The South West Regional Development Agency is taking steps to develop its food and drink industry. Interest in regional cuisine is one of the major drivers behind the rise of fine dining at home, as consumers set out to explore different cultures and taste experiences. The South West of England’s attempt to create a regional brand identity should benefit its food and drink manufacturers by tapping into this desire for authenticity.

The decision to try and create a regional brand identity in the South West of England, similar to Parma or Cognac, reflects consumers’ growing interest in authentic regional cuisine. Consumers are becoming more interested in fine dining in general and one of the major factors that can elevate food to a gourmet position is a solid regional identity.

Recently, chefs and consumers alike have expressed an interest in deepening their knowledge of different cuisines, specifically by exploring regional differences. This need to explore and master different styles of cooking is a main driver of the interest in fine dining at home.

In studying different cuisines in depth, consumers master new cooking skills and learn how to make the best of new ingredients. This trend creates an important market – consumers will rehearse the same dish several times over until they feel they have mastered it. After that, they will take great pride in serving it to friends at dinner parties.

For many consumers, fine dining enhances their lives because they see a connection between eating better and living better. The Slow Food movement in Europe, for example, was set up with the express intention of raising quality of life by encouraging people to spend time choosing, preparing and enjoying their food.

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For some consumers fine dining is a way of marking out special occasions, such as birthdays or anniversaries. The added quality of the meal adds to the importance of the celebration. For others, fine dining at home is a regular occurrence. This is driven by the desire to “trade-up” – to upgrade the quality of one’s purchases in order to enjoy a better standard of living and, just as importantly, to emphasise one’s success in life.

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