Report highlights urgent need for more protected foods like Melton pork pies and Stilton

A search has today (Friday) been launched for new UK food and drink products worthy of protected geographical status (GI).

By Nick Rennie
Friday, 10th June 2022, 6:31 pm
Updated Friday, 10th June 2022, 6:39 pm
Melton MP, Alicia Kearns, founder and chairof  the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Geographically Protected Food and Drink, pictured with Stilton cheese on a visit to Long Clawson Dairy
Melton MP, Alicia Kearns, founder and chairof the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Geographically Protected Food and Drink, pictured with Stilton cheese on a visit to Long Clawson Dairy

The first report published by the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on products such as Melton Mowbray pork pies, Stilton cheese and Cumberland sausages, states that the nation is lagging behind others in Europe in the number of GIs it has.

The UK currently has 81 GIs, which is far fewer than nations such as Italy and France.

One of 38 recommendations made to the government through the report is for the UK to set itself a target of 200 registered GIs by 2030 to improve export sales by increasing the number of iconic brands.

Stephen Hallam, an ambassador for the Dickinson and Morris Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe in Melton, pictured with a tray of Melton Mowbray pork pies

The APPG also calls for the government to carry out a significant marketing and publicity campaign to boost the profile of GIs domestically and internationally and expand the opportunities available for producers who want to become GI producers and for companies which already have protected products.

Rutland and Melton MP, Alicia Kearns, is founder and chair of the APPG, which was formed after the UK left the EU to help product food and drink products in the same way the EU continues to protect the products of their members.

As the report was released today, Mrs Kearns said: “We have a once-in-a-generation chance to re-define our food and drink policy, to promote our local industries, support the best of our culinary heritage, and further create good paying jobs in the agriculture, food and drink manufacturing sectors.“As an MP with three Geographical Indications in my constituency, the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie, Rutland Bitter and Stilton Cheese, I have seen first-hand the extraordinary effort, care and indeed love that goes in to making some of the UK’s finest products.

"Many other countries use geographical indications to put their stamp and their mark of quality on their food and drink exports, and the United Kingdom should too.

“For too long, the United Kingdom has not been seen to punch its weight when it comes to GI and food and drink policy.

"With this report, we hope to go some way to changing that.”

The report was informed by a consultation held by the APPG over six months, receiving over 140 submissions made up of both interviews and written submissions from producers, retailers and the general public as consumers. It is the biggest ever response to a consultation or engagement on Geographically Protected Foods.

The report also highlights that there has been a £2.7 billion drop in the value of food and drink exports to European Union countries since Brexit.

According to the Food and Drink Federation, exports fell by 44.5 per cent to Germany, 43.3 per cent to Italy and 50 per cent to Spain in the first three quarters of 2021.

"This demonstrates the need for the UK to urgently resolve disputes with the European Union, and also work speedily to establish new trade links across the globe as is taking place,” the APPG report says.