PRODUCTS including traditionally-farmed Gloucestershire Old Spot pork, single Gloucester cheese and Gloucestershire cider and perry could potentially enjoy much more trade thanks to new EU laws.
The county’s delicacies have long been recognised for their distinct flavours but now South West Liberal Democrat MEP Sir Graham Watson thinks they can now win over thousands of new customers around the world after a Europe-wide funding programme was approved in the European Parliament.
The pork, cheese and beverages all enjoy special EU protected geographical indication status and the new scheme will help promote the high-quality agricultural products.
The funding for the scheme has increased from £51 million across the EU in 2014 to £165 million in 2020.
Sir Watson said the new scheme would give Gloucestershire farmers and brewers the opportunity to bring a taste of the county to the world.
“I was pleased to see last year an EU-funded trade mission to Japan and South Korea to promote our very own West Country Farmhouse Cheddar,2 he said.
“The European Parliament has today ensured that traditional products with European protected status such as traditionally-farmed Gloucestershire old spots pork will be given extra funding to boost their exports and win over new customers abroad.”
West Country beef and lamb were awarded the status in January of this year following a long campaign and exports of the meats to France and Italy have already increased.
To date over 60 food products across the UK have gained EU protected status, protecting them from imitation or fraud and ensuring that customers know they are buying an authentic locally-sourced product.
The prestigious award also helps to boost sales by increasing visibility both at home and abroad.
Projects funded under the new scheme will aim to increase awareness about the high quality of these products and the traditional methods used to make them, with a specific focus on winning over new customers in high-growth markets abroad.
Up to 80 per cent of funding for each programme will come from the EU, with the remainder being paid for by the individual producer or group of businesses.
In November, the EU funded a range of events in Japan and South Korea to promote British products including West Country Farmhouse cheddar.
As well as traditional products with EU protected status, certain other high quality agricultural products are eligible including organic produce and fresh fruit and vegetables.