Food and Drink in Cumbria
Cumbria is synonymous with quality food and drink. From popular brands consumed across the globe to niche produce loved by Hollywood stars, Cumbria’s name has become a quality mark for both retailers and customers seeking a slice, or a sip, of the County in their own home.
With a multitude of suppliers on the doorstep it is no wonder household brands have established bases in Cumbria. Carlisle is home to Cavaghan & Gray, who produce food for Marks and Spencer amongst others, while producers of some of the nation’s best loved biscuits, McVities, are also based in the city. Nestle UK has a factory in nearby Dalston making milk products, drawing supplies from the many diaries based across the County, while further south in Kendal, Farley Health Products, part of the HJ Heinz Group, manufactures baby foods.
Home-grown food and drink producers have also secured a corner of the market, including Penrith-based butchers Cranston’s; pioneering organic bakery brand The Village Bakery, Melmerby; award-winning Grasmere Gingerbread; and Cartmel Sticky Toffee pudding, a favourite dessert and snack of pop princess Madonna. Farm shops including Low Sizergh Barn and Plumgarths, both near Kendal, are also in abundance, producing their own and gathering other produce from suppliers including Cartmel Valley Game and Richard Woodhall, suppliers of traditionally cured hams, bacon and sausages to the royal household.
To wash it down, Armathwaite-based Eden Valley Mineral Water Co Ltd, part of the Princes group, is the second biggest bottler of mineral water in Britain while, Lakeland Willow Spring Water – sourced from the famous 'Holy Well of Cartmel', legendary for its restorative qualities since the 1700s – can be found on shelves in Waitrose and other leading supermarkets. For those seeking something a little stronger, Cumbria has one of the biggest concentrations of breweries in Britain. Jennings Brewery, Cockermouth, and Hawkshead Brewery, based in Staveley, are just two who not only provide supermarkets and pubs, but have become popular tourist attractions by opening their doors to visitors. Cumbria is also a food tourist’s paradise with five Michelin starred restaurants, ranging from the cutting-edge cuisine of L’Enclume, Cartmel, to the more traditional Sharrow Bay on the edge of Ullswater, and countless gastro pubs.
With such a rich collection of producers and manufacturers, supported by a network of suppliers, it is no wonder this sector continues to grow.