Feasibility Study for a Food Festival in the South East

Feasibility Study for a Food Festival in the South East Picture

In 2006 we were commissioned by the South East England Development Agency (SEEDA) and Tourism South East to study the feasibility of establishing a new large scale food and drink event in South East England, capitalising on growing consumer interest in all aspects of food and drink and the significant numbers of local, quality food producers based in the region.

We were asked to assess the market potential for the event, define its content in order to maximise its appeal, identify a preferred model and management structure, review possible locations and advise on the timing, duration and frequency. Our approach to the task involved a review of similar events within the region, the UK and abroad; visiting a number of major food events to examine the experience at firsthand; consulting with key stakeholders; and reviewing existing research on consumer trends with regard to food and drink.

Qualitative market research was commissioned from QRS Market Research Ltd to explore the attitudes of SE residents. We examined possible locations and venues in the region. There has been recent growth in events with a food and drink focus. Over 60 food festivals take place each year in the SE alone, most of which are quite small and locally focused, and others are in the pipeline. For a large event, the SE has a number of advantages: a large catchment on which to draw, relative affluence, a strong affinity with food and drink and a strong local producer base.

Our report considered in some depth the market conditions, potential locations, and the financial and management requirements for putting on a large signature food and drink event in the SE. The study has been made available by Tourism South East (TSE) to stimulate understanding of the potential for major food events in the region and to encourage dialogue amongst the highest profile food events organisers and venues in the region to explore future opportunities. TSE also plan to use the research to understand how best to raise the profile of existing festivals across the region. The full report is available at http://www.southeastservices.co.uk/foodfestreport.pdf