What Progress Nearly Four Years On?

04 Apr

In July 2008 Ian and I were asked to attend a meeting in Aberystwyth with a couple of Wag personnel and a representative from the Tourism Partnership Mid Wales, to give them some help about Welsh food. Our time was of course given on a voluntary

Not sure if this will interest, annoy or irritate you further. So when you have time, go through them and let me know what
progress we’ve made. It’s disappointing to say the least, that in my view not a great deal in nearly four years on. I couldn’t even guesstimate the amount of money Wag (Food) has had pumped in from Europe or as where it has gone and supposedly
achieved either.

1. Sourcing – lack of knowledge within the hospitality sector of where to source certain produce.

2. No joined up thinking.

3. Local Food Talks programme has ticked the box but there is more work to be done.

4. Some producers are not very professional in their set up. They  attend ‘Farmers Markets’ etc. but are ‘lifestyle producers’       and do not have any follow on information for the ‘consumer’, i.e. business cards, brochures, websites.

5. Food Festivals – tighter control is needed on the producers that are present – some are not from Wales.

6. WAG staff should be present at food festivals.

7. Those producers that receive training through any public sector programme should be regularly reviewed.

8. Growing – start up food sector companies struggle with the ‘red tape’ with little public sector support.

9.  No joined up thinking between WAG and councils with regards to promotion of food events. There were no signs for Pwllheli, food festival this year as the local council were not supportive of them being erected.

  1. Press releases – publicity for food events can be done through a wide variety of media sources including
    Welsh Country magazine. But we receive very few press releases from food festivals.

11. Builth event – Showcase – to cold and impersonal, not enough networking by the public sector bodies attending.

12. Smaller informal networking opportunities for the hospitality sector – hotels and similar establishments need to work together on sourcing and delivery issues.

13. Grant schemes – tighter controls are needed on where those receiving grants spend the money – more emphasis and tighter controls need to be in place to ensure that they source as much as possible form within Wales.

  1. WAG – sourcing of goods and services should be more within Wales.

15. More use needs to be made of ‘good speakers’ to take forward the message on local food sourcing.

16. More opportunities for networking and sharing of good practice amongst food producers – isolation a large issue for small producers.

17. Ceredigion Chamber of Commerce poor turnout at meetings – there is a need for ‘business’ clubs for food / tourism businesses to facilitate and support networking opportunities.

18. Businesses are de-motivated – apathy within the industry.

19. Messages and feedback on the ‘food issue’ not getting through to the minister.

  1. Pubs – cafes’ a possible grading scheme could work, however advice for businesses on branding and promotion would help.

21. Good customer service is key to the success of the industry.

22. Staff who have good product and area knowledge are key to the success of any establishment.

23. Hospitality businesses should be asked ‘what they expect when on holiday’ to highlight the perceived gaps in the sector within Wales.

24. Knowing your market is key to the success of any business.

25. Visit Wales grading system is not fair – logic does not seem to apply.

26. Producers could market their produce and cafés and restaurants could promote their goods by ‘taste and sell’ events.

27. For good all round feedback, use ‘secret shoppers’ at different times of the day.

28. Food festivals and events do not provide seating for visitors on an informal basis, i.e. there is nowhere to sit and eat the food being sold.

29. WAG – PR needs to be wider – True Taste is not a recognised brand, better / clearer marketing is needed.

30. Getting producers to work closer with the hospitality sector and ensuring that the producers recognise how key these markets are to them even if they are True Taste winners.

31. No joined up approach from within WAG – food and tourism need to work closer.






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  1. Jay

    April 5, 2012 at 8:14 am

    If you’re working in food you know little has improved, but reading this makes it hit home
    How can we get this picture altered?
    Kath stop depressing me further please!

  2. Busy Bee

    April 19, 2012 at 3:05 pm

    I didn’t enjoy reading this
    just where are we going with food?
    how much european money is wag going to get and waste before they learn some large lessons?
    FBA shambles was such an expense and what benefit now?
    Next to nothing. The markets I attend are not doing well, farm shops well they are few and far between and have already been well financed, and do we count pembs produce as a box scheme? Maybe not, but another vast waste of money.It’s like pouring cash into a large black hole.
    It pains me to have to give wag credit for getting this cash and ticking europes many boxes, that’s one bit they can do, but europe should then ask us if a good job has been done before paying out.
    every single producer I have spoken to could have made much better use of FBAs £800k. £800k is a massive amount of money and if we take out the very large salaries that were given to FBA staff, there’s been precious little benefit to us at the sharp end.