Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival’s big boost for Suffolk’s economy

Lady Caroline Cranbrook talks about local food and the Aldeburgh Food Festival at Snape Maltings.

Lady Caroline Cranbrook talks about local food and the Aldeburgh Food Festival at Snape Maltings. - Credit: Su Anderson

Suffolk’s economy is set for a bumper fortnight – with businesses of all sizes set to reap the benefits of a £2million-plus cash injection.

The Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival

The Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival - Credit: Archant

The Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival gets under way today with 10,000 visitors expected to attend the main event and many more the 50-plus fringe events over the next two weeks.

Festival president Lady Caroline Cranbrook said the festival had brought nearly £2m into the county’s economy last year and it was hoped the figure would increase this year.

A survey last year showed 63% of visitors had visited the festival before and 27% were staying in the area – an increase of 5% on 2012 – because it was on.

She said: “It’s not just the festival at Snape Maltings, there are huge spin-offs across the county.

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“Some people come for the weekend, but others come for two weeks to enjoy all the fringe events, too – they arrange their holiday specifically for the event.

“Hotels and bed and breakfast providers benefit, people take lunch at the local pub or restaurants in the area, fish and chips at Aldeburgh, spend money in the local shops. Money is spent across a wide area and it’s fantastic for Suffolk.”

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The festival is a not-for-profit community interest organisation supported by generous sponsors – including Adnams, Aspalls, Tiptree and Suffolk County Council – working for the community and promoting Suffolk.

Lady Cranbrook said: “We are very grateful for the support of all our sponsors and the county council’s involvement shows that the authority recognises the economic benefits which the festival brings to the area.”

The event is this year celebrating its tenth anniversary and has proved hugely successful for producers as a showcase for the county’s food and drink, and over the past decade has blossomed, expanded and now has a national reputation.

The aim is also to help new companies just getting off the ground with not just a potential market – opportunities to meet buyers for pubs, restaurants, supermarkets and major multiples – but also with advice on how to manage their business, supply lines and solve problems.

Lady Cranbrook said: “Our wonderful venue also helps – you can be part of the hustle and bustle and then sit and enjoy the calm of the marshes and experience the landscape that produces that food.”

Workshops, demonstrations and masterclasses provide a packed programme today and tomorrow for the thousands attending the Aldeburgh Food and Drink Festival at Snape Maltings.

For those who wanting a break from the hustle and bustle around the stalls of the 100-plus exhibitors, they can visit the East of England Co-op Stage and the Tiptree Stage, or the Masterclass area or bakery

The festival is running from 9.30am to 5pm today and 9.30am to 4pm tomorrow.

Demonstrations and talks on the stages begin at 10am and include cook, food writer and television presenter Thomasina Miers, 2010 Masterchef winner Dhruv Baker, cook and food writer Ursula Ferringo, and teacher, food writer and chef Emma Crowhurst.

Chefs from the Jamie Oliver Fifteen Apprentice Programme and the Orford Kitchen Garden Students will be showing their culinary skills, alongside experts from many Suffolk restaurants and producers.

There will also be book signings, music, a pop-up tea garden, and guided tours of Aldeburgh Music. A free shuttle bus will run between Aldeburgh and Snape.

Masterclasses include wild food forays with Vivia Bamford, rye in baking, Flavours of the Unexpected, mini bread, spices, and how to bake like a Victorian.

During the next two weeks there will be around 50 fringe events running – visit for the full programme.

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