Food & Drink Strategy Development

21 December 2015

Invitation To Tender Food & Drink Strategy Development

Project Brief


Lancashire welcomes just over 63 million visitors each year who contribute £3.67 billion in visitor spend to the local economy and support just over 56,000 jobs. Food and drink is worth around £734 million to Lancashire’s visitor economy accounting for 20% of this tourism revenue and supporting an estimated 12,937 (23%) FTE food and drink related posts within the sector. Its value has risen by £129 million (21%) over the last 6 years, from 2009. (Source: STEAM 2014)

Lancashire has a strong reputation for quality food and drink. It is home to a Michelin Star restaurant and adjoining cookery school at Northcote as well as many award winning businesses such as The Cartford Inn, Parkers Arms and La Locanda. Freemasons at Wiswell, was crowned number one in the Good Food Guide’s Top 50 Pubs for the second year running and the Seafood Pub Company who boast the Oyster and Otter, was awarded the accolade of Best Food Pub by the Great British Pub Awards and the Assheton Arms, won the 2014 Lancashire Tourism Pub of the Year award, amongst their Lancashire based portfolio. A vast array of Lancashire produce is also championed through our top quality food producers, suppliers and retailers whose strength is in the quality, freshness and flavour of their locally grown and prepared produce. For example, there are 8 Lancashire cheese makers all within 10 miles of the Forest of Bowland AONB, 23 micro- breweries and renowned local specialities including Goosnargh chicken and Morecambe Bay potted shrimps which have been produced by Royal Warrant since 1867. Such is the quality that you will find Lancashire produce on display at the Borough market in London.

The strength and appeal of Lancashire’s food and drink offer in attracting visitors is recognised by the Lancashire Visitor Economy Strategy 2015 -2020 which sets out the vision for Lancashire as a visitor destination by 2020. As part of this vision, it tasks Lancashire with being known as a culinary ‘must visit’ destination because of the authenticity and quality of its food and drink, from field to table, locally sourced from the county’s stunning valleys, plains, woodlands and coasts.

Marketing Lancashire is the destination management organisation for Lancashire, promoting the county as a visitor destination as well as a place to live, study, invest and work in.  It is Marketing Lancashire’s ambition to make the world sit up and take notice of Lancashire, leading Lancashire to tell its story brilliantly, to create positive images and change perception of the county.  Marketing Lancashire works with a wide range of visitor economy, public and private sector partners and national and international organisations to raise the profile of Lancashire’s quality visitor offer.


To achieve this vision, we are seeking support to develop a new food and drink strategy, with a three year action plan, that will identify and maximise the opportunities to develop, promote and showcase Lancashire’s outstanding food and drink offer, raising its profile to become a nationally recognised, culinary ‘must visit’ destination and position Lancashire as the Food & Drink Country. achieved 1.5 million unique visits/5 million page views in 2014/2015 – The Taste Lancashire section of the site receives 10% of all traffic (over the past twelve months this has equated to 490,020 page views, an increase of 11% on the previous year).

Product information on businesses and events within is updated at the request of the individual member businesses. 

Marketing Lancashire has a consumer email database of approx 75,000. Of these, 18,000 have selected an interest in ‘Food & drink’ (although not all the data has selected an interest so it is likely there is more potential for food & drink).

What we need from the successful agency:

The Taste Lancashire accreditation scheme and consumer marketing campaigns led the way in terms of working with producers, chefs and quality food outlets to promote the destination. Originally launched in 2007 and expanded through subsequent campaigns and RDPE (Rural Development Programme of England) projects, Lancashire’s new food and drink offer needs to leapfrog the raft of destinations now developing similar initiatives and place Lancashire at the forefront of food promotion and customer engagement; through renewed B2B interest in the Taste Lancashire brand and engaging B2C marketing campaigns, that capture the food lover’s imagination.

  • To reposition Lancashire as ‘Food & Drink Country’  – identifying trends and opportunities that play to Lancashire’s strengths, developing appropriate initiatives to facilitate this transition
  • To re-launch the Taste Lancashire accreditation scheme via our B2B channels, in order to grow membership and support
  • To develop a Taste Lancashire toolkit – for new partner engagement, brand development and on-going communications
  • To generate national and regional press coverage across consumer and trade media, using your specialist knowledge and contacts to showcase Lancashire’s quality food & drink outlets, producers and unique character

Budget and Timeframe:

Submissions should be completed by 29th January 2016. The available budget is up to £20,000+VAT. It should be noted that the direct, indirect and labour costs associated with the preparation of proposals in connection with this ITT are to be borne by those who are tendering for the contract.  Neither Marketing Lancashire nor any of its agents or partners shall be liable for any costs incurred by agencies in responding to this ITT.

Response Requirements:

Interested agencies should submit expressions of interest outlining how they would approach the project to include the following:

  • a budget for each component of the brief
  • details of timescales
  • details of track record
  • client testimonials
  • portfolio of examples which clearly demonstrates their expertise


The proposed immediate timeline for the selection and appointment of the agency to deliver the contract is as follows:

  • Agency to submit proposal by 29th January 2016
  • Agencies shortlisted and advised w/c 8th February 2016
  • Invited for Interview w/c 15th February 2016
  • Agency appointed w/c 22nd February 2016
  • Inception meeting w/c 29th February 2016

Bids will be assessed by a panel comprising:

  • Ruth Connor, Chief Executive
  • Emma Walton, Head of Multi-Channel Marketing
  • Anna Izza, Head of PR & Communications
  • Justina Ma, Business Manager

In the event that an interview be requested, the above representatives will also form part of the interview panel.

For any enquiries about the tender please call 01772 426450 and speak to a member of the panel.

Deadline for submission of tenders is 29th January 2016. Submissions in writing (2 copies) to be sent to Catherine Redshaw, Marketing Lancashire, Farington House, Lancashire Business Park, Centurion Way, Leyland PR26 6TW or via email

Taste Lancashire – Background Information

Taste Lancashire was established in 2007, initially focused around the development of a local
food quality accreditation scheme, to recognise the importance of the food and drink industry to Lancashire and acknowledge those establishments who provide a consistently high quality dining experience and show a commitment to the use of local produce. Businesses are reviewed against a quality criteria according to the type of eating establishment.

Current participation rates stand at 87 following a peak of around 150 back in 2010. In terms of spread, the greatest proportion are located within Lancaster (19%) followed by the Ribble Valley (17%) then Wyre (11%) and Fylde (10%). Businesses are required to undertake annual renewal of the scheme and although a detailed year on year comparison is not available there is evidence that retention rates have fallen during more recent years.

In its infancy, the scheme was regarded as an exemplar across the north west and led to the development of a suite of Taste accreditation schemes that have been embraced across the wider north west and UK regions to compliment other existing quality schemes for both accommodation and attraction providers, as well as providing some linkages with environmental accreditation schemes such as the Green Tourism Business Scheme.

Building on the principles of the accreditation scheme, the wider Taste Lancashire brand has been developed to deliver a range of business and consumer marketing to promote, not only the Taste Lancashire scheme itself, but also the distinctive and high quality food and drink offer across the Lancashire sub-region.

Delivery of the Taste Lancashire brand has primarily been supported through fixed term funding programmes – the Lancashire Tourism Development Programme (2008 – 2010) and Food Connect 2011- 2013.

Since the delivery of these programmes, destination marketing activity through Visit Lancashire has increasingly sought to promote the county’s quality food and drink to the consumer.

Lancashire Tourism Development Programme
The programme supported a range of food and drink related activity, not least a year long programme of food and drink related events, activities and promotions as part of the Taste Lancashire 08 campaign to enhance, develop and publicise Lancashire’s growing reputation for locally produced food and drink.

Key highlights from the campaign include:

  • Picnic month working in partnership with Booths and self-catering properties across Lancashire
  • Producers month development of new producer trails and promotion of short break itineraries
  • A series of world record events from the world’s largest Lancashire hotpot in October 2007 to launch the start of Taste Lancashire 08, the world’s largest teabag and world’s largest cup of tea (Lancashire Tea) and the world’s tallest static poppadum tower and the world’s tallest moveable poppadum tower (Jali), both in November 2008
  • Campaign website – with supporting marketing and PR activity
  • Promotion and recruitment to the Taste Lancashire accreditation scheme

Campaign evaluation showed that the 2008 year-long campaign resulted in:

  • £1.7m of overnight visits
  • £300,000 of day visits
  • £20,000 in-kind private sector support secured
  • £2,600 worth of additional sales and over £4,500 total sales for campaign partner Booths, linked to the Picnic box campaign
  • A rise in unique visitors to the dedicated campaign website from 4,924 per month at the launch (October 2007) to 8,274 at the end of the themed year (December 2008), an increase of almost 75%. The total number of unique visitors over the same period was 121,052
  • Increase of 54 new businesses participating in Taste Lancashire quality accreditation scheme  with an additional 19 businesses awaiting their first assessment
  • Over £2.5million worth of PR coverage value

Food Connect

Food Connect was developed to support and enhance the local food procurement element of Tourism Connect, a grant programme with funding to drive 3 key strands of activity:

  • A web based resource to enable businesses to source local produce, collaborate with other businesses around their food offer / food trails and enhance the supply chain between themselves and local producers
  • Creation of marketing and PR opportunities
  • Events to showcase the quality food offer and supply chain throughout Lancashire

This led to significant investment on line to enhance the consumer facing web pages of with full integration of food related content across the site. Content development included a focus on chefs and restaurants using local produce; features on local recipes, including downloadable versions; promotion of Lancashire treasures such as Lancashire cheese, Morecambe bay shrimps, etc; showcasing seasonal produce and maximising seasonal opportunities linked to producers; a calendar of food events and festivals and the interactive mapping of food trails within Lancashire.

The food and drink business sector was also targeted through to help better integrate the sector as a key part of Lancashire’s visitor economy with case studies of local businesses; news stories and events; a calendar of food events and festivals to promote opportunities for business engagement; producer database; sector specific training and awards information.

The project, delivered between December 2011 and March 2013, yielded a range of results including:

  • New online consumer food and drink resource integrated with and receiving over 78,500 unique visitors set against a target of 20,000
  • New online industry resource integrated with attracting over 2,000 unique visitors set against target of 500
  • Printed marketing materials including a Taste Lancashire magazine with circulation reach of 35,000
  • Taste Lancashire evenings and producer events leading to 11 new suppliers securing a total of 24 new contracts between them worth a combined potential value of £55,000
  • Over £500,000 PR Equivalent Advertising Value and audience reach of over 230 million
  • Campaign evaluation found that Taste Lancashire activity achieved a conversion rate of 53%. 10% stated that Taste Lancashire had a strong influence on choosing to visit Lancashire and 46% stated that it had a moderate influence. Eating out was 2nd most popular activity when visiting Lancashire (35% respondents)

Lancashire Food & Drink Festival highlights

  • Accrington Food and Drink Festival
  • Burnley Food Festival
  • Chorley Food Festival
  • Clitheroe Food Festival
  • Great British Food Festival
  • Lancaster Food and Drink Festival
  • Morecambe Food Festival
  • Preston Food & Drink Festival


Michelin Star

4 AA Rosette

3 AA Rosette
Freemasons County Inn
Hipping Hall

2 AA Rosette
Twelve Restaurant and Lounge Bar
The Millstone at Mellor
The Highwayman
The Spa Hotel at Ribby Hall
Clifton Arms Hotel

1 AA Rosette
Clog & Billycock
Lancaster House Hotel
Greens Bistro
Stirk House Hotel – Restaurant
The A La Carte Restaurant at Premier Leyland Hotel
The Assheton Arms
The Inn at Whitewell
The Three Fishes
The Royal Oak
The Midland
The Glendower Hotel

Michelin's Bib Gourmand
Freemasons Country Inn
Twelve Restaurant
Michelin's Eating Out in Pubs Guide
Bay Horse Inn
Eagle & Child
Feildens Arms
Freemasons Country Inn
The Borough
The Cartford Inn
The Fence Gate
The Inn at Whitewell
The Lunesdale Arms
The Corner House
The Redwell Country Inn
Ye Horns Inn

A Selection of Lancashire Producers

Dewlay Cheesemakers
Bowland Brewery
Butlers Farmhouse Cheeses
Cool Cow Ice Cream
Dove Syke Cider
Farmhouse Biscuits
Fiddlers Lancashire Crisps
Greenfields Dairy Products
J Atkinson & Co – Tea & Coffee specialists
James Baxter & Sons
Johnson & Swarbrick
Lancaster Brewery
Leagram’s Organic Dairy
Lune Valley Smokehouse
Moorhouses Brewery
Mrs Dowsons Ice Cream
Old School Brewery
Port of Lancaster Smokehouse
Roaming Roosters
Singleton’s Dairy

Visit Lancashire – Background information

The visitor economy is worth £3.68 billion per year attracting 63million visitors supporting 56,000 jobs, it is the 2nd highest visitor economy in the North West.  Lancashire’s food and drink producers supply a significant percentage of the nation’s food and drink.

The vision for Lancashire as a visitor destination:

  • To be recognised as one of the top 5 English counties for a refreshing and relaxing short break and an active family holiday.
  • To be known nationally as a culinary ‘must visit destination’ because of the authenticity and quality of its food and drink, from field to table, locally sourced from the county’s stunning valleys, plains, woodlands and coasts.
  • For the county’s cultural offer, and key annual events, to be one of the main reasons that visitors choose to visit Lancashire.
  • To be recognised for its stunning 137 mile coastline that effortlessly combines seaside heritage and contemporary leisure experiences and is centred on England’s favourite resort, Blackpool.
  • A destination that offers outstanding customer service on a par with the best worldwide and is an example of best practice in offering accessible holidays.

Visit Lancashire brand values

You choose – the variety that allows you to do what you want
Come on in – open armed and welcoming that is uniquely Lancashire
Feeling alive – we help you let you, feel alive and be yourself
Top Notch – style and quality the way you like it
Easy going – everything easily accessible and nothing is a problem

Visit Lancashire brand personality

It is…  


It is not…

Full on
Over familiar

Download the Food & Drink Strategy Development Invitation To Tender Document here

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