A recent piece of research we undertook on audience perceptions of Cornish food and drink has come up with some interesting, and in places unexpected results that will help shape thinking around the industry’s development. Conducted during last year’s glorious summer and including feedback from more than 1,000 people, the survey asked respondents about the associations they make with Cornish food and drink, their knowledge of Cornish brands and products, and their thoughts on the quality of food and drink on offer. Over 60% of survey respondents were from outside the county, with over 90% of those coming regularly to Cornwall for business or pleasure.

In what will come as no surprise to many, the survey revealed that for 3 out of 4 people, Cornish food and drink conjures up positive images, with its freshness, taste and quality being especially highly rated; in fact over half of all respondents rated the quality of Cornish food and drink as ‘exceptionally good’. And for more than 80% of those choosing to holiday in the county, the food and drink has an influence on their decision to do so, a figure that will lift the spirits of those preparing for another bumper year.

One of the remarkable findings was that, ahead even of the clotted cream and pasties the county is famed for, the food that most people associate nowadays with Cornwall is seafood, with almost half of all respondents referring to it specifically. Other products that were noted for their meteoric surge in consumer recognition were Cornish drinks – tea was high on the list of associated products, as were Cornish beer, cider and wine. Asked what improvements they had noticed in the past 10 years across Cornwall’s hospitality industry, respondents highlighted a rise in food quality, use of local ingredients and the choice available.

Our MD Ruth Huxley was quick to make the connection between the study findings and current debate around the value of the Cornish ‘brand’, commenting, “This is a timely reminder of the importance of the food and drink sector to Cornwall, not only in terms of its commercial value, which is now approaching £2bn a year, but also the part it plays in building Cornwall’s reputation outside the county, and the consequent impact of that on other industries, such as tourism. We will be using the results of the research to shape our work on the growth and marketing of the county’s food and drink industry, to ensure we remain the UK’s number one spot for food and drink.”

To download the full report, click here: Consumer perceptions report March 2015