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
July 2018 Update 2
Annie James runs a dairy farm in Llandysul, Carmarthenshire and is a new entrant farming in partnership with her husband Liam and her father Clive. Teleri Fielden is currently farming at Llyndy Isaf having been awarded the National Trust Scholarship in 2017.
The annual award was established in 2011 to recognise the contribution of the late Brynle Williams to Welsh agriculture, both as an Assembly Member and as a farmer. This year the award celebrates the achievements of young farmers who have excelled on the Welsh Government’s newly established Young People in Agriculture (YpiA) forum and in preparations for its Future of Agriculture event in September.
Announcing the winner, alongside Brynle’s widow Mary Williams, at the Royal Welsh Show, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs said:
“Brynle was passionate about agriculture and saw young farmers as the future of the industry. He believed, like I do, in the importance of investing in their future so they and the industry continue to thrive.
“Our newly established Young People in Agriculture Forum has helped us further develop a long term relationship with young people who aspire to be the future senior leaders of the agriculture industry in Wales. It is particularly important as we prepare for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead post-Brexit.
“All Forum members were considered for the award and this year as a first I have decided to present the award to two winners.
“Both Annie and Teleri have been enthusiastic members of the Forum, sharing with other members their personal experiences of establishing themselves within the industry whilst also contributing considerably to the arrangements for the YPiA Future of Agriculture event in September. I believe they are both worthy winners of the award.
“I would like to congratulate both Annie and Teleri and wish them all the best of luck with their farming careers.”
Earlier this year a new £6m Young People into Agriculture scheme was launched to support new entrants into the industry. During today’s event, the Cabinet Secretary announced that 94 people have progressed to the next stage and a new window for applications will open on 1 August until 29 August.
The Cabinet Secretary added: “Attracting new and young entrants to the industry has been a priority of mine since I took over this role. Earlier this year we launched our Young People into Agriculture scheme, backed by £6m of revenue funding, and 94 people fully met the eligibility criteria.
“I will be opening a new window for applications on 1 August until 29 August to commit the remaining budget. This a great opportunity for young people to secure a sizeable level of support to kick start their business and I urge everyone who thinks they are eligible to apply.
Annie James grew up on her family’s dairy farm in Devon before graduating in agriculture from Aberystwyth University where she met her husband. Having initially returned to Devon to work in partnership with her parents, she then moved away to become a herd manager in Gloucestershire. Today, she works in partnership with her husband and father at a dairy farm they purchased in Llandysul, Carmarthenshire where she is responsible for the day to day management and running of a 150 cow herd working closely with the partners, vets and relief staff.
A keen advocate of personal development, Annie has undertaken a number of practical training courses ranging from animal husbandry to machinery and vehicle handling courses which she says have helped significantly in her day to day farm practices.
Annie enjoys mountain biking and swimming and has a young baby daughter. She has also had a longstanding association with the voluntary sector and particularly enjoys working with young people.
Annie was nominated to sit on the Young People in Agriculture Forum by NFU Cymru – Next Generation Group.
Teleri Fielden, from Meifod, is currently is the 5th Wales YFC National Trust Llyndy Isaf Scholar. Despite not having been brought up on a farm, Teleri has been inspired by her grandfather to farm.
Teleri, who grew up in Wrexham, read geography at Aberystwyth University, adding on modules in agriculture, the environment, sustainability and politics, which has sustained her interest in all things agricultural. However, keen to broaden her horizons, Teleri moved to Chamonix to work at a ski resort and learn the language. “I loved learning French and the continental way of life, but I missed hands-on farming, so when the ski season ended, I joined a French research farm, signing up for a diploma course in agriculture, “ says Teleri who also helped train and race the farm’s racehorses for endurance challenges.
While in France, Teleri was offered the opportunity to share farm, but by then she felt ready to come home to her Welsh roots. She was then appointed to the role of marketing and membership officer with the FUW in Aberystwyth, learning more practical skills in any free time by helping out at neighbouring farms, before applying for the Wales YFC and National Trust Llyndy Isaf Scholarship..
Teleri was nominated to sit on the Young People in Agriculture Forum by the National Trust.
Young People into Agriculture scheme
For further information on the scheme and to find out more on the eligibility criteria, please visit:
July 2018 Update 1
A new £1m project to market Welsh Seafood domestically and internationally will help put the industry on a firm footing to thrive in a post-Brexit world, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said today.
Speaking ahead of a debate on Brexit and fisheries in the Senedd, the Cabinet Secretary confirmed financial support from Welsh Government and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund for the Seafood Market Development Project over the next four years.
The project, which has been developed as a partnership between Menter a Busnes and Seafish, will develop the market development of locally caught and processed seafood from Wales.
It will also assist seafood businesses to define a clear seafood value, understand market needs, increase marketing expertise within the sector and encourage vessels to attain Responsible Fishing Scheme standard.
The project will engage with vessels and businesses from right across the Welsh seafood sector. During the lifetime of the project, it is expected to support and engage with 60 businesses.
In September, the project will host a Trade Mission to Hong Kong to showcase the best of Welsh seafood at the Seafood Expo Asia 2018.
The new project builds on the recently announced package of financial support for the fishery industry through the Welsh Government’s EU transition fund. Through the fund, the fishing and aquaculture industries will receive financial support over the next two years to help the sectors find new markets and prepare for future trading outside the EU.
Cabinet Secretary said: “Brexit presents both challenges and opportunities for our fishery industry. As a Government, we will do all we can to support the industry prepare for these challenges and help them adapt to a post-Brexit world.
“I am delighted to announce over £1m will be invested in the Seafood Market Development Project over the next four years to help market Welsh seafood domestically and internationally. It will provide vitally needed support for the sector as the UK prepares to leave the European Union.
“This builds on the funding recently announced by the First Minister for the sector through our EU transition Fund. We want to make sure that sector has a strong and sustainable future and this funding will help identify trading gaps to ensure the industry thrives once we have left the EU.”
The fishing and aquaculture industries will receive the following funding through the EU Transition Fund:
- Transforming Government Fisheries Management Systems for EU Exit – £390,000
- Supporting Welsh fisheries and aquaculture sectors to prepare for EU Exit – £440,000
Update 3 June 2018
A multi-million pound package of support to help the Welsh food industry prepare for Brexit will be announced today by First Minister of Wales, Carwyn Jones.
Through the Welsh Government’s £50million EU Transition Fund, £2.15 million will be provided to support the development of the red meat sector in Wales. The investment will support famers to identify improvements to their businesses to help them become more competitive and in a better position to trade profitably following Brexit.
Funding will also be given to an import substitution project to help identify and secure supply chains within the UK and encourage companies based in the EU to set up operations in Wales.
Speaking ahead of his address to the Farmer’s Union of Wales AGM in Aberystwyth this morning, the First Minister said, “Brexit presents a series of challenges and opportunities for our agriculture and fisheries industries. The funding I am announcing today from our EU Transition Fund will provide vitally needed support. As a Government we will do all we can to help these important industries prepare for a post-Brexit world.
The £3m package of support, funded through the Welsh Government’s EU transition fund, is broken down as follows.
- Red Meat Benchmarking project – £2,150,000
- Import Replacement – £100,000
- Transforming Government Fisheries Management Systems for EU Exit – £390,000
- Supporting Welsh fisheries and aquaculture sectors to prepare for EU Exit – £440,000
Update 2 June 2018
Passengers at Paddington sampled and purchased some of the best Welsh food and drink produce on show at the station on Thursday 14 June.
First Minister Carwyn Jones called in to visit the eight Welsh food and drink companies who showcased their products at the station and offering passengers the opportunity to sample and buy a range of high quality Welsh produce.
Passengers were able to savour the delights of products from across Wales, including award winning cheeses, preserves, cakes, ice cream and cured meats washed down with cider, ales and soft drinks.
It builds on previous events held at the station and is further recognition of the quality reputation of the Welsh food and drink sector in the UK.
Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths said: “Welsh food and drink has gained a growing and well-deserved reputation for uniqueness and high quality. We have ambitious targets to grow the industry by 30% to £7bn by 2020 and are very near to meeting this early.
“Today’s event is yet another opportunity for Welsh food and drink companies to showcase their products outside Wales and is further recognition of the regard the sector is held in.
“It is particularly timely as we prepare to leave the EU. The food and drinks industry is a key ‘foundation’ sector for us post-Brexit. We are determined to do all we can secure a resilient and thriving industry in Wales after leaving the EU.
The following eight Welsh food and drink companies showcased their products at Paddington station:
- Tan Y Castell – Bakery ranges, Welshcakes, Chocolate Chip Griddles and Shortbread Biscuits
- Franks Ice Cream – Range of 120ml Ice Cream flavours (Vanilla, Chocolate, Strawberry etc.)
- Monty’s Brewery – Range of Welsh Ales all of which are Gluten Free
- Hallets Real Cider – Welsh Premium Ciders
- Radnor Preserves – Range of Jams, Preserves, Chutneys and Condiments
- Radnor Hills Soft Drinks – Heartsease Range, which is a premium soft drinks range.
- Cwm Farm Charcuterie – Laverbread Salami and a range of premium cured meats
- Caws Cenarth Cheese – Perl Las, Perl Wen, Golden Cenarth and range of cheese truckles – all award winning cheeses from this West Wales producer.
Update 1 June 2018
Food Festivals – Highlighting Our Welsh Producers
Food Festivals are a superb place to see taste & buy superb Welsh produce.
Regular readers will know that Welsh food and drink is our passion here at Welsh Country magazine and food festivals are without a doubt the highlight. But why do we have such an obsession for food festivals? Now that’s a fair question and easily answered as festivals are the showcase for the best of Welsh food and drink and as Wales has an abundance of artisan food and drink producers, we are very lucky to be so spoilt for choice. With food festivals a- plenty being held across Wales of varying sizes, the choice of course is yours. You can visit your local community focused event or maybe have a weekend away and travel further afield to visit one of the larger festivals. Food festivals are not only great fun for people living in Wales but prove to be a real attraction for tourists too.
You don’t have to be an obsessive foodie to attend a festival, but I’m sure we can turn you into one when you do! Welsh festivals excel at providing something for everyone whether that’s watching top chefs show off their skills or encouraging children to learn more about their food and where it comes from and of course I don’t mean the supermarkets! Educating your children about food will certainly pay dividends in years to come and hopefully inspire some of them to consider a career in the food and drink industry and the hospitality sector.
One of my many festival highlights is to be able to speak face-to-face to the producers, to sample their products and also learn more about how they are made. But festivals are also important for our producers as they like to have direct contact with their customers and potential customers. Producers are also aware this is one way for them to grow their businesses and for the Welsh economy that’s important too as food and drink makes a valuable contribution.
Now into its 14th year, Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival (27th-28th May 2018) has established itself as a must-attend event for Welsh foodies.
One of Wales’ oldest market towns, Cowbridge has long been associated with quality food and farm produce. In a nod to this rich tradition, the 2018 Festival will be the second year of a Heritage Lottery Funded project focusing on ‘Forgotten Foods’. This will entail exploring historical skills and traditional methods of food production and storage, like traditional basket making, which will be demonstrated at the Festival.
Once again, the History Chefs will be on hand to showcase these techniques and give people a unique insight into foods that once formed the basis of Welsh diets. ITV’s Fran Donovan, who is passionate about history, will be helping bring these demonstrations to life.
Part of the Festival’s unique appeal is the fact that it focuses on local and regional producers and suppliers, showcasing them ahead of larger commercial or national organisations. Many local businesses credit the Festival with raising their profile when they were first setting out.
For example, Rob Higgins, Eccentric Gin said: “This was our first food festival and we approached it with a degree of trepidation. Appearing at the show was a great way of increasing awareness. Print advertising and social media are useful tools to help us grow but if I was forced to choose, give me a well-run food festival every time.”
More than just a food festival, Cowbridge’s rich offering of entertaining activities and educational demonstrations, has proved increasingly popular. People from various parts of the UK, who discovered the Festival by accident in the past, now plan their holidays around it.
The festival has grown to such an extent that it’s now spread across several sites and this year, for the first time, The Duke of Wellington Car Park will host a variety of exhibitors including Science Cream and award-winning street foodies The Original Goodfillas. There will even be a new craft fair downstairs in the pub.
Each day, chefs from local establishments will share top recipe tips for families cooking on a budget, and several Live Fire sessions will delight barbecue lovers. Experienced children’s entertainer Simon Sparkles will also please young and old with his unique fun blend of comedy, magic, games, puppetry and music.
As well as being an enjoyable day out for the whole family, Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival has a positive impact on the whole town and surrounding businesses. All holders of Pre-Paid tickets ordered on line will have a wide variety of vouchers for use around the town. These include clothes and food discounts as well as special Junior Vouchers for our younger visitors.
The Festival is also involved with several charities including Young Farmers Clubs, Women’s Institutes, Rotary and the Scouts.
It is a delicious event, with something for everyone’s taste.
The Beaumaris Food Festival was first held four years ago with the aim of raising funds for the local Community Centre, a central hub for this community, which was under threat of closure due to cutbacks. In such a short time the festival is now one of the largest attractions in the area and so far has raised over £94,000 to benefit local charities. Beaumaris is a prime example of how Welsh food and drink can help and bring together the local community and literally save the Community Centre.
Held on Anglesey, Beaumaris Food Festival is set in a stunning location between the historic 12th Century Beaumaris Castle and the coast, with the beautiful Snowdonia Mountains providing a backdrop. Held on the first weekend in September, 1st & 2nd the festival brings together local, national and international food producers, as well as street food vendors, crafts exhibitors, live entertainment and family fun. Chefs from the local area, from TV and with Michelin star showcase their talents in the demonstration tent which is always a hit!
The entry price is £5 per day or £7 for the weekend, which not only includes free parking but half price entry to local attractions such as the Castle and the Gaol. The festival is supported by Ynys Mon County Council, Beaumaris Town Council, the Welsh Assembly and many generous sponsors. The festival is run completely by a fantastic team of volunteers who return year after year, this is what community is all about!
So successful are the Beaumaris team that they have been asked to resurrect the Menai Bridge Food Festival, which will be held in the centre of the town on Saturday 28th July.
It’s a big day in the town’s calendar when Cardigan River & Food Festival opens on its site next to the River Teifi. This year, on Saturday 18th August will be the twentieth festival and it will once more be a celebration of quality Welsh food and drink. This is an opportunity to showcase the wide range of produce available from the Cardigan area and beyond. Cardigan Food Festival is a real community event that brings the whole town together, but without the support and dedication of their hard-working volunteers this event would not run. The Food Court, as always will have many great ‘street food’ stalls ready to tempt you for lunch, ranging from authentic Indian meals to luxury Welsh rarebit, via Paella and a Hog Roast. You’ll be able to take home cheeses, honey, beers, ciders, charcuterie, cakes, bread and much more from the bustling Food Market.
But the attraction of the Festival isn’t just the food, there’s much more to enjoy. There will be live entertainment in the large, covered seating area and a programme of activities on the river, with an RNLI demonstration and boat races. The Festival website: www.cardigan-food-festival.co.uk, will have the latest information.
A free Park & Ride scheme operates from just outside town with shuttle buses running throughout the day from the clearly signposted field on the Fishguard road. Entry into the Festival site is just £2.50 for adults and £1 for children 12 and over.
Taste of Monmouthshire is a boutique food and drink festival held in the historic venue of Shire Hall in the centre of the county town of Monmouth and taking place on the 18th & 19th August. Its purpose is twofold, both to engage the local community and also to draw visitors to the local Wye Valley, an area of outstanding natural beautiful (AONB). The county boasts a number of top quality restaurants whose chefs support the festival by giving first class demonstrations. Between the chefs they boast one Michelin star and twelve AA Rosettes which confirms the calibre of our local restaurants and explain why the Chef’s Theatre is so popular.
The Food Capital of Wales is how the county of Monmouthshire is known priding itself on the number of top quality food and drink producers here. Local award winning White Castle Vineyard will host a wine workshop and Dragonphyre Chocolate from Abergavenny will offer a chocolate tasting session.
The Kid’s Kitchen has food and drink workshops for our younger visitors supported by the Monmouth branch of Monmouthshire Youth Service. These workshops will educate our children to make healthy food and drink choices.
Our Food and Drink producers include Brookes Dairy who make the finest Welsh ice cream with fresh double cream and milk from their herd of Jersey cows. Together with Castles Brewery, a family run micro brewery, producing a range of traditional ales.
April 2018 Update
Some of Wales’ finest Welsh food and drink companies will attend the UK’s largest trade exhibition in Birmingham later this month. Over 1,500 exhibitors will attend the three day event, Food & Drink Expo at the NEC from Monday 16 April until Wednesday 18 April.
Twenty nine companies will be part of the Cymru / Wales stand, a number of which will be unveiling new and innovative products. These include Princes Gate, Mario’s Ice Cream, The Welsh Sausage Company, Halen Môn, Snowdonia Cheese, Pancake World, Plas Farm and the Authentic Curry Company. A number of producers will also be exhibiting as part of the Food and Drink Wales Showcase.
One company looking to use Food & Drink Expo as a platform to launch three new lines is Fori, whose Paleo-inspired, high-protein savoury meat snacks offer an alternative option to traditional snack bars.
The new 35g bars are available in three flavours – Pork with Smoky Bacon, Beef with Cracked Pepper and Chicken with Texas BBQ. All three bars contain 100% British grass fed, free range and outdoor reared meat and all sit at under 80 calories per bar whilst still being high in protein. They also have no added sugar and are free from gluten, nut and dairy.
Juliana Morgans of Fori said,
“Trade events such as Food & Drink Expo is an important opportunity for Welsh food and drink producers to showcase products to buyers and distributors and we are delighted to be part of this event.
“We are actually going to use the show to launch our three brand new lines which we are very excited about. We are hoping our bars will reignite the meat snacks category by pioneering the highest animal welfare standards and only using the finest natural, wholefood ingredients.”
Langford’s The Welsh Sausage Company will be introducing a new gluten free breakfast slice as well as their new gluten free products using lamb, beef and pork, which are due to be launched into schools in the UK on 1 April.
Commenting on the new products, John Langford of Langford’s The Welsh Sausage Company said,
“Every school that has sampled our grills and meatballs has taken them. We have targeted 7 to 12 year olds with these products and they love them. They will be in over 8,000 schools in the UK from April, 2,000 of which are schools in Wales. This is a huge volume for us and a great opportunity to get school children back eating and loving lamb, which has not been on school menus for the last 4 years.
We think it will make a great impact on people buying lamb and feel that our gluten free products is the way forward.”
CK Food and Drinks Ltd are launching a new 250ml Stirfry sauce called That Style Sweet and Sour. Earlier this year they changed their curry pastes from glass jars to 2 x 65g sachets packaged in one big, bold cardboard sleeve, meaning a greater shelf presence, easier to store and gives the customer more flexibility on the amount of paste used.
Cwmfarm Charcuterie are launching two new products, including Cured Beef Hearts – a new collaboration with Welsh Chef Grady Atkins from Cardiff; as well as a Laverbread Salami covered in a Welsh Beeswax, again working with some Welsh Beekeepers to use the by-product of the honey bee which helps with packaging and shelf life.
Commenting on being part of the showcase, owner Ruth Davies of Cwmfarm Charcuterie said,
“We are very excited to be launching new products at Food & Drink Expo. Exhibiting at major events such as this gives us the opportunity to talk directly to buyers and we hope it will be a springboard for us as we aim to take the business forward.”
All Welsh companies exhibiting under the Cymru/Wales brand receive support from the Welsh Government which enables them to have a presence at trade events such as Food & Drink Expo.
The Welsh Government’s Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:
“I am delighted so many producers from Wales are attending this year’s Food & Drink Expo. This is a great opportunity to showcase some of the innovative products coming from Wales and shows how important Welsh food and drink is to the UK market.
“The Welsh Government will continue to support and celebrate the success of our producers as we continue to see the sector grow.”
On Monday and Wednesday morning between 10:15am – 11:00am at The Grocer Talking Shop Live at Food & Drink Expo there will be an opportunity to ‘Wake up with Wales’. Celebrate classic Welsh cuisine and sample the country’s exciting new tastes and flavours as food and drink broadcaster Nigel Barden introduces the Wales showcase.
Several Welsh companies, including Tomos a Lilford Brewery and Sabor de Amor will be taking part in the Dragon’s Pantry session, with a range of buyers.
Food & Drink Expo 2018 is the UK’s most progressive food and drink show, taking place on 16-18 April. Food & Drink Expo will run alongside Foodex, The Ingredients Show, National Convenience Show and Farm Shop & Deli Show. The UK Food shows attract buyers’ and decision makers from across the whole industry, who will converge to uncover the hottest trends, latest product launches and the industry’s vision for the future.
Come and visit the Cymru Wales stands L100, L110, M110, N100, P100 at Food & Drink Expo from 16-18 April 2018 for a range of new and innovative food and drink products. There will be an opportunity to meet with the Welsh producers exhibiting at a reception to be held on the main Wales stand on Tuesday 17 April at 5.00pm – with Nigel Barden, food and drink broadcaster.
March 2018 Update
There are many pleasures associated with getting away on holiday and not just seeing new places, experiencing different cultures and trying a new language, but the thrill of sampling the local Welsh food and drink.
Well here in Wales we can tick all those must-have tourism boxes and certainly on the food and drink side because our artisan producers are outstanding. The variety and quality of Welsh food and drink is exceptional as we have every aspect covered from meat and fish, honey, dairy, bread and cakes, ciders, beers, whiskey, wine, gin, rum and fruit juices. Our Welsh produce list is endless and the quality is faultless.
I think more work is needed to encourage some establishments to highlight how much local produce they use and where they source from. Yes it does involve a little more work, but it really enhances the visitor experience and that is what it’s all about – selling Wales and our Welsh food and drink to our tourists. Many establishments have got this down to a fine art, with some able to also sell produce for their visitors to take home with them. I really don’t want to see an English breakfast on a menu; I want to see a ‘Welsh’ breakfast. I want to know where the bacon, eggs and sausages have been sourced from too. It’s an important touch that gives visitors a true sense of Wales and also shows, but rather shrewdly, how important Welsh food and drink is to the Welsh economy. Words: Kath Rhodes
Situated in the foothills of the Preseli Hills in north Pembrokeshire you’ll find Bluestone Brewing, a very exciting family run brewery. The water used for brewing is unique to Bluestone. Their water filters down the Preseli mountains and collects in a well on their land. As Bluestone’s spring water is so natural and crystal clear it goes directly from the well into their range of flavoursome Rock Solid Ales, without requiring filtering or chemicals being added.
What started as a small diversity project for the family, Bluestone has quickly grown into something really special. With a new bottling plant currently under construction, they’ve also opened a Visitor Centre where locals and tourists alike can come and take a brewery tour and enjoy a real microbrewery experience. There is always plenty going on at Bluestone whether it’s a full line-up of live music, comedy, charity choir competitions, beer festivals and banquet evenings. The events are all held underneath the Brewery’s large stretch tent that’s covered with fairy lights and making this a warm and welcoming venue. The plus point though without a doubt is their outside bar serving the best Bluestone Beers direct from the Brewery. 2017 saw the family run a packed programme throughout the summer offering a great variety and something for everyone to enjoy. But the highlight of last year was a sell-out gig for Congolese star Kanda Bongo Man, which saw 450 people fill the Brewery Yard and dance the night away to his Soukous beats. Visitors to Wales love trying Welsh food and drink whilst on holiday and a trip to Bluestone Brewery is a great way to start.
Worry over declining bee populations has led to a new kind of holiday with a positive impact. It’s no secret that these wonderful insects are in trouble. Pesticides, disease and weather are all contributing factors to declining numbers.
At New Quay Honey Farm it’s clear that they are passionate about bees. Established as a bee farm in 1995, the Farm is a traditional family-run honey farm based in mid Wales. The farm produces 100% pure, raw honeys and boasts a Meadery with production of over 6 distinctive characters of mead.
Hidden on the rural outskirts of New Quay, this picturesque farm, set in an old chapel is steeped in history to inspire the imagination and, with their incomparable promise to treasuring authentic small scale production, New Quay Honey farms’ products are the signature of the Ceredigion landscape.
New Quay Honey farm displays an exhibition which highlights how we all need to be attentive that bees are at crisis point and that their role in the food chain cannot be underestimated. We also host live hives where we demonstrate honeybees, allowing intimate inspection of their fascinating miniature worlds and the opportunity for sensory experiences through webcams and listening ports.
But this new trend of holidaying with a positive impact also takes in the products. With a quaint tea room and shop selling the delicious Afon Mel honey inspired cakes, chutneys, fudge, honey and mead. But for those Bee-lovers who want to help further their knowledge they can also try bee keeping workshops run by owner, Sam Cooper. 2018 is the year for going on trips that are fulfilling for you but also good for the places you visit and their wildlife, especially when it’s a hive of activity.
Blas ar Fwyd explained that they are a Welsh food manufacturer and fine food wholesaler with free delivery throughout Wales, working with over a hundred Welsh producers to provide artisan products and a large range of wines.
‘‘We are a supplier of choice to many tourist venues in Wales from Ffestiniog Railway to Melin Tregwynt. The company also played a part in the success of the re-launch of Conwy Council’s Visitor Centre, based in Llandudno. We worked closely with Conwy Council to develop the product range and are proud to be supplying over 50 different Welsh brands directly to store. The Visitor Centre was able to deal with Blas ar Fwyd, instead of each brand individually. This is because we work hard to develop quality relationships with our suppliers and are able to achieve efficient pricing for our customers.
We are also proud to wholesale and manufacture Blas ar Fwyd’s own handmade products made in our SALSA approved kitchens which have won over 40 Great Taste Awards.
Conwy Council are also building on the success of their Llandudno venture by looking to remodel the Tourist Centre in Conwy in the same manner and we hope to play a part in what will be a successful venture there also.’’
Felin Talgarth Mill – A Working Watermill In The Heart Of The Brecon Beacons National Park
Felin Talgarth Mill is an 18 Century watermill, restored to full working order in 2011, and now a hub for visitors and local residents who are keen to sample great food and see traditional water power turn grain into flour. The company explained that they mill four days a week and visitors can take a tour with one of our millers or guides and learn about the history of the mill, the restoration project and the Mill’s current place in the local rural community.
‘‘Our onsite café and bakery, The Bakers’ Table, bakes fresh bread 5 days a week and offers an award-winning range of teas, coffees, cakes and light lunches. In the Mill, wheat, spelt and rye is used to create five flours perfect for bread making and four flours for cakes, pastries and biscuits. Six bread kits contain everything you need to make a perfect loaf, including expert instructions. Alongside our regular milling and baking, the Mill also offers a range of baking and craft courses, including drop in workshops, and a ‘Taste of Milling’ experience – a hands-on session where visitors can learn every step of the milling process.’’
With such a historic building, a working watermill, a bakery, a café, gardens and a craft shop it’s no wonder Felin Talgarth is such a draw for tourists. Nestled in the foothills of the Black Mountains, Felin Talgarth Mill is part of the Visit Wales ‘Food Itinerary’ – a lovely slice of history and good food in one place!
Chairman of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board
”Never has there been such a perfect match than that between Welsh food and drink and tourism. We all like to try something new and different when we’re on holiday and this could be the catalyst to choosing Welsh food and drink in the regular weekly shopping basket for consumers across the UK and abroad. As Chair of the Food & Drink Industry Board for Wales, I would encourage Welsh Tourist locations to actively engage and promote local Welsh food and drink produce which ultimately should be a mutually beneficial relationship. Wales is a fantastic place to visit and our food and drink will always deliver something new, authentic, tasty and reliable.
The purpose of the Board is to grow, promote and enhance the reputation of the Welsh food and drink industry to deliver the Towards Sustainable Growth: An Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014 – 2020. This plan targets 30% growth in the industry by the year 2020 which the Board will work towards achieving.”
February 2018 Update 3
Producers from across Wales have come together to challenge consumers to buy Welsh this March. The challenge will be kick started to coincide with St David’s Day, 1st March 2018, as the largest celebration of Welsh food and drink ever held on a UK wide level is set to go ahead.
There has never been a better time for Welsh food and drink, with the number of products attaining European protected food name status nearly doubling in the past year and the number of Welsh entries for the prestigious Great Taste Awards reaching a record high.
Sales are also soaring and the 2020 target of increasing sales to £7 billion is well on target to be met a few years early.
Welsh food and drink producers will be banging the drum across the UK and reinforcing the message that Welsh food and drink is among the best in the world in terms of quality and value.
For Londoners there will be a chance to savour the delights of Wales’s excellent produce, from luscious lamb, to creamy cheeses and award winning wine.
To help people get in the mood celebrations and tastings will kick off a week early as Waitrose customers in Oxford Street and Canary Wharf will be treated to the finest Welsh produce the country can offer with traditional cheese and Welsh cakes, yoghurt and waffles, accompanied by Welsh beer or whiskey.
Staying in London, the popular Borough Market will also be awash with Welsh nibbles and tipples to try for a three day extravaganza beginning on St David’s Day featuring guest Welsh producers of Radnor Preserves, and Rhug Estates alongside the established market stalls on day one followed by themed stalls of sweet things, preserves, Selwyn Seaweed laverbread and cheese and pickles.
Rail travellers to Paddington station are in for a treat as Welsh producers will be showcasing their wares on the platforms, while on board commuters will be able to savour traditional Welsh cakes alongside their morning cuppa – Welsh Brew tea of course. As if it couldn’t get any better a Welsh choir will also be on hand to entertain travellers with rousing renditions of well-known hymns and songs to brighten up the day.
Retailers are also getting involved with Waitrose, Asda, Co-op, Morrisons and Ocado all holding their own showcases with Welsh suppliers at their Head Offices promoting the very best of Wales. 34 Asda stores will be using the Food and Drink Wales ‘This is a Celebration. This is Wales’ retailer toolkit to promote Welsh food and drink.
These St David’s Day celebrations form part of the Welsh Government’s #ThisisWales campaign, ensuring Wales and its first class produce are centre stage on the patron saint’s day.
The Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said,
“Every year our Welsh food and drink celebrations for St. David’s Day get bigger and better as the fine reputation of our produce increases. We have some excellent products on show and only the finest Welsh ingredients are used. I would like to thank our producers for showcasing their products in London and further enhancing the belief by consumers and retailers alike that Welsh food and drink is of the highest quality. Our challenge now to consumers is to put our produce to the test – and I for one am fully confident that it will prove to be a success.”
In addition to events in London, stores across Wales will naturally be showcasing their first rate quality Welsh food and drink and challenging more of their customers to buy Welsh – for the quality, the value and the provenance.
St David, the patron Saint of Wales, is celebrated all over the world on the 1st March and is an important part of the heritage of Wales, as is food and drink, which is one of Wales’s premier treasures. Do not miss out on these St David’s Day celebrations and indulge in the best quality offerings from across Wales.
February 2018 Update 2
Welsh food and drink companies are preparing to attend one of the world’s largest food trade events in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 18-22 February. Held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Gulfood will attract over 97,000 visitors over the five days, welcoming more than 5,000 exhibitors from 120 countries showcasing products across 8 primary market sectors.
14 Welsh companies from across the Welsh food and drink sector in Wales will be present under the Welsh Government’s Cymru/Wales banner. The Welsh participating companies will include Dairy Partners, Fayrefields Foods, Daioni, Calon Wen, Hilltop Honey, Hybu Cig Cymru, Radnor Hills, The Cake Crew, Llaeth y Llan, Eat my Flowers and Coco Pzazz.
Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, believes that it is vital for the industry to continue to develop global markets,
“In recent years Welsh food and drink has gained a growing and well-deserved reputation for high quality. However, it is important that we maintain our visibility and showcase our innovative products at key global trade events. Having a presence at events such as Gulfood contributes to our ongoing targets of growing the industry by 30% to 7bn by 2020 for the sector which plays an increasingly important role in the Welsh economy.”
One north Wales based company – The Cake Crew company is hoping that Gulfood will open new opportunities in the Middle East. As the largest independent manufacturer of private label cupcakes in the UK, it produces a wide range of bakery products, including cupcakes, tray bakes, loaf cakes and muffins.
Sales Development Director Bill Smith-Coats commented,
“With a 25,000 square foot bakery situated in Bala, north Wales and employing around 300 staff, The Cake Crew is one of the biggest employers in the area. In recent years, the company has experienced sustained growth which has led to expansion into the branded cupcake category with our ‘Beautifully Crafted’ range. We believe we have created some outstanding recipes and are proud of this premium hand finished cupcake range. With high swirl topping and premium gold decorations they offer consumers a real indulgent treat.
We are very much looking forward to this trip and hope it will create new opportunities for us in the Middle East as we are keen to expand into the global market.”
Currently going through a major expansion to accommodate requests for their highly sought after cheese products is Mozzarella producer Dairy partners, a long established family owned cheese marker. Producing Mozzarella and Pizza cheese as well as fat-filled Mozzarella, cheese has been produced on the same site in West Wales since 1938. Sourcing milk from within a 50 mile radius of the Carmarthenshire site, Dairy Partners works together with local farmers to ensure supply.
In June last year, Dairy Partners purchased land to build a new processing plant. The new site will double the production and have the room to grow as demand increases, especially from overseas markets.
Commenting ahead of the visit to Gulfood, Director Will Bennett,
“We have seen high growth in the overseas markets in the past couple of years, particularly from the Middle East and Asia. We see this expansion as well as our presence at Gulfood, as a great opportunity to enter growing markets and to invest in our existing relationships. We are the only fully integrated Pizza cheese, mozzarella and string cheese manufacturing, shredding and processing business in Northern Europe and we are continually expanding!”
There are a number of new products being launched by Welsh producers at Gulfood. Llaeth y Llan / Village Dairy will be showcasing two new lines – a Fat Free Natural yogurt and a Natural with Honey yogurt, working alongside Hilltop Honey to develop a product which gained a Great Taste Golden Fork in 2016.
The award winning Mid Wales honey producer, Hilltop Honey, also exhibiting at Gulfood, has this month secured three new product listings with Sainsbury’s. The new range of honey products include Lavender Honey, Orange Blossom Honey and Thyme Honey and will be available across 343 Sainsbury’s stores.
Radnor Hills will be showcasing their recently relaunched popular Heartease Farm Premium Pressé range with brand new labels and sugar reduced recipes.
Commenting on the relaunch Marketing Executive Holly Sparrow,
“We are sticking to the brand’s main heritage and ethos by only using all natural ingredients as well as utilising our own lightly sparkling spring water from the farm in Powys, Mid Wales. The new recipes will be sweetened with Stevia – an all-natural plant based sweetener that contains almost no calories! Each bottle will still have the same amount of real delicious fruit juices which are expertly blended into traditional British recipes but the new ‘light’ approach will mean that some flavours could contain around 50% less sugar.”
One producer attending looking to make an impression at Gulfood is Sarah Hughes of Eat My Flowers, who produces hand crystallised ‘edible’ flowers that are used to decorate desserts, chocolates, cakes and lollipops. Sarah supplies her lollipops and flowers to Harrods, The Dorchester and The Berkeley Hotels in London.
Eat My Flowers products will also feature in the new Gulfood Discover Zone at the Show, an opportunity for a limited number of new and innovative products to be showcased in an exclusive and interactive lounge.
Owner Sarah Hughes sees Gulfood as a great opportunity to promote her products to an international audience,
“I am very excited about the trip to Dubai next month. Events such as this are fantastic for any business, and with the support of the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Wales I am able to showcase my products direct to buyers and suppliers in the Middle East. I am hoping this visit will open up at least one potential lead.”
Gulfood, now in its 23rd year will bring together a series of insights and activities to help the global food and beverage community to make informed business decisions, discover new products and suppliers, unveil new business opportunities and find solutions to new and evolving global challenges.
Visit the Cymru/Wales stands SN18 & SP17 in the World Food Sheikh Saeed Hall I, stands A2-18 and A2-26 in the Dairy Hall at Gulfood 2018.
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.’
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.