People are buying more regional food than at any time in recent years, Food From Britain announced on the third day of Food & Drink Expo 2006.

FFB chief executive David McNair told visitors to the event at Birmingham's NEC yesterday that the organisation's new report into trends in local and regional food showed a move in consumer behaviour.

While people had previously claimed to be interested, they had not reflected those ideals in their shopping choices. However, there was now clear evidence that the mood was changing, he said.

Asda head of local sourcing Karen Todd, also speaking at the event, added that companies should first look at supply at the micro level, but a macro opportunity could then emerge.

Regional food has been a key focus at the show. The Regional Food Group for Yorkshire and Humber, exhibiting under its Deliciouslyorkshire brand, is showcasing food from 24 food producers.

Executive director of RFGYH Karen Carlyle said that its own research was good news for the region's producers. "Some 82% of people polled think Yorkshire food tastes better; 84% would like to buy more Yorkshire food and drink; and 78% will pay more for it if it comes from Yorkshire."

The Wales True Taste stand is playing host to 13 food and drink companies from the country, along with the Welsh Development Agency.

While the South West England pavilion is dominating its regional counterparts with the biggest zone, giving a platform to 45 producers from the area.

Organised by South West Food & Drink, it is hoped the presence at the show will top the success of the 2004 exhibit, which brought £2m of additional turnover and 40 new jobs to the region.