Some Food For Thought From RWAS

24 Jul

Welsh Black Cattle

Had a brief whiz through the RWAS catalogue and noted in the cattle classes that only 33 Welsh Black cattle were entered as opposed to 50 Herefords and a massive 137 Limousin. I find that rather disappointing, especially when we have a Welsh Black Cattle Society and so many restaurants say they have Welsh black meat on their menus.

Press Room

McDonald’s no longer sponsoring the RWAS Press Room.

Taste Of Anglesey

LeadCounty at this year’s Royal Welsh was Anglesey and I did expect when I heard about a taste of Anglesey stand that it might have a stand in the Food Hall – but it wasn’t there and I ended up running out of time and not finding their stand at all.

Lack Of Tables & Chairs

I will highlight again the fact that our Food Hall was planned without any thought of being able to attach a tent on the back or side to accommodate some seating for visitors. I couldn’t count the number of times I’ve reprimanded food festivals that fall down in this area but I would have thought that RWAS would have had the foresight to pan sufficient space to be able to do this. If events think of their audience then sitting down, eating and drinking in comfort with your family and friends is high on the list. More so if you have young children, elderly parents, disabled people in your party of someone who’s temporarily on crutches. Food is vital to Wales and to heighten our visitor’s experience, somewhere to sit and eat in comfort is a basic. I can remember about 7 – 8 years ago, so well before the new Food Hall was being thought about, having a meeting at RWAS, Ian and I took along photographs from Burghley Horse Trials, showing their Food Area with all the tables and chairs complete with umbrellas, and a mini tent housing a piano and singers who kept the audience entertained and created and fabulous buzzy atmosphere. People stayed there for ages nipping in and out of the Food area for top-ups. Well our efforts were in vain on that one as we were swiftly told by the RWAS that they hadn’t enough space to do that!!!!

I wish organisers at all levels had the ability to view their event from a punters view, imagine yourself pushing a baby buggy or a wheel chair about, struggling on crutches, wouldn’t you want a rest at some stage? If you are charging producers for stand space to sell food & drink, can’t you see an obvious link there that needs utilising? I agree that some people are contented to sit on the grass in the sunny weather but that can’t work in the wind, rain and cold can it?

Alun Davies Minister for Natural Resources & Food

I heard two brief speeches from the man at the top of food and I’d like to share a few bits what I should like to share with you is he says he’s an optimist. He’s not issuing dictats; he wants conversation and debate with those involved in Welsh food. Well he’s saying the right things but I challenge you to take him up on it. Email him with your views let him know what you think. What you are happy with and what you want changing and improving, after all this is your industry and your livelihoods at stake. If for any reason you are not happy emailing him direct, then I’m happy to do that for any of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers. All I ask is that you just do something. Because in all fairness to Mr Minister, how can he possibly know if you are happy or unhappy with Welsh food if you cannot be bothered to accept his invitation to converse with him? This is your chance, your opportunity to air your views and I don’t feel you have an excuse not to.

Please don’t think for an instant that I’m now doing PR for Mr Minister and wag food, I’m not. My wish is to try and help our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, that’s all. When you guys are happy, maybe I’ll be happy too……………………………….who knows?



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  1. trader

    July 24, 2013 at 1:54 pm

    IF the minister is going to listen to us and take our feelings on side, brilliant, but he’ll have to prove that. We’re so unhappy with his team to date
    We need him to listen, action and not focus all his time on large companies and supermarkets
    Micro producers are important to our trade too.

  2. BBB

    July 31, 2013 at 2:21 pm

    Until the RWAS work out what they actually want the Food Hall to be, they will continue to struggle to make it work sucessfully for both producers and consumers.

    Given the current policy that means that samples (all strictly defined), rather than food and drink for eating there and then, are all that can be offered in the Hall, I can understand their reluctance to provide areas and seating for people to sit and eat.

    However, until they can convince the paying public of this plan, neither producers (who cannot sell their produce in a ready to consume format) nor customers (who view the Food Hall as a source of Welsh Food and Drink) are going to be satified, seating or not…

    Given the success of the Farmers Markets in Wales concept located by B gate, where there was food and drink for immediate consumption, and places to sit and enjoy, perhaps the policy in the Food Hall needs looking at?

    Mind you, given there are continuing numbers of producers who seem to want the cachet of being in there, and are prepared to pay for it, there’s no incentive for them to change…

    On the subject of the Cornish Ice Cream Vans – I mean, really? Is there not a company in Wales that can provide this service? Can the Minister not put pressure on the RWAS to tear up whatever contract they have in place with Kelly’s and insist on Welsh Ice Cream at the Royal Welsh Show?

  3. admin

    July 31, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    How I wish wag food knew what they wanted in the Food Hall but you would have through they’d produced a ‘sensible plan before they built a new Food Hall.
    But seemingly not.
    As the producers struggle to get their heads around samples – and then all producers appear not to stick to it, there’s no hope that visitors can understand what our Food Hall is all about. I do keep on about seating but when you watch parents struggling with kids or aged infirm relatives some seating, especially when there was space still makes sense to me.
    The Farmers’ Market is a brilliant idea and my only worries are if the weather is wet and then the strict restrictions for producers to get in there. I appreciate we can’t help all types of professional food producers, but wag food don’t seem aware of this ongoing problem, or maybe they prefer to play ostrich and ignore it.
    I agree that some companies have more money than sense and must be seen in the Food Hall but often you have to ask how they got accepted in the Food Hall. Giving out potatoes for four days and when we asked for details about the PR & Marketing person she doesn’t even live in this Wales or in the UK!

    I ranted about Cornish ice-cream last year and to no avail, seems there is only me and few Welsh ice-cream producers that can see the irony there. But then I had to trawl down the whole length of the Food Hall before I found Cowpots and they had such a good stand spot last year by the entrance, so they could pick up some passing trade.

    I’m angry that Alun Davies or Carwyn Jones seem to think this issue is not worth bothering about, although both say they support Welsh food it sometimes feels like lip-service to me.

    Appreciate your comments it’s just frustrating when the powers-that-be cannot seem to hear.
    If only we could make more changes.