Food festival will help put Leeds on map

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The Leeds Indie Food Festival is playing a key part in promoting the city as a tourist destination to the rest of the world.

As the city’s food and drink industry continues to thrive, it is now becoming one of the leading factors in the multi-million leisure economy that Leeds is developing.

Coun James Lewis, the deputy leader of Leeds City Council, was speaking at the launch of the Leeds Indie Food Festival which takes place next month with a 17 day feast.

He said: “Everything we are doing in the city is about trying to put Leeds on the map and selling Leeds to the world.

“Everybody involved with the festival plays a really important part in that and demonstrates how we can all work together.”

There are around 50 independent food producers and traders from coffee roasters to fine dining chefs on the line up of events which is also a showcase of the variety of offering in the city.

Twenty five years ago, the food and drink sector in Leeds made up just three per cent of the business population - now it is a quarter and also accounts for a third of the employment in the city.

Tourism and leisure now brings in £1.6b to Leeds and the city’s economy experts say that figure is increasing rapidly.

Coun Lewis said: “It is something that gives Leeds real uniqueness. We know that the growth has been huge in recent years and that gives Leeds focus.

“When we talk about the challenges we face in Leeds there is a big challenge around innovation and productivity but food and drink and entertainment account for a third of employment and that demonstrates we want everyone to be successful.”

The Leeds Indie Food festival starts on May 11 until May 28 and is at a number of locations around the city.

Visitors can expect coffee, cocktails, chocolate, mystery tours, donut and beer pairings, street food and workshops.