An innovative new phone app set to boost food and drink businesses in North Devon has launched this week, just in time for the Easter holidays.

The North Devon Marketing Bureau unveiled the brand new North Devon Food Trail app, designed to showcase the best independent food and drink businesses the region has to offer.

The free app is thought to be the first of its kind in the UK and features food trails, events, eateries, and a chance to ‘favourite’ your top spots.

The 250 businesses included in the app, which is also available online, were all recommended by locals and visitors as part of research undertaken last year.

The app was commissioned by the North Devon Marketing Bureau (NDMB), the not for profit business set up to execute destination marketing for North Devon, Torridge and Exmoor.

Chairman Nick White said: “A little-known fact is that Devon has more Michelin stars that Cornwall – at the North Devon Marketing Bureau we aim to raise the profile of Northern Devon’s quality food and drink at all levels.

“We want to put North Devon firmly on the foodie map and our unique app is designed to do this.

“As locals, we all know this area has a fantastic array of independent food and drink heroes, from restaurants, to street food, to artisan producers – but we also know that many visitors and locals want reliable information on how to find the real gems.”

The app has been funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the North Devon Marketing Bureau. It is available on the App Store and Google Play.

But Marketing Bureau spokesman Trevor Stanbury said accomodation providers now needed to get on board with promoting the app.

He said: “I just think it’s a wonderful tool but what we need is to ensure the tourism businesses use it and send it to their prospective customers.”

Lyndsay Platt, owner of Glorious Oyster, added: “We’re thrilled to be part of this new initiative, designed to encourage visitors to discover some of the great food and drink in the area. We specialise in serving fresh local shellfish and seafood and want to shout about the great food available on our doorstep – this new app is designed to help people find more companies like us and we are proud to be involved.”

Mr White added: “This is just the start - we want to evolve the app over time, with greater functionality and more features.”

The Marketing Bureau hopes to launch for more apps in the next five years to highlight different areas of the region’s tourism.

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