Food & Drink Wales consider that the food and drink produced in Wales is outstanding, and it competes on the world stage. It’s our intention to keep it that way, and make it even better, supporting our fabulous producers and retailers in their efforts to tempt us with even more amazing creations.
As the Welsh Government, we are committed not just to helping those working in the industry, but to telling the good news story to consumers in Wales and further afield. We’ve already made great strides in showcasing Welsh produce – as our increasing export record testifies.
Passionate though we are in Wales, we are also responsible. Underlying all the work of making and distributing food and drink is a layer of solid policies which give proper prominence to food safety and standards, sustainable development and supporting the drive for food security.
Tens of thousands of business, billions of pounds of income, huge amounts of food and drink being exported – that’s the size and shape of the sector in Wales. It’s been growing substantially and continues to do so.
Industry stands up and is counted
Stand by to be bamboozled by statistics. Here’s a selection of headline figures about what the food and drink sector in Wales represents:
The Welsh Government supports the food and drink sector and has devolved responsibility for the health of the people in Wales. Working with both industry and consumers, the Government, through collaboration, aims to ensure the provision of healthier food choices for consumers in Wales.
One of the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015 is “a healthier Wales”. The aim is for a society where well-being is maximised and in which choices that benefit future health are understood.
With recent data indicating the scale of obesity in Wales and the increase in food-related health issues, it is apparent that all players in the Welsh food and drink industry have a role to play in securing “a healthier Wales”.
Food for Wales, Food from Wales 2010- 2020 Strategy sets out a wide-ranging vision to nurture a food sector that can provide sustainable, safe, affordable and healthy food, which is of the highest standard, with positive social benefits and the lowest environmental impacts. Additionally, Towards Sustainable Growth: An Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014-2020 has the development and growth of the Welsh food and drink sector as a key priority.
Facebook: Wales Food and Drink
February 2018 Update
Welsh Food: More than 350 chefs from across Wales and England will competing at the Welsh International Culinary Championships in North Wales next week.
Grŵp Llandrillo Menai’s, Rhos-on-Sea campus welcomes the annual four-day event, which sees all the nation’s culinary competitions brought together in one venue for the first time. In addition to the National and Junior Chef of Wales finals and the Battle for the Dragon contest, there will be the culinary finals of Skills Competition Wales and the Major International Regional Competition.
The Junior Chef of Wales final and Skills Competition Wales culinary finals get the WICC underway on Monday afternoon. Seeking to become Wales’ top junior chef are finalists: Harry Paynter-Roberts, 20, Manchester House Restaurant, Manchester; Arron Tye, 22, Carden Park Hotel, Chester; Oliver Thompson, 19, The Bull, Beaumaris; Luke Jordan, 20, who works at Slaughters Manor House, Cheltenham and Martin Thomas, 21, Marine Parade, Cardiff.
Paynter-Roberts is looking to go one better after being a finalist this year. The Junior Chef of Wales winner will automatically qualify for the Craft Guild of Chefs’ Young National Chef of the Year contest semi-final, receive a study tour with Koppert Cress and receive a set of engraved knives from Friedr Dick.
The growing popularity of baking, sugarcraft and cake decorating is reflected in the Cake Cymru show, which opens on Tuesday, with entries expected from across Wales and England.
The Battle for the Dragon contest begins on Wednesday, with the Junior Culinary Team Wales competing against England’s junior team. Wales are first into the kitchen followed by England on Thursday, with both teams challenged to prepare and cook a three-course meal for 80 paying guests in three hours.
The Skills Competition Wales culinary finals and the Major International Regional Competition run from Monday to Wednesday alongside a wide range of WICC competitions for chefs and front of house staff.
The event concludes on Thursday with the prestigious National Chef of Wales final, which sees eight chefs compete in morning and afternoon heats. They will be given three hours to prepare and cook a three-course menu for four people using Welsh ingredients wherever possible.
The finalists are: Jake Mann, 26, The Bull, Beaumaris; John Quill, 45, JQ Catering Services LTD, Barry; Dion Jones, 30, Carden Park Hotel, Chester; Matthew Ramsdale, 25, The Chester Grosvenor, Chester; Matthew Smith, 34, Hawkstone Park Hotel, Weston-under-Redcastle, Shrewsbury; Wayne Bernard, 35, Pier 64, Penarth Marina, Cardiff; Tom Westerland, 26, Lucknam Park Hotel, Colerne and Gavin Kellett, 33, The Vine Tree, Llangattock, Crickhowell.
In addition to the coveted title, the national chef winner will receive a study tour with Koppert Cress, £250 worth of Churchill products and an engraved set of knives made by Friedr Dick.
Winners of the showpiece competitions will be announced at a presentation dinner at Llandudno Bay Hotel, Llandudno on Thursday night, which will be attended by Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs.
Organised by the Culinary Association of Wales, then WICC’s main sponsor is Food and Drink Wales, the Welsh Assembly Government’s department representing the food and drink industry.
Other sponsors include Meat Promotion Wales/Hybu Cig Cymru, Castell Howell, Major International, Harlech Foods, H. N. Nuttall, Churchill, MCS Tech, Rollergrill, Koppertcress and Dick Knives.
Arwyn Watkins, Culinary Association of Wales president, said: “The Welsh International Culinary Championships is the perfect place for all the nation’s culinary competitions to come together for the first time.
“I welcome the co-operation and collaboration by the competitions’ organisers and it promises to be a fantastic showcase for culinary and hospitality skills over four days at Coleg Llandrillo Menai. I encourage members of the public to come along and see the talented chefs and front of house staff in action.”
January 2018 Update 4
Dairy Marker Conference
Invest in Skills : Invest in Growth, details below:
Where: Venue Cymru, Llandudno
- Launch of industry-led plan to transform skills in food and drink sector
- Leading businesses pledge to sign up to scheme
- Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs to make further announcements boosting skills provision
Transforming skills in the Welsh Food and Drink Industry
With Welsh food and drink undergoing a period of growth, having continued access to a workforce with the right skills is essential to ensuring its future sustainability. This will be especially important post-Brexit, with figures showing 28% of those currently working in Welsh food and drink manufacturing were born elsewhere in the EU.
Following on from the first skills conference held in the autumn that kick started a broad consultation exercise with stakeholders from across the sector, the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board will be launching its comprehensive skills strategy document at the conference, which aims to:
- Address the skills shortages that constrain productivity
- Increase the uptake of apprenticeships
- Improve perceptions of employment opportunities within the industry
- Address challenges of a tightening labour market
Please see the attached document for further details regarding the leading figures who will be speaking on the day as industry, government and skills providers come together to help shape the implementation of the strategy and drive the continued growth of the Welsh food and drink industry.
For further information and to secure your presence at the conference please contact Rhys Flowers on 029 2167 4861 / email@example.com
January 2018 Update 3
‘Traditional Welsh Caerphilly/Traditional Welsh Caerffili’ has joined the ranks of Champagne, Parma Ham and Melton Mowbray Pork Pies by being awarded protected food name status by the European Commission.
From today ‘Traditional Welsh Caerphilly/Traditional Welsh Caerffili’ is protected by the European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status, one of three special European Protected Food Name (PFN) designations. Under the EU’s protected food name scheme certain food and drink products receive Europe-wide legal protection against imitation, misuse and fraud. ‘Traditional Welsh Caerphilly /Traditional Welsh Caerffili’ is Wales’s first cheese to attain PFN status and joins a family of 15 Welsh PFN products.The application for PGI status was made to the European Commission on behalf of Traditional Welsh Caerphilly Cheesemakers in Wales, led by Carwyn Adams from Caws Cenarth.
‘Traditional Welsh Caerphilly/Traditional Welsh Caerffilli’ is Wales’s only native cheese. Gwynfor and Thelma Adams from Caws Cenarth first made this cheese in 1987 when they started making cheese as a direct result of milk quotas. Today, 30 years later, their Traditional Welsh Caerffili is made with the same original recipe and has been named after Thelma, as Thelma’s Original.
Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:
“I was delighted to visit Caws Cenarth recently and, having sampled their Traditional Welsh Caerphilly Cheese, I can confirm this is indeed a product worthy of recognition. I am pleased the Welsh Government was able to support Caws Cenarth, on behalf of all Traditional Welsh Caerphilly cheesemakers, with this application.
“We are proud we now have fifteen Welsh food and drink products that have been awarded PFN status. This is testament to the high quality and unique nature of our produce.”
Carwyn Adams from Caws Cenarth said;-
“Great care is taken at every step of the recipe. From the careful hand cutting of the curds to the individual hand moulding of the cheese. We are really excited to be able to protect the “Traditional Welsh Caerphilly/Traditional Welsh Caerffili” name. It’s a guarantee of its quality and authenticity, and the skill and passion involved in the making”.
The Welsh Government funds support to all Welsh producers wanting to attain PFN status, this support is currently delivered by ADAS.
January 2018 Update 2
The Welsh Food and drinks industry turnover has increased strongly to £6.9bn and is edging ever nearer to meeting ambitious targets for the sector.
Speaking during plenary, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said the industry is thriving and stands on the edge of meeting the target of, the Welsh food and drinks industry, £7bn turnover by 2020.The Cabinet Secretary also spoke of the challenges and opportunities Brexit presents and outlined how the Welsh Government is working with the sector to overcome these.
Cabinet Secretary said: “Our Welsh food and drink industry continues to go from strength to strength. With the industry’s sales turnover increasing from £6.1bn to £6.9bn, we stand on the threshold of reaching our Food and Drink Action Plan target of £7bn by 2020 early.
“This is tremendous progress and we’ve seen great success since the Plan was published in 2014. It reflects the hard work and significant progress by businesses across Wales, large and small.
“The interest in our wonderful Welsh food and drink has never been greater. The quality, service and originality of the Welsh offer are recognised across the World.
“Wales’ food and drink industry is a huge asset. It contributes increasingly to our economy, creating jobs and careers where skills matter. It adds value to our agricultural produce and it brings prestige to our nation with a growing profile and reputation throughout the World. Wales has a winner.
“However, we cannot ignore the challenges and uncertainty Brexit presents. To maintain the momentum we have achieved to date, we must embrace change and seek any opportunities that arise.
“Through continued focus on building on what works, and through a readiness for Brexit, we will be fully ‘fit for market’ with industry well placed for optimal performance. I have every confidence we will continue to succeed and make the best of Brexit and deliver for Wales.”
January 2018 Update
It really should go without saying about how important the Welsh Food and drink industry is to Wales and essential that we are able to attract talented people into this sector.
With Brexit looming large, it is forecasted that by 2022, that Wales will require 4,000 new entrants to enter the food manufacturing sector and to achieve this figure, the industry must be viewed as providing great career opportunities as well as job satisfaction. These tough challenges must be met and students need to recognise what the food industry has to offer in its various sectors, then studying subjects relevant to the industry. As the labour market tightens the food and drink sector must realise they are competing against other growth sectors so it is vital that they are being pro-active to ‘sell’ their industry to students. By working closely with academia and training providers to define and deliver those skills, the Government are accepting these tough challenges, otherwise the growth that is required will not be maintained. A recent conference agreed that assistance must be given to the Welsh Food and Drink Board Skills Work Stream to develop the Skills Sector Strategy. With a further conference early next year let’s hope that this is a successful move forward.
I’ve been disappointed to hear from some in the restaurant sector that some parents do not consider the hospitality industry as a suitable job for their offspring, which is so unlike the continent where it is a respected career move. I hope that with the Welsh Government’s investment and support into skills and training into this sector will also address this issue.
I loved the unusual take by the Cambrian Training Company encouraging employers to show love and care for their employees this Valentine’s Day! That’s such a great idea.
Give Employees The Gift Of Learning This Valentine’s Day
Award winning training provider Cambrian Training Company is encouraging employers to show some love and care for their employees this Valentine’s Day by giving them the gift of learning.
The Welshpool-based training specialist says it’s the perfect time of the year for employers to invest in apprentices to give their businesses the skills they need now and in the future.
For those employers who are new to apprenticeships or have not recruited an apprentice for the past 30 months, there’s a great offer on the table from the Welsh Government.
The Apprenticeship Employer Incentive Programme provides support for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to recruit apprentices aged between 16 and 19 years. The programme aims to provide individuals and employers with the skills needed over the long term and prevent skills shortages.
Support is offered to a maximum of three apprentices per employer and is available irrespective of the level of the apprenticeship. A payment of £3,500 per learner is offered for an apprentice recruited during July, September and January to March and a payment of £2,500 at other times of the year. The full payment is made after the apprentice has been employed for eight months.
To find out more details about the full range of apprenticeship opportunities and training support available, contact Cambrian Training Company on Tel: 01938 555 893.
Apprentices train in the workplace alongside experienced employees normally for between two and three years. Cambrian Training Company oversees training and regularly assesses the apprentice’s progress. Apprenticeships begin at level two – a Foundation Apprenticeship – and progress to level three – an Apprenticeship – and level four and above – Higher Apprenticeships.
The Apprenticeship Programme in Wales is funded by the Welsh Government with support from the European Social Fund.
For more information about Cambrian Training click here
“Our Food and Drink industry is one of Wales’ largest business sectors and a Welsh success story. Over 222,000 people are employed within the whole supply chain and in 2016 we exported £337 million; around 20% growth on the previous year. We cannot, though, ignore the issues facing the sector. Brexit, for example, is not just a challenge in terms of the security of our supply chains and ability to export; it also presents a threat to the stability of our workforce. I want to ensure the momentum the industry has generated is maintained in the years to come.
Fingers & Forks
Hospitality comes under the vast umbrella of services providing everything from the morning take-away cuppa to those special event celebrations that are the markers throughout our lives. The months/years of dreaming, planning and saving to have a day that families and friends remember are placed in the hands of the hospitality teams to fulfil with delicious foods cooked to perfection with seamless efficient service, challenging their skills, logistical knowledge and commitment to their craft.
Hospitality is a challenging job requiring a plethora of differing skills from communication & marketing, to culinary, bars and licensed products, housekeeping, understanding and execution of food safety and hygiene regulations, not to mention the eye for detail to make something really special.
So why do so many young people not consider hospitality as a career choice? Training for so many of us is constantly ongoing involving a lot of time, effort and money into an employee who quote: “is just looking to earn some money to financially see me through college/ university to train for a real job”. Could not all students receive training in food safety before they leave school so they are at least ready for the workplace, considering that hospitality seems to be the way of funding most avenues of education?
Within the trade, training options are varied from college courses to in-house NVQ, covering a huge range of subjects, hours are varied, some anti-social agreed, but job satisfaction is high, financial reward perhaps not as good as it needs to be for the skills required, but quietly improving. But until we can attract trainees for whom this is their career choice, vast sums of time, effort and money will continue to fail to realise true potential as we work with a transient workforce.
For more information about Fingers & Forks click here.
Delivering Courses To Support The Welsh Food & Drink Sector
Bridgend College has been delivering full time, part time and short bespoke courses to support the Welsh Food and Drink Sector for many years. Recently graded as double Excellent by ESTYN, the college has an outstanding reputation for quality and support for learners. A thriving Land Based department based at the Pencoed Campus, just off Junc. 35 of the M4 offers a wide range of courses in Agriculture and Horticulture. Food production features heavily in all courses, and bespoke commercial courses tailored to business needs can be designed in consultation with clients. Teaching staff are experts in livestock, fruit and vegetable production, and the department works closely with industry to ensure courses are meeting current market needs.
In addition to courses covering food production, the college also has an outstanding catering and hospitality department delivering full, part time and bespoke courses. From professional catering to food safety; hospitality to tourism, the college can support the needs of the sector and respond to requests for industry linked education and training. A link with the Land Based area has seen an ongoing initiative “From Field to Fork”, which has supported learners in their understanding of the food supply chain. Welsh lamb produced at the college has been served in the college restaurant, with students involved at all stages of food production.
Increasing numbers of employers are choosing to train their staff through apprenticeships run at Bridgend College. Established apprenticeship programmes in Agriculture and Horticulture have enabled local businesses to ensure their staff are well qualified and have the skills and competencies to support their employers in their business aims.
Bridgend College looks forward to further supporting the growth of the food and drink industry in Wales, and encourages local businesses to discuss training options.
For more information about Bridgend College click here.
December 2017 Update
The £4.5 billion Welsh food and drink sector, which is arguably one of the best in the world, will be showcasing its best-known food and drink products as part of a themed tourism campaign called Year of the Sea. https://businesswales.gov.wales/zones/tourism/YoS2018
The Welsh Food and Drink industry is the rising star of the Welsh economy and a general love of good food is ingrained in the nation’s history. The Welsh Government’s food division is encouraging visitors and businesses to enjoy food and drink connected to the coastline and to discover epic sea specialities.
Wales is surrounded on 3 of its 4 sides by the sea and has over 230 beaches and over 50 islands. Wherever you are in Wales you are never more than just over an hour from the sea and all it offers. From the lobster pots of Anglesey and the mussel beds of Menai to the scallops of Cardigan Bay and the seaweed from Swansea, our produce comes from a highly skilled fishing industry, with most of it sourced from small family run boats with minimum environmental impact.
The Year of the Sea campaign promotes Wales to the world as a 21st century coastal destination putting the coastal communities and the epic shores (from coastal, to lakeside and riverside) front and centre of the marketing activity coordinated by Visit Wales.
As the attention shifts to the coast, naturally the RNLI is keen to help keep members of the Welsh fishing industry safe in their work as they fish the waters. The RNLI is calling on members of the coastline community and members of the tourism industry to support its 2018 fundraising campaign.
There are a host of fundraising initiatives focusing on the Year of the Sea theme which are aimed at keeping those who work in the fishing industry safe as well as those who come to Wales to enjoy the food and drink. Further details available.
The RNLI’s rescues are at a 5 year high. This is why the RNLI is asking for the support of individuals, organisations and businesses during Year of the Sea to help keep the service running. Participation can involve anything from holding a quiz, a fish supper or choosing a special dish that will come with a donation to the RNLI with each order. Feel free to visit https://rnli.org/support-us/raise-money/fundraising-ideas for more fundraising ideas and to register your plans.
RNLI volunteers drop whatever they’re doing to come to the rescue of strangers to save lives from drowning. The RNLI runs a 24/7 volunteer crewed lifeboat service, a flood rescue service, a seasonal lifeguard service and an international programme to save lives at sea. Every £1 counts and all enquiries are welcomed. Fundraise for the RNLI and join a network of lifesavers this Year of The Sea!
November 2017 Update 3
“We will work with our farmers to help them meet the challenges of Brexit,” says Lesley Griffiths – Welsh Food
On the opening day of the Royal Welsh Winter Fair, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, will today call on the agriculture industry to focus on turning the challenges of Brexit into opportunities. In a keynote speech at the Hybu Cig Cymru breakfast, the Cabinet Secretary will talk about a number of important initiatives the Welsh Government has in place to provide valuable support to Welsh Food farmers, many of which are particularly relevant as the UK leaves the EU and farm businesses prepare for the major change that lies ahead.
A new land capability mapping system for Wales will be launched by the Cabinet Secretary at this year’s Winter Fair – the first major update since the original maps were produced in the early 1970’s. The Predictive Agricultural Land Classification (ALC) Map allows land users, planners and Government to make informed choices about how agricultural land is used in Wales.
The Cabinet Secretary will also announce that over 91% of farmers’ Basic Payment Scheme (BPS) 2017 claims will be paid on Friday (1st December). Over £201m will be paid into the bank accounts of 14,111 Welsh farm businesses on the first day on which payments may be made under European rules.
Speaking ahead of the Winter Fair Lesley Griffiths said:
“Brexit will bring significant and lasting change, of that there is absolutely no doubt. A ‘no deal’ scenario presents particularly acute risks for those sectors particularly reliant on exports to the EU including lamb.
“Leaving the Common Agricultural Policy and new, yet to be established, trading arrangements mean that maintaining the status quo is simply not an option. Turning challenges into opportunities is where the industry and individual farm businesses need to be focusing their attention.
“For our part, we are already heavily involved working alongside our key partners in seeking to address our agriculture sectors’ readiness for Brexit.
“Brexit will provide a once in a generation opportunity to redesign our policy framework in a way that is uniquely Welsh, that reflects Welsh needs and strengths.
“We all have a role to play shaping how the industry will look after Brexit and we need farmers to be bold, imaginative; open to new ideas and practices.
“With this new approach in mind, I’m pleased to today launch a new Predictive Agricultural Land Classification Map for Wales. It identifies the potential versatility of land to support a range of cropping choices and allows land users, planners and Government to make informed choices on how land is used.
“My priority is to ensure our agricultural industry is in the best possible position to deal with the change ahead. As a government we are committed to providing solutions which work for Wales and we will continue to work with the industry, our partners and others to make the most of every opportunity.”
On the record payment of Basic Payment Scheme claims, the Cabinet Secretary added: “I am delighted to announce that over 91% of farmers receiving their BPS payments on the first day. This is yet another example of the success of our uniquely Welsh approach and our exemplary record on payments. It is a tribute to the way Welsh farmers have embraced new technology, RPW Online and made the new system such a success.”
November 2017 Update 2
Welsh food and drink companies are proving that innovation is still high on the agenda as they prepare to attend an exhibition in London dedicated to food, health and nutrition.
Fifteen Welsh Food and Drink companies will be present at Food Matters Live next week (21-23 November) at ExCeL in London under the Welsh Government’s Cymru/Wales banner, all looking to showcase new products and latest developments in the food and drink industry.
Food Matters Live is the UK’s only cross-sector event bringing together the food and drink industry, retailers, foodservice providers, government and those working in nutrition, to enable collaboration and innovation to support a sustainable food landscape for the future.
The Welsh Government are currently offering support Welsh companies looking to focus on innovation through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), is about connecting public sector challenges with innovative ideas from industry. The SBRI competition which is open to five Welsh businesses has the brief ‘How can we improve the nutritional composition of food and drink for children whilst driving down cost? There will be two overall winners.
Visit the Food and Drink Wales stand 270 & 280 at Food Matters Live 2017
The Welsh food and drink companies at Food Matters Live are:
- Samosaco – vegetarian and vegan snacks and meal solutions
- Montgomery Waters – spring and still natural water
- Food Innovation Wales – 3 Welsh food centres (Food Technology Centre, Food Centre Wales, Zero2Five Food Industry Centre)
- Meet the Alternative – meat alternative soya protein products
- Calbee UK – healthy savoury snacks
- FORI – high in protein and paleo based savoury alternative snack bars
- Lovemore Free From Foods – free from products – gluten, wheat & dairy
- Wild Trail – raw fruit and nut bars
- Curapel Ltd – a healthcare company
- Golden Dairy (Neovite) – Dairy producing organic colostrum first milk powder
- Wickedly Welsh Chocolate –chocolate company
- Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company – seaweed and laverbread supplies
- Good Carma Foods – company specialising in a range of alternative, whole food, dairy free products
- Prima Foods (UK) Ltd – offers innovative solutions
- Just Love Food Company – nut free cakes
- The Bake Shed – gluten free brownies, shortcakes, tray cakes, oat bakes, welsh cakes
November 2017 Update
After the legendary summer enjoyed by Welsh Food , drink and tourism there will not be many, if any, people that will disagree with me when I say Wales is fast becoming a holiday hotspot. This is understandable as Wales has so much to offer visitors.
Over 40% of tourism businesses are reporting more visitors this year than in 2016 and for the first time, 2017 is showing that Wales is on track to reach 1.5 million for the first time by the end of the year. Many Welsh businesses are to be congratulated as they’ve taken responsibility for their own marketing which has proved successful with 23% reporting increased visitors as more people were staying in the UK. From beaches to mountains, hills to coastal path walks, there is scenery that will literally take your breath away. Add into that mix sailing, fishing, walking, climbing, canoeing, surfing, the list for those thirsting for action and fun is endless. For those who like to look back at the past, well Wales has that in abundance too with magnificent castles, historic houses, many with beautiful gardens there are so many places to visit and enjoy for people of all ages. A further attraction for visitors to Wales is that they love sampling local Welsh Food and Drink, looking for different produce than their local supermarket stock. Here again I can blow the Welsh trumpet as we’ve not only got a growing sector of delightful delis, we can offer our visitors local produce markets, an abundance of fantastic food festivals and fairs. Many hotels and restaurants are now promoting buying local produce and their menus highlight for example where their beers and cider are from, who their local butcher and farmer are, where their tea, cheese, butter and breakfast marmalades are produced. This is so important for their guests, even if they do not really class themselves as foodies, it gives guests a further sense of Wales and ‘Welshness’. What we need to ensure is that all eateries are highlighting Welsh food and drink, because if they’re not they are missing a huge trick.
Cowpots – Utilising The Cowshed
Since starting production of Cowpots ice cream on the family farm in July 2005 there were always plans to have their own outlet on the farm which is in Whitland, on the outskirts of Carmarthen. In January 2014 , work started at the farm on conversion of the old milking parlour and in July work was complete and ‘The Cowshed’ was opened serving ice cream and café food. Today it is an ice cream parlour and fully licensed pizzeria open through into the evening for meals and events. There are also a large range of Welsh ales and ciders on offer. With a wood fired traditional pizza oven and ice cream made with Jersey milk from a local herd, this is a unique offering that appeals to all ages. Their market is not just locals but has a huge appeal to visitors as there are still some cattle on the farm which has stunning views over Carmarthenshire along with a beautiful woodland walk that can take up to 2 hours.
Local advertising along with leaflet distribution, social media and food festivals has allowed Cowpots to keep targeting both visitors as well as locals. Working with other local businesses, Bed & Breakfasts, holiday lets and other local attractions has also been successful in bringing in more tourists to The Cowshed.
The next project for 2018 is to offer camping on the farm for visitors to be able to make the most of this lovely setting.
Ceridwen Centre – The Personal Touch
If you’re a small catering team, as many are in west Wales, then it’s obviously more efficient if ingredients and products come to you rather than you driving around the countryside collecting yogurt from here, eggs from there. Many of us buy through a distributor, Castell Howell or Blas ar Fwyd, or in our case both. It’s more convenient, saves precious time and resources and opens doors to many producers who we might not have encountered otherwise, or who might not want to deal direct with the little guys.
It’s so special for us kitchen and front of house folk, when the actual maker, grower, sourcer or producer does deliver direct. Because Gwynt y Ddraig cider phone regularly to check what we need and deliver in their distinctive liveried van to us several times a month we feel we have a connection with where our cider comes from and the people who make it and that our custom, as a Welsh business, is valued by another and very successful Welsh business.
When guests are around when a van from Gwynt, or from Joe’s ice cream, or Caffle Brewery arrives, it makes a palpable difference to these customers too, that something they will be able to consume or buy while they are with us has been delivered personally. They like seeing the face behind the product or the brand. This effect applies equally whether it’s a big Welsh name or a one or two man/woman band – people are just as interested when honey arrives from one of two local beekeepers we buy from, vegan ice cream turns up from Ice Green in Cardigan, the farmhouse box cider is delivered by the farmer up the lane, or the local butcher or charcutier.
While we’re on excellent terms with the regular drivers who bring us goods via the big delivery corporations and whilst maybe there is a lot to be said for focussing on what you do well and letting other folk do the rest, it feels rather distancing when suppliers who once turned up with boxes in the boots of their cars, now use the conventional methods of shipping. Sentimental? Not really. Businesses in this sector need to cling on to individuality, to cultivating relationships of trust and mutual support, if they are to survive and thrive.
Fodder in the Field & The Hut on Moel Famau – Take Guests To The Hills or Head To The Hills
Diners were recently treated to a legendary dining experience at a pop-up restaurant set up at the top car park of Moel Famau between Mold and Ruthin. Located within the Clwydian Range in North East Wales, Moel Famau is the highest hill and provided spectacular views for dining.
Jointly organised by friends Caroline Dawson, who runs outdoor catering company Fodder in the Field and Kate Richards, owner of The Hut on Moel Famau, the event held in July drew in food lovers hoping to sample the culinary delights made with locally-sourced produce. This included hay-cooked local Welsh lamb, vegetables from the Vale of Clwyd and local honey cake with Chilly Cow Ice Cream for dessert; all washed down with North Star Gin and Hafod Ale.
Another event, Dinner and Dens, aimed at families, was held on Friday 4th August in Coed Nercwys, when diners were given their own den-making kits and encouraged to embrace their sense of adventure while enjoying some delicious locally sourced food and drink. The meal included Welsh jacket potatoes with Halen Mon oak smoked local beef chilli – reared just 3 miles away from the forest. The dessert offering at this event was homemade brownies and Chilly Cow Ice Cream topped with fudge also made by Kate, which the children could enjoy sat in their dens! The evening ended with marshmallow toasting on the campfire.
Following the success of these two events, the pair hope to bring a series of experiences to the area next year, with new and exciting themes and locations being planned.
Blas Restaurant – Highlights Local Produce
In August this year Blas Restaurant at Twr y Felin Hotel won ‘Best Use of Pembrokeshire Produce in a Hospitality Outlet’. An annual event, the Pembrokeshire Produce Mark Awards highlight just four businesses for their outstanding use of food or drink. The scheme has more than 300 members, which are verified to ensure that the product they sell or use is made in Pembrokeshire.
Meaning ‘Taste’ in Welsh, Blas offers a menu influenced by the season and locality and champions produce sourced from predominantly Pembrokeshire and Welsh suppliers, as well as foraged ingredients from the surrounding countryside and coast.
Under Head Chef Simon Coe Blas is quickly establishing a reputation as north Pembrokeshire’s leading fine dining restaurant with a warm Welsh welcome, receiving a two Rosette Award for Culinary Excellence within just 8 months of opening and in July 2017 winning the Radio Pembrokeshire Food, Drink and Hospitality Business Award, which is voted for by the public.
Blas Restaurant prides itself on accommodating guests with dietary requirements. We are able to offer dining for gluten free, coeliac, vegetarian, dairy free and vegan diets. Tailor-made menus are available to guests with allergies. Where possible drinks are of Welsh origin, or produced in Wales.
October 2017 Update
A conference held in the Welsh capital at the end of the month (26 October) is set to grapple with the looming problem of future skills shortages in a post-Brexit Welsh Food and Drink industry.
Held at the newly refurbished Cardiff Coal Exchange and organised by the Welsh Food and Drink Industry Board, the ‘Invest in Skills : Invest in Growth’ conference brings together leading industry figures, training providers and government officials to explore ways of ensuring a future pipeline of skills and labour.
Despite recent growth, issues around an ageing workforce, difficulty in attracting and retaining talent and a need for skilled workers graduating through further and higher education are issues of concern. With added uncertainty around Brexit and question marks over the future position of EU nationals currently working in the food and drink industry, a perfect storm is potentially brewing around future skills shortages.
The conference will be the first in a series of two events outlining the present skills needs of the sector, and those required in the future to improve productivity and competitiveness. Participants will be encouraged to join the debate, highlighting what support they need to attract talented people and also have the opportunity to discuss their skills needs with training providers. While the first event will discuss the challenges and needs of the industry, the second conference will focus on finding the solutions in creating a sustainable and competitive food and drink sector.
The issues around potential skills shortages were identified as a priority by the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, which is a partnership between industry, academia and government to help drive growth and development within the sector. Primarily, the board’s focus has been on helping develop new markets, encouraging innovation and working to improve the perception of Welsh food and drink both inside and outside Wales. Seen as an important part of the industry’s future prosperity, last year the board organised an ‘Innovation & Investment for Growth’ conference, which facilitated over a hundred producers and funders and resulted in significant additional capital support for the industry.
Commenting on the upcoming conference, Andy Richardson, Chair of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board said,
“Following extensive discussions right across Wales with people working within the industry, we decided as a board that further action was needed to make sure we have the correct skills to meet the needs of a dynamic, growing and successful Welsh Food & Drink sector of the future.
“We urgently need to understand the future skills requirements of our food and drink producers and to work closely with academia and training providers to deliver those skills and ensure capacity for future growth.
“While these conferences will help identify some of the skills issues facing us, by the end of the two-conference programme we will be in a far stronger position by having answers to some of these challenges. In this way the conference is about developing an effective strategy for the future. We look forward to working in tandem with the Welsh Government to put these solutions into practice and help create a prosperous and sustainable industry.”
Speaking at the event will be the Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, who said,
“I’m delighted the board has listened to concerns voiced by our food and drink and producers and is proactively working, in partnership with Welsh Government, to help find solutions to make sure we have a suitably skilled workforce to continue driving the growth we’ve recently witnessed in the industry.
“A thriving industry requires the skills and expertise to not only ensure we have the capacity to grow but to also foster innovation and help place Wales at the forefront of any future technological developments. Therefore, it is in all our interests that government, industry and training providers work together to create a workforce that will bring future economic prosperity to both the industry and our communities.
“I’m very much looking forward to be taking part in the conference and meeting our producers to hear their views on how we can meet these challenges.”
October 2017 Update 2
A project to tackle childhood obesity has awarded funding to four Welsh companies to develop innovative, healthy and affordable Welsh Food and Drink solutions.
Welsh Government and Innovate UK have awarded a share of £250,000 research and development funding to four Welsh Food based companies to allow them to assess the feasibility of their new solutions.
The companies were invited to submit solutions which focus on reducing levels of salt, sugar and saturated fat as well as increasing the levels of vitamins, minerals and fibre provided in food and drink for children.
Cabinet Secretary for the Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said,
“We already have a great reputation for quality food and drink, and our companies are taking innovation seriously as part of their offering. We are proud to promote our industry nationally and internationally and I congratulate the four Welsh companies who have showcased their innovation to win this funding. Tackling childhood obesity in Wales is a priority for the Welsh Government and by improving the diets of our children today, we enable them to become the healthy adults of tomorrow.”
The funding was provided through the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI), a national programme that enables public sector bodies to connect with businesses that have the potential to provide innovative solutions to public sector challenges.
Obesity has a significant impact on the economy. In 2011, obesity alone was estimated to cost the NHS in Wales £73m, with between £1.4m and £1.65m spent each week treating diseases resulting from obesity.
October 2017 Update
With Brexit looming large, the Welsh food and drink industry is facing more challenges than ever in securing a future pipeline of skills and labour. An ageing workforce, difficulty in attracting and retaining talent, a lack of skilled workers coming through further and higher education, and uncertainty over the future position of EU nationals is creating a perfect storm for the industry.
We urgently need to understand the future skills requirements and work closely with academia and training providers to define and deliver those skills. This conference will look at what skills the Welsh food and drink sector needs now and in the future in order to improve productivity and competitiveness. Participants will join the debate, highlighting what support they need to attract talented people and build a skilled and resilient workforce to cope with tomorrow’s challenges. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to discuss their skills needs with training providers.
When: Thursday 26th October 2017, starting at 8:30am
Where: The Exchange Hotel (Formerly The Coal Exchange), Cardi Bay, CF10 5FQ
“Meet the Skills Provider” – 4:30pm – 6:30pm
Confirmed speakers and panellists include:
Cardi Business School
Coleg Sir Gar
National Centre of Excellence for Food
Engineering, Sheield Hallam University
National Skills Academy, Food & Drink
Agri-Food Training Partnership,
Food Innovation Wales
Food & Drink Wales Industry Board
Tasty Careers Ambassador
—Have your say in developing a food and drink skills strategy for Wales
—Find out about funding sources for skills development
—Hear how the industry is tackling skills/labour shortages
—Learn from other sectors facing similar challenges
—Pre-bookable “Meet the Skills Provider” appointments to help you build a more resilient
workforce and business.
To reserve a place, please register here: https://invest-in-skills.eventbrite.co.uk/
September 2017 Update
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs has encouraged Welsh Food & Drink processors and manufacturers to apply for their portion of £800,000 worth of funding.
The Rural Business Investment Scheme – FOOD (RBISF), available under the EU-supported Rural Development Programme, is a capital investments programme to support projects that offer clear and quantifiable benefits to the Welsh Food & Drink industry.
The scheme is open to existing and start-up micro & small food and drink processors and manufacturers throughout Wales who are not eligible under the Welsh Government’s Food Business Investment Scheme.
Eligible businesses can apply for up to £50,000 for any individual investment project. These projects must contribute to the Welsh Government’s ambitious Food Strategy Action Plan with one or more of the following objectives:
- promote and develop a growing and vibrant food and drink sector in Wales
- continue to develop a green image based on sustainable production methods
- further build resilience into the industry to withstand market changes
- drive improvements in food safety and security
- promote technological innovation in both product and processes
- provide career opportunities at varying skill levels.
Ahead of the opening of the first window for expressions of interest, Lesley Griffiths said:
“Our Welsh food and drink industry is a real success story, experiencing impressive levels of growth in recent years. We are committed to maintaining this momentum by ensuring the right conditions are in place for businesses of all sizes to prosper.
“I would encourage small businesses to find out more about this scheme and if they are eligible, to apply for the funding”.
More information on the Rural Business Investment Scheme – FOOD (RBISF), including eligibility criteria is here
September 2017 Update
I don’t think anyone would disagree with me that tourism is vital to the Welsh economy with tourists spending around £14million a day. Wales has much to offer for all age groups and one of the many things that encourages people to visit Wales is the amazing array and quality of Welsh Food and drink and the Welsh hospitality that is always on offer.
A warm welcome, friendly, efficient and knowledgeable staff will ensure customers are happy and more than likely to return. There is only one chance to make a good impression and this matters as much in the Welsh Food and Drink hospitality sector as it does in any other business. But hospitality is not an area we can afford to get complacent about, because without our chefs, cooks, sous chefs, waiting staff, housekeeping staff and front of house managers etc. the hospitality industry would simply grind to a halt.
I think that what concerns me and is a topic I’ve written about in the past after discussing with people in the Welsh Food & Drink industry, is the fact that in Wales and the UK, the hospitality industry is not taken seriously as a profession, unlike in Europe where the Hospitality Industry is a respected career move. Wales cannot afford to have any gaps in the skills market in the hospitality sector and needs to work out what extra skills and training are needed for this workforce to enable Wales to compete with the UK and of course Europe.
For those of you that wish to enter the hospitality industry there are quite a number of options available and of course it’s a case of doing your research, getting out and talking to people at Colleges and Training Centres, Jobs Growth Wales and Career Wales, just check out what apprenticeships are available. These are the easiest options to find out what might work best for you, or perhaps it’s your son, daughter or a grandchild that is thinking about whether the hospitality industry is for them. But at the end of the day there’s nothing that actually beats getting some work experience locally and it is the easiest way to get practical experience of this industry. It’s also worth remembering that even learning the art of talking to strangers, people you have never met before, will stand you in good stead for the future as well as giving you lots of confidence too.
For those running a business and looking to up-skill their workforce the Skill Gateway for Business, which is hosted by Business Wales is there to provide information and support to help you improve your staff skills. ReAct is another avenue for businesses to research and more information can be found out on that programme through Business Wales. Plus Further Education Colleges have access to European Funds and are able to develop programmes to support employers to up skill their workforce. Staff training is so important and for hospitality businesses to have help available for staff training is a huge bonus and one not to be ignored.
Words: Kath Rhodes
“Food and drink go hand in hand with hospitality and tourism in Wales, training and skills is an integral part of these industries. As a Government we recognise this and understand the importance of ensuring our workforce have access to any training available”.
Follows are some views of in the Welsh Food and Drink industry:
Culinary Association of Wales
Q. What is the role of the Culinary Association of Wales do? What’s the advantage to chefs joining the CAW
A. The Association exists to promote excellence in the art of professional cookery within Wales and a partnership of Professional Chefs and Caterers to develop and raise the culinary profile of Wales, its establishments and those working within them through greater awareness, education and training.
Representing the Association with outstanding success at major international culinary competitions around the world are senior and junior Welsh National Culinary Teams. The teams comprise some of the most talented chefs who were either born in Wales or are currently working or studying here.
Welsh Food, culinary trends and the passion with which it is associated are fast becoming topics of enormous interest to the public, and while chefs have less mystery and are more accessible to the consumer than ever before, their skills are still held in extremely high regard. It is through your much valued membership to the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) and by default to the World Association of Chefs Societies (WACS), that those skills are nurtured, supported and built upon.
We strive the length and breadth of our country promoting, serving and showcasing the talented Chefs we have in our proud kitchens. Members of the Culinary Association of Wales demonstrate their passion, flair and culinary skills at all the major competitions around the globe, across the UK and within Wales. Year – on – year our membership strengthens from North to Mid to South, Chefs from all levels join, re-join and even work their way to being elected officials in their regions. Join us today; www.welsh culinary association.com.
Cambrian Training Company
Q. You specialise in delivering Apprenticeships and Jobs Growth Wales opportunities for many sectors, but how would you convince a person to look at the Hospitality Industry for a career?
A. The hospitality industry is huge all over the world and especially here in Wales and holds amazing opportunities to use the transferable skills you will learn in incredible places, discover and explore new cultures and people.
It offers a wide range of careers from a chef, a bartender, to working in a cafe. The industry covers hotels, restaurants, cafes, fast food outlets, pubs and clubs to name a few and you don’t need any higher education qualifications to get started in hospitality, even if you’re aiming for management. But if that is the route you choose, there is a clear set of recognised hospitality qualifications that are fully accepted across the industry.
Regardless of the job you do within the catering and hospitality sector, there is huge scope to be creative. You are creating a product, be that food, drink or an experience and there is always scope and opportunity to create a new way of making it more memorable for guests.
You will make a difference in people’s lives as the business is all about people. A smile, a helping hand and that little extra detail. It is all about making people happy, that will bring you great job satisfaction.
Coleg Sir Gâr
Q. As a college you provide Apprenticeships, Foundation Apprenticeships and also the Professional Cookery and Food Service L1. But what qualities are you looking for to accept students on these courses?
Tourism in Wales is big business, and the demand for workforce is rocketing, with nearly 40,000people needed in the sector in Wales by 2020.
Tourists spend around £14 million a day, amounting to around £5.1 billion a year, resulting in a requirement for highly skilled and professional individuals being in demand.
Working in the industry can be extremely rewarding and, individuals wishing to enter the industry must possess skills and qualities like motivation, flexibility, individual flair, enthusiasm, creativity, and team working.
Business owners within the Tourism and Hospitality also sector suggest that the skills in most demand are customer-handling skills, closely followed by planning and organisation skills.
Elizabeth Forkuoh, a hospitality, supervision and leadership student at Coleg Sir Gâr is an exemplar student within the Hospitality industry. Elizabeth is set to represent the UK in Abu Dhabi this October at the World Skills international competition in Restaurant Service.
WorldSkills International takes place in cities around the globe and is the largest international skills competition.
Elizabeth hones the right aptitude and approach to working within the industry and, her success demonstrates that commitment and flexibility can open doors to worldwide opportunities.
More useful information:
- Tourism is big business in Wales. Tourists spend around £14 million a day, amounting to around £5.1 billion a year.
(Welsh Government, 2015)61% of Tourism and Hospitality businesses report customer handling skills as most in demand, closely followed by planning and organisation and team work skills. (People 1st, 2015)
- 11,000 new Chefs are needed in the UK by 2022 with3,500 of those needed in Wales. (Working Futures 2012-2022).
- Nearly 40,000people will be needed in the sector in Wales over the next 5
(Welsh Government, 2015)
- 9%of the workforce in Wales is employed in Tourism, Hospitality and Leisure. That’s 1 in every 11
October 2017 Update 4
Welsh Food & Drink is represented by twenty two Welsh speciality food and drink producers exhibiting under the Food and Drink Wales banner at the forthcoming Speciality and Fine Food Fair in London.
Held 3-5 September, Food and Drink Wales is coordinating this strong Welsh Food and Drink representation from a wide range of sectors, including confectionery, cheese, vegetarian and vegan snacks through to baking and drinks – with most having recently had success at the Great Taste Awards 2017.
Wales has a long established reputation for fine Welsh food and drink products and boasts a wealth of food producers whose products have tasted worldwide success. This year sees a range of new product launches – the variety of which clearly demonstrates the creativity and innovation emerging from Wales.
The Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM
“Wales’ strong presence at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair is an acknowledgement of the importance our food and drink industry has on the UK market. Welsh producers work hard to produce artisan produce that is a true representation of the skills and quality that Wales has to offer. I am delighted that so many producers are attending this year’s show.
We have a great food and drink industry in Wales, and we as a Government will continue to celebrate the success of our producers as we look to grow the sector now and into the future.”
The Baked Shed is launching four gluten free cake products, and two vegan products. Barti Ddu Rum will be sampling the recently launched Pembrokeshire Seaweed Spiced Rum, whilst Lurvills Delight will be showcasing their new non-alcoholic drink – Lavender Spice.
Ice Cube Tea Ltd will be exhibiting a new range of teas including iced black tea with Sicilian Lemon, iced green tea with Moroccan Mint, iced Thai tea with Coconut Water and Iced Patagonian tea with Yerba Mate.
Black Mountains Smokery will be showcasing their delicious new product for 2017 – “Hot Smoked Sea Bass”. They will also be offering a special product of the month through a monthly newsletter to trade customers which will enable Black Mountains Smokery to offer something new on a regular basis.
Also being featuring as part of the Showcase is Sabor de Amor, featuring a new vegetarian paella in a bottle; Blas ar Fwyd Cyf with their own label and wholesale range and new deli range of jams, chutneys and mustards; and Slone Home (Lone Stag brand) with their fresh handmade chocolate truffles made with their award winning spirits.
Speciality and Fine Food Fair is the leading UK trade event that exclusively targets food and drink buyers from the speciality and artisan food industry. The event attracts buyers from far and wide and is a key platform for Welsh businesses to promote their produce.
Bridgend based The Parsnipship who produce unique and original vegetarian and vegan food will be showcasing its range of award-winning products, including The Glamorgan Crumble which won a 2-star Great Taste Award, and their Tandoori Chickpea and Lentil Mash-up, as well as their Lentil and Wild Mushroom Pâté, both of which gained 1-star.
Flo Ticehurst of The Parsnipship said,
“Trade events such as the Speciality and Fine Food Fair are an important window outside of Wales for Welsh food and drink producers and we are delighted to be part of this event following on our recent successes at the Great Taste Awards, which we are overjoyed about.
It’s an excellent way of showcasing our products, to reach potential new customers, but most importantly an excellent chance to promote Wales to potential visitors from the UK and the many others that attend the event from across the world.”
The Speciality and Fine Food Fair is held in London from 3-5 September with the winners of the Golden Fork Awards and the Great Taste Supreme Champion 2017 being announced on Monday 4 September.
Come and visit the Food and Drink Wales stands 1530/1540/1730 at Speciality and Fine Food Fair 3 – 5 September 2017.
For superb Welsh Food and Drink a full list of Welsh Great Taste Awards 2017 results can be viewed here
Speciality and Fine Food Fair – Welsh Exhibitors
The 22 companies featured on the Food and Drink Wales stand are:
- Halen Môn (The Anglesey Sea Salt Company), Anglesey – Great Taste 2017 winner
- The Patchwork Traditional Food Company, Ruthin – Great Taste 2017 winner
- The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company, Pembroke Dock – Great Taste 2017 winner
- Snowdonia Cheese Company Ltd, Rhyl – Great Taste 2017 winner
- Clam’s Handmade Cakes, Ebbw Vale – Great Taste 2017 winner
- Caws Cenarth, Boncath
- Sim’s Food Ltd (Samosaco Co), Pontyclun
- The Parsnipship, Bridgend – Great Taste 2017 winner
- CK Food and Drink Ltd
- Blas ar Fwyd Cyf, Llanrwst – Great Taste 2017 winner
- Black Mountains Smokery, Crickhowell – Great Taste 2017 winner
- The Baked Shed, Pontypridd – Great Taste 2017 winner
- Mrs Picklepot, Wrexham
- Barti Rum, Pembroke Dock
- Wrexham Lager Ltd, Wrexham
- Sabor de Amor, Wrexham
- The Shake Co Ltd (Bo Bakes), Swansea
- The Bridge Lodge Company, Wrexham – Great Taste 2017 winner
- Ice Cube Tea
- Slone Home (Lone Stag)
- Wickedly Welsh Chocolate
October 2017 Update 3
Welsh food and drink producers will be turning their sights to the important export market of the USA next month in search of new and competitive export trading opportunities.
As part of the Welsh Government’s commitment to raising Wales’s business profile on the global stage, it is supporting fifteen Welsh food and drink companies on a visit to New York and New Jersey from 17-20 September.
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM, said:
“Our country’s reputation for producing high quality food and drink is well known and we recognise the enormous value it brings to our economy. We have a clear ambition to grow the industry in Wales by 30% to £7 billion by the year 2020 by working in partnership with the industry.
“Exports for the sector have grown in the past decade and continue to grow. I am delighted we are supporting this group of producers to go to the USA to explore new markets first hand and develop further connections with international businesses.”
The producers range from meat, cheese, seaweed and laverbread to water and brewing companies.
The USA is the largest, most competitive and technologically advanced economy in the world, and as Wales’s largest export market across all sectors, it is worth £2.7 billion to the Welsh economy. With the value of speciality food sales in the USA worth $110 billion, this visit to New York and New Jersey is an ideal opportunity for Welsh producers to gain a foothold in this vast market. Minimal language barriers and access to global supply chains, which can lead to exports to other markets, also makes the USA market highly attractive to exporters.
The USA is also one of the largest global markets of dairy, free from products and craft beer producers.
Castle Dairies is a well-known south Wales dairy brand looking to re-engage with the American export market. The butter manufacturing company, which was established in 1966, used to export to the USA in the 1990s and early 2000s and now want to further build on their export business.
Castle Dairies’ Nigel Lloyd said:
“We welcome the support given to us by the Welsh Government to expand and start exporting our products into America. It is a perfect stepping stone to help us gain some experience in this area. It provides us with a wonderful opportunity to meet with key buyers and to pick-up advice along the way in order to establish solid contracts to boost confidence and sales.”
Ahead of the visit Mark Roberts of Wrexham Lager said:
“Having attended three previous trade development visits, I can say that, as a company, it is an invaluable way of getting your products sampled/tasted and meeting the right people in that country. To hopefully do future business in the export market, even if orders are not forthcoming immediately, chances are they will down the line.”
John Rodger of US food importer Atalanta Corporation will be meeting with the delegates following his participation in the recent TasteWales event organised by the Welsh Government , which showcased over 800 Welsh food and drink products to buyers from all over the world.
Commenting on the success of TasteWales as well as the impending visit John Rodger said:
“I experienced a very successful trade visit to Wales earlier this year at the first ever TasteWales event, at which I was able to meet many interesting Welsh food producers and trade officials. I am looking forward to reciprocating this in September, when we at Atalanta (the USA’s largest private food importer) will host a select group representing food and trade from Wales. We already import some very fine Welsh products and this will continue our dialogue with producers that have very good potential.”
During the four day visit, companies will have an opportunity to showcase products to selected buyers, importers and distributors from the retail and food service markets and develop new business through a series of market briefing workshops, store visits and meet the buyer opportunities. An industry networking event celebrating Welsh Food and Drink is also being organised, in conjunction with the Welsh Government’s North America office, entitled ‘A Taste of Wales in New York’ and will provide further opportunity to showcase food and drink produce from Wales in the North America market.
The companies represented on the trade development visit are:
- Tŷ Nant
- Castle Dairies
- Lurvills Delight
- Wrexham Lager
- The Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company
- Cwmfarm Charcuterie Products
- Bridgehead Foods
- Coaltown Coffee Roasters
- GRH Food Company
- Hybu Cig Cymru (HCC)
- Plas Farm
- Randall Parker Foods
- Conwy Brewery
- Welsh Brew Tea
For further information about Food and Drink Wales visit www.gov.wales/foodanddrinkwales
October 2017 Update 2
Welsh Food and Drink Cabinet Secretary for has praised the impact of the Welsh Government-backed Welsh Seafood Cluster after four of its members received prestigious Great Taste Awards.
Great Taste, organised by the Guild of Fine Food, is the acknowledged benchmark for fine food and drink within Welsh Food and Drink. It has often been described as the ‘Oscars’ of the food world. This year, Welsh sauces, sea salt and, for the first time ever, Welsh shellfish all made the shortlist of producers who have received 3 stars, 2 stars and 1 star.
Cardigan Bay Seafood led the way, winning three awards, including two stars for their dressed crab and potted crab and a prestigious one star for their mackerel pate.
Anglesey sea salt company Halen Mon also won three awards with two stars for its Pure Sea Salt and a star each for its Vanilla Sea Salt and Umami Sea Salt products, whilst the island’s Dylan’s restaurant won two single star awards for its Salted Butterscotch Sauce and Thai Sweet Chilli Dipping Sauce.
Meanwhile, Pembrokeshire Beach Food bagged a one star award for its Dulse Sea Herbs range.
All four successful producers are important members of the Welsh Seafood Cluster. Backed by the Welsh Government, the Cluster brings together ambitious Welsh fisheries businesses, enabling them to share best practice, receive expert advice and support to help them create jobs and achieve sustainable growth.
Lesley Griffiths said:
“Wales’ seafood is an important part of our Food and Drink offer. We have big plans to grow the sector by 30% by 2020 and our seafood producers will play a key role in helping us achieve this ambitious target.
“It is great news four of our Welsh Seafood Cluster members have been successful at the “Food Oscars”. This demonstrates our approach in developing and supporting Clusters is paying dividends. I would like to offer my personal congratulations to the four seafood producers along with all of our other wonderful food and drink products that have been recognised.
“As we try to attract new markets overseas this offers further proof that here in Wales we are forging a reputation for unique food and drink of the very highest quality”.
Seafood Cluster manager Caroline Dawson said:
“A huge congratulations to the Seafood Cluster members for their Great Taste Awards, a wonderful achievement. I have been fortunate enough to sample the products and they are certainly award worthy and an inspiration to the industry.”
Mandy Walters from Cardigan Bay Fish said:
‘Who’d have thought it – a little cardigan company winning a Great Taste Award, completely overwhelmed and still in shock. After attending a workshop organised through the seafood cluster I tried my luck and entered three products, I defied all odds and came home with three awards. I’m looking forward to seeing the stickers on my products.’
More information on the Welsh Seafood Cluster is available via the following hyperlink
October 2017 Update
Welsh Food and Drink Cabinet Secretary for has reminded Wales’ dairy farmers, who carry out milk recording, to take advantage of EU financial support before 19 August.
Welsh Food and Drink has milkers as an important component. Milk recording is a way to receive impartial information on the productivity, health and fertility of a herd. The information on the performance of each cow helps farm businesses become more efficient, resilient and profitable.
The Milk Recording Scheme is voluntary but limited to one payment per Customer Reference Number (CRN). Depending on the number of applications received the payment will be at least £750 to farmers who have, or take out, a milk recording contract.
To qualify, farmers must have an existing, or take out a new milk recording contract and carry out individual cow milk recording samples a minimum of four times per year. These can be ‘DIY’ or assisted.
The EU is providing support for farm business in recognition of recent difficulties affecting dairy markets. In addition to Milk Recording, up to 1,000 Welsh farmers will benefit from separate ‘benchmarking’ support. Under this voluntary scheme participating farmers will receive £1,800 and a ‘benchmark report’ showing the strengths and weaknesses of their business.
Lesley Griffiths said:
“The dairy sector plays an important role in supporting our rural communities. As a pro-business Government, we are committed to supporting the long term viability and profitability of the dairy sector.
“We recognise the recent difficulties dairy farmers have experienced and I want Wales’ farm businesses to make use of every avenue of support available. The application form for the Milk Recording scheme takes less than five minutes to complete and they can return it to us any time before 19 August.
To apply for the funding the application form must be completed and returned by 19 August 2017. Any submissions made after that date will not be eligible. Payments will be made to successful applicants by Rural Payments Wales (RPW) in September.