York prepares to host two major food events

Fruit stalls on Shambles Market by Janet Danks

Fruit stalls on Shambles Market by Janet Danks - Credit: Archant

Business leaders come together to discuss the future while one of the biggest food festivals gets underway

What does the future hold for Yorkshire’s food sector in a post Brexit world? This question and many others will be debated by key personalities and experts in their field when they speak at the city’s second Food and Drink Conference this month.

York and surrounding areas have one of the largest concentrations of food and drink producers in the UK, ranging from multi-nationals to an ever growing number of specialist artisan makers and brewers.

It has two of the UK’s major supermarkets, Asda and Morrisons, while North Yorkshire-based Froneri is the third largest ice cream manufacturer in the world. The region is also among the largest agricultural areas in the UK, and is home to the Food and Environmental Research Agency as well as the Centre of Excellence for Innovation in Livestock and the Centre of Excellence for Crop Health and Protection.

Charles Storr, business growth manager for conference organisers Make It York, said: ‘A range of issues will affect the region’s sector in the future; everything from changes in legislation to how companies need to adapt to the challenges and opportunities of a post Brexit Britain. By being ahead of the curve when it comes to changes in consumer demands, new laws and marketing styles, we’ll ensure, that together, Yorkshire is best placed to grow its food and drink sector.’

The conference, held at Principal Hotel, York on September 14th, will run ahead of the 21st York Food and Drink Festival which takes place from September 22nd to October 1st. For conference details go to yorkfoodanddrinkconference.com

Meanwhile York Food and Drink Festival organisers have announced an ambitious expansion for this year’s 10-day event including markets and street food events running from Parliament Street, its traditional home, through redeveloped Shambles Market and along Foodie Fossgate, incorporating the new York Spark complex behind Walmgate.

A new specialist food hub in St Sampson’s Square will allow space for small producers at weekends alongside the festival’s demonstration kitchen. Festival director Michael Hjort said: ‘The festival is being transformed to allow more scope for quality small producers to take space at the two weekends. Parliament Street will continue to offer space for all 10 days to larger producers and those offering diverse street food.’

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For the first time the festival’s Ale Trial is running from now and culminates at the event allowing residents all summer to complete the trail. Other key plans include the schools programme that will see 1,000 school children take part in hands-on cookery workshops in and around the food hub and Shambles market.

A bigger programme of nine evening music events is planned for the main bar area on Parliament Street plus fringe events every night in restaurants, hotels and bars across the city.

Find out more at yorkfoodfestival.com