A new association has been formed to boost the profile of regional foods in the UK.

The Protected Food Names Association, formed by UK producers of protected regional food products and those who are currently applying for that legal status, met for the first time this week. Regional foods, including Cornish pasties and Melton Mowbray pork pies, can be registered under UK and European law, and can then only be made in the geographical area of their origin and to a specific recipe and precise ingredients.

Matthew O’Callaghan, chairman of the Melton Mowbray Pork Pie Association, was elected as chair of the new association’s steering group. He told British Baker: "We hope this will encourage further applications for protected status from UK producers of regional food. There are 1,600 regional recipes in danger of extinction in the UK. This is a way to save them, as our producers report that attaining protection boosts sales."

Products such as Scotch Pie, Bakewell Pudding and Eccle-fechan tart would be among those likely to be awarded protection, he said, adding that protected status should become a hallmark of quality food in the UK the logo should be the equivalent of a Michelin star.

The association, which boasts a combined turnover of £1bn, would be looking at areas such as the marketing of the Protected Food Names (PFN) logos in the UK, explaining to consumers what the scheme means, he said.

Under the PFN scheme, food products can apply for one of three European designations to protect regional foods that have a precise quality, reputation or other characteristics attributable to a specific region.

Forty British products now have PFN status. Representatives from DEFRA, ADAS and Trading Standards were also at the association’s inaugural meeting.