Farewell to English fare?

It’s not only traditional British dishes such as Jugged Hare and Bath Chaps that are facing extinction (according to a recent survey carried out by UKTV Food), British staples such as Eccles Cakes, Newcastle Brown Ale and Clotted Cream are also in danger of being forgotten according to a survey carried out by Food from Britain (FFB), the market development consultancy for British food and drink companies.

The survey of 1,000 adults carried out by NOP, with results released today, found that there is a huge divide between the generations on attitudes towards British produce. Whilst almost half of those surveyed said that they would prefer to buy British regional produce, it was people over the age of 45 who were most keen with 53% willing to put their money where their mouths are, whilst 41% of those aged 16 to 44 would rather buy speciality produce from abroad, thinking it more contemporary and innovative.

The Welsh appear to be the most proud of our food heritage with 63% preferring to eat regional food than speciality foods from abroad, whilst Londoners prefer to buy foreign foods.

When it comes to identifying the origins of regional foods, those over the age of 45 had much more of a clue, but overall the results were disappointing. Only 13% of those surveyed knew that Stilton hails from the East Midlands counties of Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire, but 63% of people knew that Royal potatoes originate from Jersey. Only 15% of people know that Barabrith is a tea bread from Wales, but not surprisingly, more than half of those surveyed in Wales answered correctly!

Those over the age of 45 are the most likely to buy regional foods on a weekly basis, whilst 16-44 year olds tend to buy less often, once a month or at least every 6 months. Those in London and the West Midlands buy most often.

Kirsty Grieve, Regional Food and Drink Manager at FFB says: “Britain is in real danger of losing its food heritage. There is a huge gap of food knowledge between the two generations and if the younger generation aren’t educated and aware of Britain’s regional foods then they are seriously under threat. Food from Britain is trying hard to reverse this trend through its website; www.regionalfoodanddrink.co.uk, where consumers can even search for locally made products, as well as its campaign to encourage more British foods to apply for EU Protected Food Name status.”