Food firms come together to create Lakes Hamper Company
Some of the top names in Cumbria's food and drink industry have joined forces and are already attracting Royal attention.
Seven firms have formed the Lakes Hamper Company with the aim of creating new opportunities and showcasing the county's produce.
They also have ambitions to develop export growth and to both protect and create jobs.
One of their hampers has already been presented to the Prince of Wales.
This project is being led by cheese producers Cows & Co and also features cake firm Traybakes, of Penrith, The Lakes Distillery, Setmurthy, Appleby Creamery, Claire's Handmade, a condiments manufacturer from Fletchertown, near Wigton, Bruce and Luke's Coffee, based in Carlisle and The Rum Story in Whitehaven.
The idea for the venture was devised at Cumbria Day, a networking and showcasing event in the Houses of Parliament, earlier this year.
Stuart MacLennan, director of Cows & Co, said: “Interest in food and drink produce from the Lakes and Cumbria continues to grow, and it offers us wider scope for collectively extending our reach throughout the UK and across international boundaries.
“All of our contributing members see great merit in working together in this way, especially with the recent attainment of World Heritage Status for the Lake District. A hamper has been presented to HRH Prince Charles and he was particularly impressed with the joint approach that underpins the model.
"There is already interest from Cumbrian businesses for using these hampers as corporate gifts and showcases for the county.”
Graham Haywood, director of Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, which has supported both Traybakes and the distillery with funding in the past, added: “It is great to see collaborative approaches such as this which promote innovation in food production, niche retailing and marketing for the food, rural and agriculture sectors in Cumbria.
“As well as continuing to offer a range of business support services and mechanisms for growth, we are keen to see more businesses develop peer to peer networks like this and come up with creative self-sustaining ideas.”
For further details about Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, go to www.cumbrialep.co.uk