Wight Marque launch, from left, Louise Hart of Calbourne Classics, Graham Biss of RIWAS, Kevin George of Red Funnel, Belinda Walters of the CLA and David Brooks of Taste of the Wight. PIcture by Peter Boam.
AUTHENTIC Isle of Wight produce is to be protected and promoted with a new Wight Marque.
The accreditation scheme for locally-made food and drink was launched by the Royal Isle of Wight Agricultural Society at Saturday's Cowes Food Show. Held at Red Funnel's Fountain Quay terminal, it included tastings and cookery demonstrations by Island chefs.
Society vice chairman Graham Biss said: "These days consumers are more and more concerned about the provenance of the food they eat and are also keen to support our local growers, farmers, fishermen, producers and processors.
"Our hope is this high profile sign of origin can be used by a diverse range of businesses to help support their own marketing, identifying truly local produce and products."
Following consultation with Isle of Wight businesses, to ensure the scheme is fair and affordable, it will cost £25 to apply for Wight Marque accreditation, rising to £50 after it has been running for one year.
All types of businesses can apply, from growers and producers through to pubs and restaurants.
David Brooks, from food and drink guide Taste of the Wight, said: "Eating out is very important part of anyone's experience when visiting the Isle of Wight and more people are now actively seeking out local food and drink. "Wight Marque will undoubtedly help them to enjoy more of the fantastic fare that's home-grown on the Island."
• A competition to design the Wight Marque logo has been launched, open to all Isle of Wight residents. Calbourne Classics' Louise Hart said: "We believe an Island-wide design competition would be a great way not only to raise the profile of the Wight Marque, but also to tap into the creativity we have here on the Isle of Wight.
"I'm sure we will find a design we are all proud to display on our produce, which will help to promote our sector for years to come."
For more information about the competition, and how to enter, visit www.wightmarque.co.uk