A GROUP promoting Yorkshire’s food and drink manufacturers has secured £4.1m funding to spread the word about the region’s mouthwatering fare.

The Regional Food Group supports the food and drink sector by fostering trading links, improving the competitiveness of local producers and increasing consumer awareness.

The extra funding from regional development agency Yorkshire Forward will enable it to offer more advice on matters including product development, automation, health and safety, quality standards and exports.

John Sorsby, food and drink sector manager for Yorkshire Forward, said: “Yorkshire Forward is committed to developing the food and drink sector in the region. We have confidence in the Regional Food Group to deliver support for the sector and to champion its cause.”

Independent food industry forecasts suggest that the UK market for regionally-sourced food will increase from £4.3bn last year to £5.7bn in 2012.

RFG chief executive Jonathan Knight said: “It is important that our region’s produce is competitive, has the right production processes in place, maintains its excellent quality and has the profile to capitalise on its market potential.”

“We have already seen some great successes for our members through the practical solutions and advice we offer. Our additional services will present an even stronger support.”

Mr Knight said: “Food and drink producers and manufacturers can come to us with any related question. We should be regarded as the ‘google’ for the region’s food and drink industry.”

RFG will also represent members’ interests with bodies such as the Food Standards Agency and lobby on issues including recruitment and training, rising raw material costs and packaging.