The horsemeat scandal is running and running as it should and what a PR crisis this is.
How is it that certain sectors of the food industry have become so removed from the provenance of the meat that it is quite happy to sell to customers. On the positive side, it’s putting local suppliers and growers higher on the agenda than before. This really ties in with our new client, Taste Northwest…
It’s easy to get complacent about the whole ‘love local’ trend – there are many that think it’s a way to charge higher prices. How wrong can they be – those suppliers that know exactly where their animals are bred and reared; those who care how they are treated need to be championed and celebrated. Of course, this needs to continue up the chain to those who are actually selling these products, whether in-store or in dining establishments who should see it as their role to provide supply chain transparency and promote the origins of their product.
Some may think the timing of the launch of our latest client’s initiative may be coincidental but we can honestly say it’s been some time in the planning, and from a proactive PR perspective it’s not something we’re jumping on at this stage until it gains the ground swell of support it deserves. Despite all this, this week, we launched a new commercial company up here in the North West called Taste Northwest, designed to champion and celebrate the food and drink industry in the North West. Although a commitment to local suppliers and growers is certainly part of the story, it’s not all.
Its new initiative is called the Taste Accreditation Award, carried out in association with Quality in Tourism, the assessment agency for VisitEngland. It’s designed to help all dining establishments that offer a quality dining experience – which is judged from the quality of the food, the ambience of the restaurant, deli or café, the service from front of house.
Those food loving dining establishments will be able to distinguish themselves as offering quality – in all its elements – and help promote its business to food lovers who want a great dining experience; an accreditation for all that makes the grade. The smart money is also on those dining establishments that see the value and demand for ethical and responsible food sourcing and the additional benefit to local economies and communities in which it operates. Five of the UK’s top chefs who are backing the Taste Northwest accreditation scheme believe strongly that the fresher the ingredients, the better the result is on the plate, so sustaining local producers in the region is vital.
So on balance, the horse meat scandal has raised the question of food provenance and put food sourcing at the forefront of customer’s minds. Let’s hope the next step is to see a trend of British consumers returning to their local butchers and farm shops…
See www.tastenw.co.uk for more details