Smaller Welsh Food & Drink Companies To Benefit From €1.8million Boost To Increase Global Competitiveness

25 Jul

Smaller Welsh Food & Drink Companies To Benefit From €1.8million Boost To Increase Global Competitiveness, now if some of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, BOW, do not take advantage of this €1.8million programme – I shall be very cross………………………………………..

This press release came through this morning from the Welsh Government and is published below in full:

Small and medium food and drink businesses in Wales are set to benefit from a €1.8million programme to help increase their competitiveness in global markets.

Wales will become the latest nation to join the Atlantic Area Export Project, which supports businesses from across the Atlantic Arc to work together to overcome the barriers smaller businesses in the sector face when they try to expand into international markets. Currently over 72% of food and drink exported directly from Wales goes to the EU. This figure is much higher for Welsh red meat, where 90% of exports go to the EU. The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, will make the announcement during the second day of the Royal Welsh Show.

The Cabinet Secretary said:

“We’ve seen Welsh companies become global brands, such is the high quality of food and drink we produce in Wales. We want to help more small companies break into new markets. Today’s announcement will help them to do this – just one breakthrough can be a real game changer, providing a significant boost to our rural economy.”

Exports of food and drink have grown by almost 20% in the past year.

The latest boost to smaller businesses follows the Welsh Government’s announcement in March that £21million would be made available through Project HELIX to help smaller food manufacturers in Wales increase production and reduce waste. Since then the project has supported 162 small and medium sized businesses and safeguarded 120 jobs. The Welsh Government has committed to investing £2.4million over the next two years to expand the food and drink industry’s export market and raise Wales’ global profile. As part of this commitment, the Cabinet Secretary will today announce the successful BlasCymru/TasteWales event, which brought global food and drink industry members to Wales to connect with Welsh food and drink producers earlier this year, will be returning in 2019.

The announcements come as initial findings from research undertaken by the Welsh Government on UK consumers views on the value of Welsh products, found 8/10 shoppers prefer to buy Welsh products and 75% think Welsh food equals excellent quality.

The Cabinet Secretary added:

“We will continue to push the UK Government to prioritise full and unfettered access to the single market and avoid any new barriers which impede Welsh food and drink businesses from operating effectively. There are many opportunities and we are supporting our food and drink sector to be in a position to make the very best of these.”

Now some good news to update you on, I actually received an invite from wag food to attend the Minister’s speech today and also offered tickets to the show ground!! That was a welcomed invite, even though as accredited press for RWAS I was officially allowed to turn up anyway. Well with her busy schedule, the Minister was obviously not going to have a chat with me after her speech and more importantly, neither was she likely to book 12 pages of advertising for our next six issues, so I just couldn’t justify another day at the RWAS to listen to a brief speech. However any help for Welsh food and drink producers, provided there is lots of guidance and back-up too, is welcome news for me.

I’m not sure why Taste Wales will run next in 2109 and not next year, but it does seem to have been effective.

Now my final update is to say wag food also invited Ian and I to the Business Lounge above the Food Hall. Well not having been in this hallowed area for many years – and even then we weren’t officially invited, but press passes can still get you into many places – and the improvement in that area was amazing. You are all well aware how hard Ian and I and the team here work to promote Welsh food and drink and our BOW producers, I’m constantly saying we produce the best food and drink and that display was proof indeed. It was a magnificent showcase. We’d many of our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers, BOW, in there and that was so good to see. Buster of Breconshire Brewing needs a pat on the back too as the number and quality of drinks shown was first class.

With wag food having invited so many buyers, I think in excess of 200, but if only a proportion actually attend, it is still much needed and a way forward. Hopefully serious discussions will ensue and then orders will come through thick and fast. If producers what to go the supermarket route then this wag food help is to be welcomed, it really was an impressive showcase. I asked wag food if the likes of Aldi and Lidl had been invited and they had, so it would be good to see more Welsh products in these two supermarkets in particular as they are so strong across Wales. Deli chains had also been invited, which I was also pleased to hear as I know that’s an area many or our BOW are interested in, but not always finding it easy to crack.

Welsh Country magazine for some reason known only to wag food, has not always found ‘dealing’ or working with them easy and it’s certainly not been trouble-free. This has been more than frustrating. Our agenda, apart from gaining advertising so we can continue publishing, is to support not only our BOW producers but to support Welsh food and drink. Welsh Country is the only pan Wales magazine and the only Welsh title that is promoting Welsh food and drink so to me at least, working together should be an obvious.

This press release was sent around of BOW producers this morning and I hope wag food are pleased I’m helping them with their publicity for free! But truthfully, we promise to keep our BOW producers in the loop – if we are kept in the loop………………

But I’m sure you’ll agree that this is, for once, is a positive post and we are hopeful that life will become easier for our Best Of Welsh and Borders producers, whatever level they are trading at.


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  1. Annie

    July 25, 2017 at 2:46 pm

    Hey Kath
    Some positive news from you about wag food, I’m struggling to believe that, after the years of hassle, rudeness, bullying and blocking you’ve had from this department.
    Like you I’ve no idea why and like you wish wag food grow up and work with you. It can only help everyone in food and drink.
    You didn’t really expect the Minister to book some advertising with you did you?
    You are so funny

  2. BOW

    July 25, 2017 at 2:48 pm

    I am pleased and amazed you given us good news at last.

  3. admin

    July 25, 2017 at 2:51 pm

    If there was more good news I’d let you know but this is a good start………..

  4. admin

    July 25, 2017 at 2:58 pm

    This is good news, it really is.
    I’m getting seriously bored with saying the same things that I find wrong year after year. But in fairness wag food have no need to listen to me have they?
    Working together makes sense and is what we’ve always said, we can do no more.
    I’d have def. gone back on Tuesday to hear the speech in person if she was going to book some advertising with us! Wouldn’t that have been a news story? – Minister takes a personal interest in Welsh Country magazine and supports them with some ads. But I’ll excuse her as I think she ought to focus on Welsh Food and Drink and Brexit as her priorities in her rather large portfolio ….

  5. bow

    July 31, 2017 at 9:15 am

    Pleased wag food are talking to you and Ian, put the flags out. I can only say it’s about 12 years too late.
    Thanks for sending us this news, did read Ian’s email and something we think might work for us, makes a change smaller firms getting some help.
    Great idea just hope it does work and not too much paperwork for us, that’s not our forte.

  6. Jess

    July 31, 2017 at 9:17 am

    good news for small companies about time wag food got the message from acorns, oak tress grow.
    Being entertained by wag food, whatever next Kath?

  7. admin

    July 31, 2017 at 9:26 am

    Who knows whatever next, must just enjoy the progress

  8. Beer BOY

    August 1, 2017 at 11:44 am

    Good news Kath, what a welcomed change.
    Super that small companies are now included by wag food, they’ve woken up at long last, much thanks to you there I believe.
    I’m impressed that you let us know on here and as BOW, but wonder how other producers get this news. If they were with you, they’d know, and of course that’s what you want, but you are still doing wag foods work for them.

  9. Womble

    August 1, 2017 at 11:45 am

    thanks for this we might look at it.

  10. admin

    August 1, 2017 at 11:56 am

    We’ve promised to help our producers, so this is part of it.
    other companies that aren’t with us are not our problem but wag food’s ……………………………

  11. Denny

    August 2, 2017 at 9:36 am

    Wag offering an olive branch, whatever next?
    Can we hope for some communication from them now?
    Invited into the Business Lounge and to the Minister’s speech, what’s happening?
    If wag food ‘use’ you and Ian, like support you with advertising, it would help them to communicate, it would help us and your readers as well. I cannot understand a food dept not only ignoring, but bullying you. Is it too difficult for them to work out you are trying to help us all?
    Them pulling their advertising with you was the most stupid, petty and childish thing to do. They’ve allowed you to create this site and all their errors and how they waste money is on show for all to see. It was the most stupid thing ever.

  12. admin

    August 2, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Hopefully we can try working together.
    As an official member of the press I’m allowed into the Business Lounge – we’ve just not bothered for years.
    Minister’s speech was on Tuesday and as she was highly unlikely to book two pages of advertising each issue with us – it was worth another trip and day back to RWAS.
    But it was good to be officially invited and not ignored or blanked………………………

  13. Jed

    August 2, 2017 at 1:31 pm

    I’m not with you as advertiser with bow people, but a friend is and he told me about this funding. I’m going to look at this see if I qualify, but without my friend I’d not have known it was happening.
    If wag are telling all producers apart from your lot they’ve missed me out.

  14. admin

    August 2, 2017 at 1:37 pm

    Well what a good job your friend is with us as an advertiser – as you should be too!!!!!
    You could always contact wag food directly and ask them, or go on their website and hunt for this news.
    It’s not my job to promote this scheme for wag food but have promised our advertisers that Welsh Country is much more than an advert……………………………….

  15. BOW

    August 16, 2017 at 11:28 am

    let’s hope this works

  16. bow

    August 17, 2017 at 9:48 am

    if this is not bound up with paperwork and red tape it could be good news for smaller companies like me
    thanks for emailing this Kath

  17. admin

    August 17, 2017 at 9:50 am

    there is bound to be paperwork for giving grants out but if this is a problem there is help out there
    otherwise talk to Ian or me.