. Along with classics such as Newlyn Fish Festival and brand new initiatives such as Bude for Food, these events have become instrumental in drawing Cornish communities together whilst putting the county’s abundant fine produce and chefs in front of a global audience.
The Great Cornish Food Festival is widely regarded as the largest of these celebrations and CFD Director Ruth Huxley explains why she has made it her mission to see the value of the event increase. “We know that the festival has become one of the cornerstones of the food and drink industry and as such it must be far more than a well-loved showcase,” she said. “We also know that we are at physical capacity on Lemon Quay so must find other ways in which it can act as a catalyst for boosting the county’s vital food and drink sector and building Cornwall’s wider economy and reputation.”
Steve Whittingham, of Fodders Restaurant and Espresso Bar in Truro, was one of the founders of the festival back in 2004 and has given his time to manage the demonstration theatre every year since. Speaking of this year’s results, he said, “It’s a remarkable achievement, and even more so considering that we have done this in the year when the festival has become almost entirely reliant on private sector backing. It’s a reflection of the event’s professionalism and the value the sponsors and other participants obtain from it that this has been possible.”
Next year’s Great Cornish Food Festival will run from 25th- 27th September on Truro’s Lemon Quay. For more information on the festival, visit www.greatcornishfood.co.uk/festival
To read about our thoughts on the immediate aftermath of Cornwall's biggest food and drink festival, click here.
To request an official press release and fact sheet containing our findings from the Great Cornish Food Festival post-event analysis, send us an email or give us a call on 01872 865101
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