Concern Over Cost Of True Taste

23 Aug

No scheme like True Taste is likely to gain unanimous support, sour grapes always emerge. But the complaints we’ve had in over the years does concern me, hence my many questions to wag food, plus some through the Freedom Of Information Act, FOI. If you get complaints from losers, then jealously and a heavy dose of sour grapes are always then at the forefront of my mind, but my concerns heighten when winners tell me their experiences. I’d love to quote you specific examples, as I’ve got plenty I’d love to chat about, but as I haven’t got permission to do this, and in fairness haven’t asked for permission either, it wouldn’t be fair and I don’t want you and others trying to guess which companies I’m talking about.

So I’m talking generally and it is more than time the TT was changed, but only if lessons are learnt and whatever replaces it works better and fairer than True Taste, (TT) has. But do excuse me if I throw in my value-for-money here too.

A producer, who has been a regular winner to boot, has been talking to me about TT after reading welshfoodbites and discussed the cost of the TT and the breakdowns. We looked at the TT magazine for 2010-11, knowing that through FOI I’ve been told that final cost for 2010 was £792,832.89. I’ve counted 108 category winners from 87 companies/individuals. Fair enough, but then I broke down and worked out that each award was then valued at about £7,341 each. For those of us outside wag’s glass bubble, that’s a lot of money, it really is. This winner explained to me that they’d received no support after their win and that was another puzzle for me as wag state that the PR & Advertising comes in at £24,448.09 with Event Management/Staffing/ Catering/Venue totalling £648,900.21. The breakdown then shows Freshwater were paid £661,579.95, Quadrant were paid £112,001.59 and Focus PR paid £2,305.20. Well that’s a lot of PR paid for, but too many producers are telling me they got very little out of it. But why’s that? Did wag ever do a survey to find our how effective the PR people they were paying were……? Sorry that was a joke – no more surveys please!!!!

I also noticed that of the 87 winners that year, 41% of them came from SA postcode. Now if that sounds silly to you, I’ll explain my thinking further. I’ve always had a sneaky feeling that wherever the TT Awards night was held, meant that the county hosting the event and the surrounding area got a more than fair proportion of the winners, ok I’m cynical, but you know that by now. So I raised another FOI asking for a full list of all the entrants and showing the counties. Surprisingly I was told that wag food didn’t have this information, i.e. wag food didn’t write at all to the entrants. ……do you believe that? No of course not, and neither did I. So I followed wag’s procedure when you are dissatisfied with a response and predictably got nowhere, yet again, hardly a shock.

Undeterred I took the final step when you are still unhappy, which is an underestimation of quite how was feeling by then, so I went to the Information Commissioners Office. They were very efficient and helpful. I quickly got a phone call from them asking if the postcodes of all the applicants would suffice. Well of course it did. The officer also said if I needed any further help just to let her know.

My final question is why were wag food so obstructive on this matter when any idiot could have worked out, if they wished to be of assistance that is, that post codes do actually cover counties? @Here to help? No not at wag food.

In my experience, if anyone succeeds in making a mountain out of a molehill, it’s wag food. It appears their problem with me is that I ask too many questions that they’d prefer not to answer.  Well sorry wag food, asking questions is part of my job. If you worked with us and actually offered me information in the form of press releases, maybe my questions to you could be reduced, but guess that’s not likely to happen. Meanwhile I suggest you focus on pushing Welsh food and helping our Welsh food producers.


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  1. Producer

    August 23, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    After winning a Gold Award at TT a few years ago, I rushed home expecting some press interest and contact from TT or Wag. How innocent is that?
    After three years of badgering them, I finally received an apron. So that apron is worth over £7000, I must wash it more carefully in future.

  2. trader too

    August 27, 2013 at 10:21 am

    What an expensive horror story
    There was little pr and marketing behind the winners over the years.A few favourites seem to get some support and invited to a few upmarket events but for the rest of us it was an evening out and an award which looks hideous.
    I am pleased you are getting this detail from them but it’s a lot of work for you and the team.
    I heartily wish that wag food would wake up and smell the coffee, they know you are unhappy with their operation, but they know that you are one of the few we producers talk to HONESTLY, but nothing is registering with them to make changes and work with you and us.
    This situation is so sad and the new chap cannot realise what he’s got himself into. Maybe this department is too far gone to change and improve.

  3. Bee

    August 27, 2013 at 1:49 pm

    Many of us have been concerned about the true cost of TT but guess you’ve not got the full story
    It’s only wag that not bothered about these costs – just us.
    It must be great paying massive sums of money when it’s not your money being spent and wasted

  4. trader 2

    August 28, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Your work to get this is sound and worthwhile, but the truth is wag will do as they wish as they always have. The only effort wag will make to find out what producers need is with another useless and pricey survey
    no wonder our food industry is not flourishing

  5. cheeseman

    September 2, 2013 at 9:44 am

    Wag food are experts, experts of wasting money, and not helping producers unless they will go via supermarkets
    great job to get this info because I bet wag didn’t offer it to you. You’re amazing and the best support we have as producers

  6. trader

    September 2, 2013 at 10:28 am

    I agree with comments left. The sadness and anger is wag will never listen to us – takes big bright people to say they have got it wrong. They’d have no choice though if this was their own money they were spending or running their own business. We need a trade union then we wouldn’t be ignored any more

  7. meat man

    September 3, 2013 at 10:42 am

    it’s horror, not concern about the cost. It aint their money though so that’s ok to throw it away.
    Then the government changes its mind. TT was initially the best thing since sliced bread, supposedly building a brand which is total rubbish. We build our own brand as producers. Now it’s not fit for purpose what are they talking about – it never was – and now we know a version of the true cost.
    Can you see Great Taste scrapping their event? Of course not. Their system works, all products entered are graded and starred. How just one product is worthy of a gold, one a silver and one a bronze is totally stupid. How TT couldn’t have copied this system when it was there in front of them as a working, successful event, is unbelievable. Totally stupid
    goodness know what the brains in wag food will come up with next, I can’t bear to think.

  8. producer 2

    September 4, 2013 at 8:02 am

    understatement there Kath concern cannot cover those costs or wastes and I bet this is not the full picture. I think this department has much egg on its face saying that this is not fit for purpose Great Taste is, and always has been. Your product is judged – fairly, honestly – and you are awarded, if it’s good enough, stars according to their bench mark of 1,2,or 3 they are not so silly to pick 3 products and give them gold, silver or bronze and the rest are then dumped
    TT was always a flawed system but those responsible for it get away scott free with their salaries and all the rest of civil service perks, because they tried to re-invent the wheel and failed. Go to Great Taste guys at least supermarkets have heard of GT

  9. Producer

    September 6, 2013 at 8:16 am

    It’s horror not concern
    horror over these astonishing figures with no value for money ethic and horror that wag turn tables on it because they couldn’t do the job right in the first place
    lots of egg on lots of faces but it’s ok they are paid from the public purse by us no-one has to stand by and justify a decision, just take your salary guys nothing for you to worry your little heads about