Another Wag Food Invite Lost In The Post?

17 Jul

Well not strictly lost in the post as this one was emailed, so lost in the ether or the big black hole might be more accurate! Today, one of our most supportive Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, (BOW) emailed an invitation that had been sent to their company yesterday, Wednesday, 16th.

Here’s the gist of it – The Food & Drink Wales Reception.

The detail was that the Deputy Minister for Agriculture & Fisheries, Rebecca Evans AM will be delighted to welcome you to a reception to celebrate the Welsh Food & Drink Industry. Please come and enjoy the Welsh cuisine and take the opportunity to meet the key people from the Welsh Food & Drink industry. 

Well I’m grateful for our BOW person taking the trouble to keep me in the food loop, after guessing that I just might not have been told about this reception, let alone invited. But why would wag food invite any media, like me, that’s passionate about Welsh food to this reception? Not sure why wag food, who have told me in writing that I have a role as a direct stakeholder on food issues, then not invite me, but as I can’t possibly qualify as a key person from the Welsh Food & Drink industry, it could make sense, well to wag food anyway!

I also don’t think there’s an excuse for the lateness of this invite. I appreciate Wales has just ‘lost’ our Minister of Natural Resources, but I would have expected this event to have been planned weeks ago and the invites sent out then too. Of course wag food haven’t assumed that  every food producer in Wales will be at the RWAS on Monday and I doubt very much if they’ve all got an invite either. But with such late notice wag food are really only targeting those that have managed to get stands at the RWAS. As for ‘the key people from Welsh Food & Drink industry’, are we all aware as to who they are?


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  1. food producer

    July 18, 2014 at 11:52 am

    We’ve spoken many times since you first started Welsh Country and we’ve discussed wag food often. I said you disagreeing with wag food, telling them where they were going wrong would not go down well. I’ve gave you examples of producers who had tackled wag and suffered for it. You said that was not acceptable behaviour for a government department and of course you are right but how can you change it? You have tried harder than anyone in our food industry and this is how you are treated, not even invited to a wag food/Quango reception and for some weird reason you weren’t invited to Cardiff either.
    I’ve no idea how wag food gets around to change, many comments talk about their arrogance and I have to agree. But I’m sorry you are taking the flack from them and I’m not rude enough to say I did warn you!
    But this does annoy and sadden me, time for change, but how when they aren’t or can’t listen. .
    I’m afraid.

  2. trader

    July 18, 2014 at 3:30 pm

    If you stop touching wag’s many raw nerves, they’ll ignore you like they do to us micro producers and they can then pretend you don’t exist.

  3. Jo

    July 24, 2014 at 3:20 pm

    I assume you’ve had no feedback on what I’d heard was a waste of time?
    I thought you’d put something up about Rwas food hall but nothing as yet.

  4. Parrot

    July 25, 2014 at 10:49 am

    Sorry not posting about RWAS. Doing a post takes time and effort as it must be balanced, otherwise there’s no point in posting. That’s how I’ve always covered festivals, but the basic point is I’m not paid to run this site and over the years I believe that my festival posts have been used by those being paid by wag food to evaluate food festivals – so since Gorseinnon this year I’ve stopped doing them.

    I did visit RWAS on Monday. I was told officially the food hall opened at 8.00 and it didn’t open until 8.30 and there were still stands not set up, which I think is disgraceful.
    The positives were: the food hall was laid out better, more space for people to move about, think this was down to RWAS taking over from Fernleigh Designs and it was a big improvement. Wag staff for once this year actually had badges on or corporate clothing. I just didn’t realise how many staff wag had, but there we are, at least on Monday I could identify them.
    But after that I had grumbles. There were A1 posters on the walls promoting the Food Action Plan. The bonus there for me was they decorated the hideous breeze block walls. I thought the poster font was way too small to encourage anyone to read one, too much writing and perhaps bullet points would have been more effective. But in wag’s eyes, it was another box ticked to promote the action plan. It would have been interesting to ask people coming out of the food hall what they thought about the Action Plan wouldn’t it?
    I understood this food hall was purpose built, but no idea why there was no air conditioning, or why even the basic wasn’t used on Monday and the side doors left open!! I despair at times. It was stifling in there, not great for wandering and shopping let alone standing there as traders. Goodness knows how the next three days went on as the warm weather stayed.
    There had been much talk beforehand of a tent being added to the back of the food hall but no-one had sent me a floor plan so was interested to see what had been done. Well to say not much is not fair, but what had been done was wrong and it didn’t work and before anyone’s says I’m having a go at wag food, I suggest you ask the six companies that were basically sold a pup to go into that area – because I certainly did, and their views count as they were the ones losing money, yes losing money. These six stands paid less than the food hall of course they did, but for me, you’d have to pay ME to go in there. It was an unmitigated disaster. My take on it is that the Welsh public, the regular visitors certainly know they have never been able to use the back food hall doors and a blackboard on the floor directing people to more stalls, was a slight effort, but not enough. The tent housed a cookery demo and basically six food stands, but you couldn’t even see the six stands. The only bonus for me was that there were tables and chairs, so I visited three times on Monday to watch and ensure my view was right. But then, as the six stands were doing no trade at all, I could certainly chat to them! In fact we could have run a disco in that area. One trader said they’d maybe not stay the four days as they’d other events to do, but the bosses had come to the RWAS as they thought this the best money-maker. How wrong were they? It’s not pleasant listening to disgruntled traders on mass, but they’d all estimated how much they’d take at the RWAS and on Monday’s show had barely covered their diesel. I’ve no idea how wag and RWAS will deal with this big problem. I don’t know who will take responsibility for it, if anyone one ever does, but someone should and then grovel to those guys for mis-selling them, which is what it appears to me. This might well be a case of B.S.E. Blame Someone Else. I’ve since heard that one company didn’t come back on Tuesday but my heart breaks for the effort that company have put into RWAS week and their disappointment, financially and morally. Getting a refund isn’t enough in my book, but guess that is all that will happen.
    I’m not sure if it would have improved if the stands and the cookery demo had been reversed so punters could have caught a glimpse of more food stands. I also got complaints about the demo being run mainly in Welsh, how this is suddenly my problem I don’t know, but I directed this person to the wag stand in the food hall, but bet they didn’t bother complaining there – just moan at Kath.
    I wonder how wag would have got on if they’d been stuck in the tent instead of the food hall? But then as they are paid to be there anyway it wouldn’t have mattered at all would it?
    I’ve no idea how many years it will take to get the food hall to work efficiently and effectively but we are still not there yet.
    However another bit of good news for me and others, was that the Cornish ice-cream van had been moved from outside the food hall and we’d at long, long last got a Welsh firm there. Goodness knows how many years I’ve been moaning about that, but a new tender means a Welsh ice-cream company were in pride of place.
    However the Cornish ice-cream vans were still in attendance and had in my view sneakily covered the back of their vans showing they were from Cornwall with a Welsh flag stuck on with gaffa tape. Sure that fooled some of the Welsh public but it did not impress me.

  5. T

    July 25, 2014 at 12:05 pm

    I’m pleased I didn’t gamble and take one of these 6 stands I’d have been more than gutted with no people to sell to. It sounds amateurish and that should not be the case. Those poor guys did not need that let down by wag and rwas. Bet they wish they hadn’t paid up front.

  6. producer

    July 31, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    You missed nothing at all and it wouldn’t have been worth you time to be there.
    But it doesn’t explain wag’s rudeness and arrogance.
    I wish I could understand their attitude. Of course they don’t wish you to criticise them, but as grown-ups we should always listen and learn. You always back up what you say and you are sure more in touch with food producers than they’ll ever be.
    The new wag food regime is not the breath of fresh air you thought might be coming last year. It’s just the same for me or even worse and I never thought that could be possible. Sorry Kath you must be so disappointed.