Cornish producers have debated the future of the industry at first-ever Food and Drink Cornwall Conference at Eden Project.

More than 100 Cornish businesses, organisations and industry leaders gathered on May 12 to discuss trends, challenges and opportunities facing the food and drinks sector.

Themes discussed included supply chains, inflation, recruitment and skills, carbon labelling and sustainability.

Organised as part of the new Food and Drink Cornwall project, which has received £455,078 from the UK government through the UK Community Renewal Fund, the conference featured a mix of keynote speakers, an interactive panel discussion and a networking lunch.

Leading the industry discussion was Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall from River Cottage, who has provided video content and mentorship to the programme.

Hugh talked about the huge role food plays in human happiness.

Speaking after the event, Hugh said: “Cornwall has long been a haven for brilliant artisan food businesses and I was delighted to see the passion evident in all the producers here today.

"From personal experience, I know having the right guidance is a key requirement for building a successful food business.

"The Food and Drink Cornwall project certainly seems to be providing just that, and we at River Cottage are delighted to be supporting that initiative.”

The sector in Cornwall is worth nearly £2billion per annum in revenue and takes a large bite out of the whole of Cornwall’s total economic output – with an 18 per cent share of the pie.

With one in three jobs in the region, which equates to 60,000 people, having some form of attachment to Cornish food and drink, it is clear how vital the success of the sector is to the county’s prosperity as well as the national economy.

Other speakers included Gelf Anderson of River Cottage, Ruth Huxley of The Great Cornish Food Store, Ann Vandermeulenof FSB Cornwall, Clare Parnell of Cornwall & Isles of Scilly LEP, Charles Banks from thefoodpeople, Robert Rush of PFA Research Ltd and Kim Conchie of Cornwall Chamber of Commerce.


For further information on the Food and Drink Cornwall project, visit