Wensleydale's cheese and milk are among a handful of Yorkshire products that are gaining popularity in China.
From tea to cheese to puddings, Yorkshire is a land of culinary greatness, as Laura Rutledge reports...
From tea to cheese to puddings, Yorkshire is a land of culinary greatness. It's sweeping fields and valleys are, believe it or not, historical home and origin to everything from Wensleydale to the humble Jelly Baby. With both factories and farms, restaurants and local ingredients, this midlands slice of the UK is slowly carving out a name for itself as a regular food industry titan.
And why exactly? Because it adapts. Everything about food is changing, and it's doing so quicker than ever before. The vegan market continues to rise, takeout is at an all new level of convenience and organic is the next big thing. People care more about where their dinner comes from, these days. People care more about the welfare of animals, the quality of their veg, the usage of the land. Those Yorkshire businesses who were first to tag along are now enjoying all the success that comes with public interest and approval. Surprise, surprise, people value quality when they are aware of the alternative.
Just look at the local delivery services from larger scale companies like Deliveroo. Their health-based, nutritious options are just as popular as their assembly of burgers and fries. Yorkshire's population is steadily changing how and what they eat, and the land's companies follow suit. It's a trickle-down effect - or rather, trickle up. Consumer demand influences restaurants and outlets, who in turn influence suppliers, who in turn influence the source. There are a lot more factors at play than just that, obviously, but a simplified version will do.
National demand has led to Yorkshire as a new organic breadbasket, of sorts, will halal, kosher and organic meat and veg on the menu.
Take The Organic Pantry for example, a farm and wholesale combo with an ethos to preserve the plant and wildlife for future generations. This is a family business that has been farming 300 acres of St Helens for over a century - and now they're doing it ethically and with the future of us all in mind. From their eggs to their beef to sacks of round brown spuds, it's all clean, it's all organic - it's Yorkshire food. And that's a brand name that now commands respect. The owners are both consumers and suppliers. They're in touch with both ends of the chain, and so long as profit continues so will their newfound ways. Indeed, if trends continue then we might just be seeing a little less beef and eggs being loaded onto the truck and a few more veggies instead.
Perhaps this is the future of food in the UK - small, organic business. Local, with brand and pride behind the name. After horse meat scandals and and price hikes, it could just be exactly what people need. Or, alternatively, it could be nothing. A fad, a phase, a middle class indulgence that will see Yorkshire reverting backwards instead of leading the way forwards - unlikely, but only time will tell.