Recent research by ICM Unlimited found 88% of over 4000 respondents like to try local food and drink when visiting somewhere new, with 65% choosing holiday destinations where they know they can eat well. Those who factor food into their travel decisions tend to be younger, more adventurous and have better perceptions of British food, with authenticity and novelty being the top priorities.
The UK was ranked fifth overall for food and drink behind Italy, France, Spain and the USA, with 57% of respondents from India selecting the UK as a country that offers attractive food and drink options to tourists. Respondents from Japan and France had less favourable perceptions, with only 12% selecting the UK as having attractive dining options.
Overall however, perceptions of British food were fairly positive particularly among recent and potential visitors, and baked goods and whisky were found to be the products most associated with the UK. Interest in trying British food products was found to be very high, with over 90% of respondents indicating an interest in trying British cheeses and sparkling wines, and over 80% of respondents wanted to try British baked goods, fish and seafood, curry, meats, and craft beer.
Responding to the positive findings of the research, VisitBritain and DEFRA are now working with destinations and suppliers with bookable product to develop potential itineraries in ‘Food Hub’ regions.
Devon & Cornwall, Yorkshire, Scotland and London have been selected as the Year 1 Food Hub regions as they already have products of provenance that are exported globally – such as seafood from the South West, Scotch whisky, or cheese from Yorkshire – as well as strong regional identities to support the tourist experience.