New food firms and jobs could be heading to Melton after it was designated one of 11 specialist food enterprise zones.
This week the Government awarded £50,000 funding to Melton Council to help draw up a detailed business case of how the zone would work.
Ministers said the food enterprise zone status would make it simpler and easier for food and farming businesses to grow and increase production, will attract new businesses and create new jobs.
Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the Melton Mowbray Food Partnership, said: “This is brilliant news – it’s just what we’ve been waiting for and recognition by the Government of our work for almost 20 years of promoting Melton Mowbray and its connection with food.
“It will help us draw up a strategy for the area, promote closer links between farmers and food producers and encourage the start-up of new businesses. We’re called the Rural Capital of Food and this now consolidates our claim to that title.”
“Uniquely in this area we’ve long promoted the links between food and tourism - said to be worth over £60m a year to the local economy. I’m hoping this will help us establish a Rural Food Centre – an exciting food hub and tourist attraction where people will see iconic foods such as our pork pies and Stilton Cheese being made - as well showcasing new food businesses.”