With happy memories of a wonderful family Christmas with the proprietors of Doble Quality Foods, Suppliers to the Catering Trade in Cornwall and South Devon, I am enthused to look at some of their suppliers.
This cluster of food manufacturers is quite different from companies in the Cambridge Cluster. They are family run and controlled companies and many in their second and earlier generations. It is interesting to think about the equity structures of each business as they pass down the generations. All the companies are closely linked to the farming world which has similar problems of passing down ownership of the business.
Whilst Cambridge Cluster companies have ideas which they hope to sell to the world, the products of the Cornish Cluster companies are mainly for local consumption and rely on the customers coming to the South West of England. Transport links have improved over the years but avoid travel on change-over Saturdays in the very busy summer school holidays. The development of Newquay Airport (remember to pay the local tax or you cannot get out) has made it more accessible. You can always take the Cornish Riviera and sleep on the way down in your bunk. It is better for returning to London as you do not have to worry about getting off at your station.
There is a market for the people from the South West who are now scattered round the world and want a Taste of the West for a celebration when the cost of the goods is dwarfed by the cost of transport – but who cares for a precious moment! Logistics can be difficult as it is not good for perishable food to be stuck or lost in transit for a few days.
Cornwall needs to develop other industries and to do so will require a business plan resource.
Of course, the ego of Rich Stein will insist that he put Cornwall on the gormet map and it was just gormand before him. At least you can be sure of a warm and generous welcome from the members of Taste of the West whereas Jasper Gerard, writing in his Your Table is Ready on “Padstein”, comments about the “accusation of arrogance that sniffs the air”. Gerard also comments that Stein “fired the first shot in the Cornish food revolution” – not sure if the people of Kernow agree with that.