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Posts Tagged ‘Welsh Country magazine’

Welsh Food & Drink Market In Cardigan

12 Sep

Welsh Food & Drink Market In Cardigan  

Welsh food and drink will feature in a weekly market in Cardigan thanks to Mum of two and founder of Cardigan Bay Brownies, Nerys Evans. She is in the process of establishing Blas, a new food and drink market and a much-needed brand for Cardigan. Cardigan Bay Brownies are a Best Of Welsh & Borders advertiser with Welsh Country magazine and the magazine, with their strong local food and drink ethos are fully supporting this project – hoping this pilot scheme will be the first of many across Wales.

 

The new venture in conjunction with Menter Aberteifi will be held in the Guildhall Courtyard every Saturday morning and will officially open in the next few weeks. Nerys is looking for local food and drink producers and businesses who would be interested in attending the Guildhall Courtyard in Cardigan every Saturday morning to sell their produce.

Nerys is aware that many towns and villages have thriving food markets and she wants that to happen in Cardigan too. She’s hopeful that the Courtyard within the Guildhall and indoor market complex can work as a welcoming social hub for local people as well as visitors and she is convinced that the market can function how it used to some 30 years ago and wants people to buy local.

Nerys can remember as a child that the upper market in Cardigan was really busy and that’s what she wishes to replicate. She’s pleased that everyone involved with the Guildhall is most supportive of Blas. There are tables and chairs in the Courtyard where people will be able to meet and socialise after shopping. With around 12 to 14 stalls there will be plenty of choice for people to come along and buy local.

Blas will open in the Guildhall courtyard from 8.30am until 12.30. Cost is £15 per stall. Nerys has already been in discussions with Ceredigion Country Council as regards parking for loading and unloading to make things easier for producers and talks are on- going. With the enthusiasm of Nerys and Menter Aberteifi there is no reason Blas cannot be a thriving hub for Cardigan.

 

 

 

 
 

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.

 
 

Ceridwen Centre & Crwst – Finalists In The CLA Rural Business Awards

19 Jul

Ceridwen Centre & Crwst are two of only three Welsh finalists in the Country Landowners Association, CLA Rural Business Awards together with ET Landnet.

I had to share this with you, I actually think in a way it comes under the blow-your-own-trumpet-banner, but so what? Of the three of the Welsh businesses named as finalists, in the Rural Business Awards, Ceridwen Centre and Crwst are advertisers with Welsh Country magazine. But here’s a further gloat, we sent the press release from CLA about the Rural Business Awards to our advertisers and that prompted these two superb businesses to apply, so please excuse my crowing, but just so pleased for them. I passed the press release through to wag, but not sure if wag did anything with it or not, but chuffed we did!

Here’s the CLA press release about the three Welsh winners:

A quirky wedding venue, a micro bakery and a rights of way consultancy from Wales are all in with a chance of being named three of Britain’s best countryside-based firms after making the final stages of the Rural Business Awards 2017. The Ceridwen Centre in the Teifi Valley, ET Landnet of Llanelli and Crwst of Pembrokeshire have been named one of five nationwide finalists in separate categories of the awards. Ceridwen is a finalist for Best Rural Tourism Business; ET Landnet has been named for Best Rural Professional Services Business and Crwst is up for Rural Entrepreneur of the Year. The awards, run in partnership with the CLA and Amazon, are the only UK-wide programme dedicated to showcasing the success of rural businesses. Now in their third year and with nearly three times as many entries as in 2016, they are split into 13 sections with one category winner also crowned overall Champion of Champions on the night.

“Congratulations to the Ceridwen Centre, Crwst and ET Landnet for being shortlisted for the awards this year,” said Doug Gurr, UK Country Manager, Amazon. “It was great to see a record number of fascinating and inspirational entries this year, all of which are a true testament to the creativity and talent of rural businesses. I wish the Ceridwen Centre, Crwst, ET Landnet and all the shortlisted companies the very best of luck for the awards night.”

Ceridwen Centre Ltd is an eco-minded holiday, course, retreat, event and wedding venue on a 40-acre organic farm in the Teifi Valley in West Wales. With the potential to accommodate more than 60 people in glamping accommodation including yurts, a Romany caravan, a double decker bus, eco pod, upcycled static caravans as well as converted traditional stone buildings, Ceridwen is licensed for wedding ceremonies in The Old Dairy and Green Oak Pagoda and holds receptions in a giant tipi, attracting more than 2000 people a year to Wales. The farm is fully organic and still has 12 acres of oats, wildflower hay meadows and a small organic market garden growing veg for visitors and courses. Holders of the Gold Award for Best Sustainable Tourism Business in the Carmarthenshire Tourism awards for the last four years, Ceridwen’s owners greatly about the rural environment with energy demands served by biomass, solar thermal and solar PV. Employing up to 20 local staff, judges thought Ceridwen was an interesting, unique idea with “brilliant green credentials”.

Co-owner Simone Broome said, “We’re a family business based on a very small organic farm here in darkest north Carmarthenshire. Traditionally this is a farming area with very little employment outside farming and with all the difficulties associated with farming in the 21st century. We entered the awards because we’re wholly committed to being and working where we are and we want to grow a sustainable business for future generations of our family and for the local community. We’re trying to do this with the lightest possible footprint we can. Being recognised for an award like this which is rooted in rural values would mean a great deal to us, and would both boost our profile and would be a reward and a stimulus to our fabulous, enthusiastic team. And, of course, as my rather irreverent spouse has already said, it would be a very effective investment of £50 for our little business!”

ET Landnet Ltd is a leading consultancy specialising in Rights of Way, advising and representing landowners throughout England and Wales. Based in Llanelli, it offers legal and technical expertise, dealing with everything from footpath and bridleway diversions to modification orders and challenging path claims as well as public inquiries, representation cases and advice on gates, stiles, surfaces and structures. ET Landnet understands that managing public access to land is a significant issue for landowners and is there to help. Judges thought ET Landnet was a highly specialised business giving a level of expertise for its rural clients.

Michael Wood, director of ET Landnet, said: “Whilst there seem to be many awards platforms at which business may gather, the focus on those specifically working in the rural economy seemed to be absent until the creation of the Rural Business Awards.  We have watched the development of the awards and have previously thought of entering but as a small consultancy, we worried whether we were too small and too niche.  Well this year, rather than thinking, we are doing and we hope to be proved wrong! To win the award for best Rural Professional Services would be fantastic. It would be the recognition that what we do is to a very high standard and has real value to our clients and makes a positive impact on their lives in the rural community. It would highlight the benefits to landowners of engaging small specialist consultancies to handle intricate issues to achieve positive, cost effective results.”

Crwst is a micro-bakery based in Pembrokeshire at a home kitchen. Co-owners Catrin and Osian Jones produce handmade real bread and seasonal bakes all from home, with the aim of bringing London’s modern and trendy bakes to rural West Wales. Crwst supplies up to 10 local businesses in the area and uses local produce in the bakes, for example: Pembrokeshire Sea Salt. The couple grow vegetables used in bakes and uses online tools such as social media to promote the business. The whole concept of Crwst impressed judges, who felt Catrin and Osian showed vision and ambition for their relatively young business.

The RBAs are the brainchild of Leicestershire businesswomen Anna Price and Jemma Clifford, who wanted to showcase the wealth of entrepreneurial talent in rural areas of Britain – a sector of the economy they felt was all-too-often overlooked in favour of large city-based firms.

The awards are organised by rural businesses for rural businesses and judged by people who understand the rural sector, which is growing rapidly and employs in excess of 3.4 million people in more than 600,000 businesses across the UK.

Awards co-founder Anna Price said: “The Rural Business Awards gives rural enterprises of all sizes the opportunity to showcase their success and the contribution they are making to our thriving rural economy – just the firms that have entered in 2017 have combined turnovers well in excess of £70m.

“Tourism is such a vital part of the British rural economy, with businesses the length of Isles helping the whole country flourish by encouraging visitors to enjoy our glorious, green, diverse rural scenery. This was the most popular category of our awards this year and we really have seen some stunning entries, from a range of business which demonstrated not only strong financials but a deep commitment to things that really matter: accessibility and the environment. When it comes to entrepreneurship, this may be traditionally associated with the bright lights of our big cities, but the truth is that business acumen is alive and well in the Great British countryside too.

Helen Woolley, director general of the CLA, said: “Each of these outstanding rural businesses deserves a place in the final. They have shown great expertise in their field and have a real understanding of how their business fits into the rural economy. I wish each and every one good luck at the awards ceremony in October.”

I can only add from the Welsh Country team, the very best of luck for the awards ceremony in October. Even getting to the final is an achievement, but we’ll keep you updated for sure.

 
 

Ceredigion Car Parking Charges Annoying Visitors

07 Jun

Ceredigion car parking continues to be a problem.  Follows is an email I received, which I’ve shown in full as I’ve permission to do so and also the Grumpy Old Geezer item the lady is referring to.

Good morning,

I am writing with reference to the ‘Grumpy Old Geezer’ article – page 52 of your January / February magazine.

We live in Shetland and had a month touring the Lake District, Wales and down to southern England during May.  I picked up a copy of your very interesting and attractive Welsh Country magazine at a cheese farm in south Wales.  As it was out of date, we did not have to pay for it – but I was attracted by the cover.

We were horrified to find when we went to Aberystwyth harbour that cars could park for 2 hours for £2.20, whereas motor caravans – according to the little pictures on the price display board – had to pay £5.80 for a whole day with no short concessions.

We did not wish to spend the whole day there, just a couple of hours for a coffee, find the local butcher, greengrocer and baker and then be on our way.  We have no problems with paying £2.00 to £2.50 for a couple of hours parking, but £5.80 for a couple of hours parking is far too expensive.  So we asked the Satnav to find us the nearest supermarket where we could park for nothing, have a coffee and do our shopping. To our great surprise, Cardigan had the same tariffs, so again we went to a supermarket. 

It would have been good to have bought Welsh food, but at such an exorbitant cost to park, we were not prepared to pay. Having found your magazine after those incidents, we totally agree with the writer.  Sadly after those experiences, we automatically headed for supermarkets.

We did have a very enjoyable time in Wales visiting friends, but would be extremely wary about returning with a motorhome.

I would appreciate knowing this email has arrived with you and would very much appreciate your comments on the points I have made.

Thanking you,

Grumpy Old Geezer Jan Feb Issue  

Why are car parks still being used as council cash cows?

In June 2015, vandals sabotaged the council car park machines in Cardigan which meant that for a couple of weeks, trade boomed with some businesses reporting turnover increases of up to 50%. Who could imagine that vandalism would literally breathe new life into Cardigan, even for the briefest time? Like many towns across Wales, Cardigan has a predominance of small shops, some lovely coffee shops and eating places, a restored castle, plus the Guildhall. But this cash-strapped council, within two weeks had ‘found’ some spare machines and Cardigan was back to normal, basically businesses struggling because of car-park charges. These car parks showed a profit of £278k and still the Council increased these charges – you really couldn’t make this up as this council continues to use car parks as cash cows. I understood car park charges were there to maintain the car parks, but the Plaid run, Ceredigion Council appear are against free parking.  

Once the ‘new’ machines were installed, My Beloved Editor, Councillors Elizabeth Evans and Mark Cole and MP Mark Williams, then attended a traders’ organised meeting, a meeting so popular there was standing room only. A couple of Council staff attended but they didn’t grasp the traders’ wish for free parking or simply didn’t care. The traders followed this meeting with direct discussions requesting free parking – but the ‘Council Said NO’. So the traders organised an evening candlelight march through Cardigan, again attended by my Beloved Editor who didn’t see a single councillor or Assembly Member there. Further meetings followed, but the ‘Council Still Said NO’. A compromise was put forward for just two hours free parking, but the Plaid Cymru run Ceredigion County Council ‘Still Said NO’.          

However in the Senedd, last October the Plaid Cymru Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Local Government said that there should be free parking in Welsh towns in order to keep our town centres bustling. They requested the Welsh Government to set up a new fund to enable local authorities and community groups to offer free car parking in towns throughout Wales to support local shops and businesses. Plaid Cymru recognise the importance of a vibrant and diverse high street in supporting local business owners and the local economy, realising that the lack of free parking is often a big turn off for shoppers. They understand that out-of-town developments with free parking make it impossible for the high street to compete.

The not so funny joke is what Plaid say in Cardiff and what Plaid does in Ceredigion are poles apart. Think the polite phrase is – not on the same page.

I’ve gone back to the lady and explained what an uphill battle Welsh Country magazine has had trying to get Ceredigion County Council to re-think car park charges, but to no avail. A Freedom of Information questions gave e the details that Ceredigion Car Park charges in 2015/16 was £815,988 and I was also told a surplus of £172,669 was achieved. Well now isn’t that great news folks a surplus of nearly £180k but no explanation of where that money was spent. It was my understanding that car parks were not meant to be used as cash cows for the council but income was ploughed back into car parks. It was ironic then to learn that Plaid Cymru Assembly Members in Cardiff say that car parks should be free, but seemingly no-one is telling the Plaid Cymru controlled Ceredigion Council. I wonder why that is? So more hot air from Cardiff and a council in Ceredigion that seem to do as they wish to raise cash – who have thought they were both the same party?

However my main reason though for posting this item is the fact that this lady wanted to purchase local food and drink but annoyed by unrealistic car-parking charges decides to go to a supermarket where she can park for free for a couple of hours and shop there. The fact she’d have found very few Welsh food and drink products in any supermarket is, to say the least very annoying.

Please don’t ask me what I’m going to do next about this; it’s easier to admit defeat and just give up. I, along with our Welsh food and drink producers want visitors to be able to purchase, eat and enjoy local food, isn’t that one of the excitements of visiting new places? However it seems this is too difficult to achieve. If only wag food and Visit Wales could work together they might even get on our food and drink producers Christmas card list!

 

 
 

No Press Passes for Haverfoodfest

08 May

Over the last two years we have attended the Haverfoodfest. We’ve simply rocked up, presented our business cards, explained who we were and we’d no hassle getting in. We always saw a few of our Best Of Welsh & Border producers and last year had a chat with visiting politicians including MP Steve Crabb.

For some reason this year though, after checking out their website, I used their email link which was directed to ‘admin’ and asked for 2 press tickets and a car pass. On 4th May I got notice of my email being re-directed to Lise – saying ‘think this is for you’. I’ve no idea who Lise is, or her role, but from my side it does help if there is a press contact on festival websites. Now with hindsight it seems press is not welcomed at Haverfoodfest, or maybe that’s perhaps Lise doesn’t want Welsh Country magazine to attend. I didn’t get a response, despite chasing again on 5th.

I’d actually only emailed to do my job properly, but as no hassle last year, I didn’t expect it this year, but how wrong I was. After a 90 minutes drive we got to Haverfordwest on the Saturday morning about 11.00. The event opened at 10.00 and when we drove in there were visitors going in in the bright, sunny weather. There were oodles of people milling around, all wearing the obligatory yellow vests. Ian talked to the guys on the gate and they decided they couldn’t let us in, so we were told to wait and shortly a lady called Carol came across. She said she’d replied to my email and was surprised I’d not get it, deciding it must ‘have got lost’. Well of course it must have. I explained that I was hardly going to undertake a 3 hour round trip to visit if I’d been told by email I couldn’t have press tickets. Her comment was puzzling  to me as she’d sent my initial email onto Lise and surely that meant Lise should have replied to me, doesn’t it? I thought that was strange and in my view very unprofessional, unhelpful and unwelcoming. Carol then said she’d been told ‘they’ weren’t doing anything with magazines. Again another puzzle. Not at all clear as to what that meant as Ian had been told ‘they’ weren’t going to advertise with Welsh Country magazine, but were going with a Pembrokeshire ‘magazine’ title. That’s fair enough, ‘they’ didn’t advertise with us in the previous year, so we were not going to miss something we never had!

Carol told us it we wished to attend of course we could and as it was only £3.00 each to enter, which she thought was reasonable. I didn’t think press having to pay was reasonable, so we turned around and left. We attend a huge number of events every year to work and the cost would be well in excess of £1000.00 just in entrance fees each year.  Discounting Abergavenny, this is the first time in thirteen years that Welsh Country magazine has not been allowed press tickets for an event. I’m still unsure why press, or more specifically Welsh Country magazine, was not welcomed, but there we are.

I can only hope that the food & drink producers that attended did well and the purchases I’d have made weren’t missed. Never mind, I can go to St Dogmaels’ produce market tomorrow and play local food catch-up, knowing that the selection of producers there will be a good as ever and we’ll be welcomed too!

I always look for a positive in each post, it’s not always easy, when I’m discussing Welsh food and drink, but this time it is for me as I shall not have to attend this event again.

 
 

Food Festival Conference / Funding Update

16 Mar

Please don’t chase me for an update on wag’s food festival conference / get together which was to be held yesterday. I’ve been told, by someone was attending that is was postponed and will be held at a future date. I do apologise for not posting earlier but swamped with work at the moment and couldn’t rate this as a priority – sorry.

For those of you that are also a little behind, follows is my post that was posted on 1st March:

I’m still getting calls and emails asking about this year’s and I so wish people would either read welshfoodbites or ring the Welsh Government Food Department themselves. So at the risk of sounding very much like a stuck record – I do NOT know anything about wag food’s plans on food festival funding for this year and as I keep saying, if I did I’d tell our Best Of Welsh & Borders food producers by email and then post on welshfoodbites.

I have however been sent, not by wag food, but by two Welsh Country magazine supporters, details of a wag food meeting or conference, titled Food Festivals – Building on success – to be held in two weeks time.

I note from the draft outline of the day an item headed, ‘New Funding Scheme For 2017, which will cover, Management, Criteria, Guidelines, Timescales, Next Steps and a Q & A’. So I’m assuming the food festival organisers will then know where they stand for 2017. All I can say is it’s better late than never! I’m looking forward to a festival organiser giving me an update after this meeting as I certainly cannot rely on wag food telling me what’s happening, or if a press release is sent out whether I’ll get sent one.

Please excuse my further confusion at another item titled ‘Food Festival Co-Operation Project’ I’ve no idea what on earth this might be about, or how might work and I can hardly wait to find out – no really I can’t!!!!

I’ve lost count of the number of years I’ve been worried, concerned, annoyed, frustrated, cross, angry, gosh I could go on for ever. But the point is markets and food festivals are the life blood of many Welsh food and drink producers. They need to know early which festivals are running which of course in many instances is related in part to government funding. But year after years we are left waiting to find out what is happening, all because wag food cannot communicate to producers or the media. It seems in wag’s mind it’s not important that producers AND organisers know what is happening and as that seems to be the case, I might as well give up. There is nothing more frustrating than talking to, or at, ‘someone’ who is unable or unwilling to listen……………..

 
 

Invite To The World Angus Forum

10 Mar

I’ve been invited as media to the The Angus World Forum 2017 which is being held in Scotland this June to celebrate the Aberdeen-Angus breed in its homeland for the first time in 40 years. So hoping this post and invite might well amuse you as it did me. Yes it is a food related invitation from Scotland no less!

I’m told that a press briefing is being held at the land Pavilion at the Royal Highland Showground, Edinburgh, at 11am on Friday 17th March and I must say that if I’d time I’d love to attend, Edinburgh is such a beautiful city. Now I’m not happy to say this, but I’m being forced to behave as a grown-up, well on this occasion anyway and will now have to go back to these lovely people and say thanks for their kind invitation, but I cannot escape Wales to attend their press briefing.

The Angus World Forum are just shy of three and a half months to go until enthusiasts of the Aberdeen-Angus breed descend on the UK, they will be visiting from Ireland and of course from around the world, but the organising committee want the media’s help to generate a buzz and publicise this event. All I can say on that is I am pleased that Scotland has a different take on the media, wanting to work with them, which is what I’m constantly saying Wales should be doing. The media do have their uses and it is in my view, silly to ignore them. So with nearly 4 months to get the word around, I’m hopeful that this event will work well for them.

The Aberdeen-Angus defines Scotland as the Welsh Black defines Wales. I’ve no idea if the Welsh Black Society run a similar event, but perhaps that’s something I’ve just not been told about.

My amusement comes from getting an invite from the Scottish food and drink people! Now where do I live and work? Wales. What does Welsh Country magazine focus many of its pages on? Welsh food and drink ………………………

 

 

 

 
 

Morrisons wants to expand its food and drink supplier base.

20 Feb

We have just received news that Morrisons wants to expand its supplier base. Although this will not be of interest to all our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers on Friday we emailed the details through to them and the link below, despite Morrisons copy righting much of their press release.

For more details and dates etc from Morrisons follow:

https://your.morrisons.com/local/

The gist of it is that Morrison are looking for 200 new domestic food producers to supply their supermarket chain and are targeting England, Scotland and Wales. Producers are being invited to pitch to the supermarket chain in a series of 12 regional events, the first of which kicks off on 14th March in Yorkshire.

Morrisons appreciate Great Britain cannot be entirely self-sufficient in food, but by buying more local food they as a company will be able to help reduce these risks. Morrisons recognise there is an appetite to buy local – as we at Welsh Country magazine know so well – and their research shows that 67% of UK shoppers prefer to buy British. Well I’d like a 100% of people in Wales to buy Welsh food and drink, but I’d be happy with 70%!!!!!

Morrisons have 491 stores and around 2 million customers and are looking for small UK food suppliers to become bigger ones. The retailer will also be working with Members Of the Women’s Institute to source and select the best suppliers tin their area.

I’m surprised but pleased to hear a huge supermarket chain such as Morrisons re-enforce the message Welsh Country magazine has been promoting virtually since we first started publishing over 13 years ago. Of course our interest lies solely in our Welsh food and drink suppliers, that’s what we are here for,  I’m 100% behind them and I really hope other supermarkets will adopt this message.

I can only assume that the Welsh Government and the companies on its pay roll to push our Welsh food and drink producers into supermarkets are already on the case, but when I walk around supermarkets I do wonder if anyone in the Welsh Government is really promoting our Welsh producers. Of course I’m well aware that going the supermarket route is not for many of our producers, some of of Best of Welsh & Borders are happy to stay as micro businesses, but for those that do want to supply supermarkets they should be given every bit of help available as this can often by a tough, long process, but well worth the effort if it comes off.

If we have any further news, I will of course update you.

 
 

Food Festival Funding

06 Feb

Food Festival Funding, as happens each year, I’m getting asked what’s happening about Welsh Government food festival funding. Sadly, as always, I haven’t a clue. I’ve heard many rumours, but can assure you when wag food tell me – which hopefully they will – our Best Of Welsh & Border producers will be the first to know. Plus then it will be posted on welshfoodbites.co.uk.

One producer suggested I ask the Welsh Government’s press office, which certainly made me chuckle as seemingly he’s been reading welshfoodbites otherwise he’s know that for the second time the wag press office have refused to answer any questions from me, as Welsh Country magazine. Apparently we posted on welshcountry.co.uk a press release from Open Spaces Group, but wag press office, as so many people do, visited our welshcountry website and spotted the Open Spaces post. We were then in trouble because we as Welsh Country hadn’t gone back to the press office to give them a right of reply! Apparently the press office expects a right of reply on issues/articles that relate to the Welsh Government, which they say they get from all other Welsh media. So the Welsh Government press office now class welshcountry.co.uk as ‘merely a depository for unchallenged press releases’ and believe we should make that clear on our site. I’m perfectly happy with welshcountry.co.uk, I’m thrilled with visitor numbers we get on our site and the positve feedback we get from it too! If we had the time and the staff to read through in detail every press release we post and thenh if wag was mentioned I might consider doing just that, but it seems they are ok with my chasing them up three times for a question I wanted answered. The press office appear unconcerned that we do not post any Welsh Government press releases on welshcountry.co.uk  or in Welsh Country magazine, not sure why that is……..

I find this attitude petty and pointless and achieves nothing apart from the press office trying to stamp their influence on Welsh Country magazine. This is the second occasion the wag press office have refused to answer my questions, I find it simply annoying and frustrating. So no questions answered through the press office but thank goodness the Freedom Of Information Act, (FOI), is still an option open to me,  albeit it takes 20 days to achieve that. Perhaps if wag press office were funding their own office and staff and were not being paid for by the tax payer, they’d realised how expensive and time consuming the FOI is. Yes I realise I’m being harsh and unfair as it’s unrealistic for me to expect civil servants to understand the difference between civil servants and those running businesses.

Anyway the latest news on food festival funding for 2017 is there isn’t any. Food festivals that are advertising this year will of course get our support in Welsh Country magazine, on our website and of course on social media too but if/when a list of Welsh Government funded food festivals is ‘sent’ through to me it will as always be sent around our Best Of Welsh & Border producers and then posted on welshfoodbites.co.uk.

Sorry I can’t give you the information you are asking me for but that’s the situation we are in.

 
 

Taste Wales – Is It Only Me Confused?

13 Dec

Ian showed me a mini piece from Wales Business Insider, WBI, which is a B2B regional title, saying as follows: Taste Wales – Food-focused trade show and conference gathering producers with UK and international buyers. It’s expected to include partnering sessions for producers and buyers to make contacts; a showcase of Welsh products; insight into innovation, skills development and business support; and an evening reception.

Well dear readers, isn’t this interesting? WBI is a regional title, one of five regional titles published. Forgive me for stating the obvious here, but Welsh Country magazine is a Welsh title, published for 13 years and focusing heavily on Welsh food and drink, but have we been sent details of this event? No we haven’t. Why not? Well maybe that question is best directed to the Welsh Government, or perhaps the Welsh press office………………..but as I’m not supposed to talk to wag and the Welsh Government press office have refused to answer any further questions from Welsh Country magazine, I’m stuck!

Using Google, I typed in ‘Taste Wales’ TW, and ignoring the food delivery business running under that same name, I got directed to Business Wales. Once on that site I searched for Taste Wales and was told to refine my search, but Food and Drink and Growing Together then showed. Scrolling down under Information, 8 headers were shown but no Taste Wales. Scroll down again and found 2 headers for News & for Events. Click on Events and guess what showed up first? Taste Wales! Other events showed up along the same line, not in date order, but why would I expect that to happen? I guess it’s my job to search and it seems it is wag’s job to not make that too easy.

All I’m asking is for wag and wag food to keep me, as a journalist, updated, particularly on the Weksh food and drink front. Then if I think it relevant I shall tell my Welsh Country readers but will most certainly keep readers updated on welshfoodbites and send any food and drink press releases to our Best Of Welsh & Borders producers. In a nutshell I’m trying to help Welsh food and drink. I just didn’t think it would be so difficult getting that message across to wag.