The UK currently has 38 products that are registered with the European Commission as having protected designation of origin, including Melton Mowbray pork pies, Cornish clotted cream, Welsh lamb and Arbroath smokies, and another 15 applications have been submitted to the Commission.
At a Downing Street event celebrating foods with protected origin status on Friday, Food and Farming Minister Jim Fitzpatrick said: “Through this scheme, we have a way to stand up for local producers and protect their products. So I’m calling on more British producers to get their food protected and for their communities to get behind them. It’s not something that can be done overnight, but it’s worth it, in terms of the protection it gives the producer and the opportunities it creates for their renowned products.”
He said that he would like to see the UK on a par with France or Italy, which have more than 300 protected foods between them, in order to boost regional profiles and benefit local businesses and communities.
“We produce excellent food in this country, but we’re not always great about speaking up about it,” he added. “…Our food is just as good, if not better, as any other European country’s. I want to see the UK’s regional foods on the world map.”
The Cornish pasty is one of the foods currently in the application process, and it gained Defra’s backing in July last year for its bid to allow only pasty makers that make Cornish pasties in Cornwall in a traditional manner and to a traditional recipe, to use the term ‘Cornish Pasty’ in the branding and marketing of their products. Chairman of the Cornish Pasty Association Phil Ugalde told FoodNavigator.com: “Other European countries have been much more passionate about their foods than we are in the UK…We have had a very slow start in Britain. We are just beginning to catch on.”
The European Commission announced plans earlier this year to simplify the process of applying for protected geographical status in order to cut down the time it takes to process applications at the EU level.
Ugalde said that this would “without a doubt” lead to more applications.
“I think the complexity of entering that process certainly puts some people off,” he said.
In response to Defra’s call Julian Hunt, Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Director of Communications, said: “The UK’s food and drink industry has rightly built a global reputation for heritage, quality and innovation…Highlighting the authenticity of traditional British foods is another way in which manufacturers can enhance their profile, both at home and overseas.”