Update On The Royal Welsh

19 Jul

Like many of you, I had an early start on Monday to visit the RWAS. My first stop was the Press Office to get my badge etc. McDonalds was again sponsoring the Press Room and if they had read welshfoodbites last they sadly didn’t act on any of my suggestions. As far as I’m aware coffee was not supplied by a Welsh company and the tea was, as last year, PG Tips. This is despite the fact that I told their staff about Welsh Brew tea, and where they were in the Food Hall. This year that company had three stands in total around the show ground, but McDonalds could only support PG Tips. I’m seriously unimpressed when McDonalds say they support farmers, but ignore food producers. It’s an unfair situation and would not take a great deal of effort to change it. The fact that the vending machine seemed to be a on constant ‘clean cycle’, it made for a fairly ‘dry’ press room. But whilst we waited again for coffee, it did give me a chance to catch up with one of Welsh Country’s magazine friends, weatherman Derek Brockway who was broadcasting from the show all week. With still no drinks, in the end I gave up, walked across to the Food Hall and brought back two superb mocha coffees from Preseli Coffee – a sure winner against McDonalds!!!!! The Press Office was certainly not as busy as usual with the number of journalists and photographers well down, a sign of the tough times all media is experiencing and does not look to be changing. It was disappointing to find a lack of food press releases in the press office apart from a press pack form Fork2Fork. I am not at all pleased that this sector was not looked after by Wag – surely we had endless food stories that could have been out to the Welsh media………

I browsed through lots of press reports from RWAS and under ‘Projects Completed For the Show’ and under capital at the top of the list was New Food Hall – Fit Out. I have no idea what that means but considering the Food Hall was only opened 12 months ago – it didn’t make much sense to me, and still doesn’t.

Now if like me, you believe that Wag never listens, you will have been delighted to see the new layout in the Food Hall. This was proof, at least on this occasion, that Wag not only listened, but actually reacted in a positive manner. They took the time and trouble to ask for producers’ comments and suggestions, listened to what they said and then acted upon them. This is great news and a huge step forward. Sadly I have no proof that Wag read welshfoodbites’ post on last year’s Food Hall fiasco, but the important point is that Wag realised the layout was wrong and did something about it. Well done Wag.

It’s difficult and unfair to say at such an early stage how the new layout worked, but I’ll get feedback through on Friday I’m sure when the producers at last get home. I’m still not totally happy with Wag though as I wished they’d put some tables and seating in the centre area, which was empty apart from some pop-up banners. There was space also opposite the loos and some tables and chairs could have fitted in there. There were lots of visitors that were stood in groups chatting and I’m sure they would have appreciated a coffee, tea, cake and a sit-down and have a break. I find it odd that this new Food Hall was planned with no thought for a seating area, even just outside. There was such a fantastic array of Welsh produce on display, but impossible for people to be able to buy that food and eat it easily. But, having said that, I cannot believe that anyone wandering around the Food Hall would not be impressed with the wonderful array of food from the artisan producers. Well done guys.

I believe the gate was down by about 4,000 people but I do hope that doesn’t happen for the rest of the week and the food producers have a good week in the Food Hall.
I also made two visits down to the Farmers Market and congratulate Steve Shearman and Ralph’s Cider who between them got some smart tentage, this area certainly looked better and they had some great produce too. There were also some tables and benches with umbrellas which many people took advantage of.


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  1. Billy

    July 20, 2011 at 8:25 am

    I agree with this piece the layout was much better
    agree too that WAG for once listened and acted on what we want and need. I wish that they would not forget that they are servants. There is no dispute that we need their help, but to get that they must listen. Life is tough out there for us.
    I cannot believe how long I’ve spent on this site and there is very little I disagree with. In a nutshell WAG needs to talk to us, but they never have – you will do as we say – but whast sort of attittude is that for servants?
    It’s this team here that are working and our on our side. They take the time to visit lots of markets and festivals, they talk to us, they listen to us and Kath works hard to get changes made. She’s taken the trouble to set this site up which is a great idea and a way of us knowing what other traders think. So many of us are in agreement that Wag need shaking up.

  2. cheese man

    July 20, 2011 at 8:35 am

    much better layout
    let’s not get too excited about wag listening to us …….it’s in my view just a first
    we have a long way to go yet with wag and a huge amount of work to do.
    i couldn’t afford to take a stand at RAWS but did meet Ian and Kath there. I don’t think there were as many people there and those that were there were not spending – you only had to look for bags and there weren’t that many
    let’s hope end of the week is sale time and producers more than cover their £1k outlay.

  3. Lily

    July 21, 2011 at 8:39 am

    yes it was a better layout – sad they couldn’t have got it right last year, but as has been said at least they have listened to this complaint. YIPPEE
    There were wag display stands all over the food hall with free copies booklets for welsh rabbits and little places. Have wag bought these companies and not told us? If they are not owned by wag why were they on wag stands? How much have they paid for this space? I also saw them when I had a stand at a Pembrokeshire trade show earlier this year.
    I’m a regular on this site, but haven’t noticed many comments about wag’s true taste book. I’m talking about the front cover and an piece inside about Pembrokeshire Tea. Who decided to put the Pembrokeshire Tea Man on the front cover? I know he got an award, again not sure why, but that was obviously judged by people who were totally oblivious of the ructions that were going on from early last year. It does prove how out-of-touch wag are. There are lots of worthy food people, who have been trading for years, who deserve to go on the cover. Instead this guy gets flaunted and wag looks well let just say silly……….
    So wag who decided that Pems Tea went on the front cover? Come on, who has the most egg on face in wag offices, assume that decision maker is still in a job?

  4. Hurrah

    July 21, 2011 at 10:08 am

    Hurrah, Wag have opened their ears and reacted the right way. A miracle has happened.
    Let’s hope they have learnt a lesson and we can move forward on them listening to us producers instead what they THINK is what is needed.

  5. visitor

    July 26, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    I went but couldn’t afford a stand it’s far too expensive
    in fact it’s a bad joke but I’m not laughing – I wanted to be there.
    layout was better and hope the traders finished on a reasonable show
    still not that many people there to warrant such high fees