Speaking during a visit to the ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University, minister for environment, energy and rural affairs Lesley Griffiths raised concerns about the impact of the “big disruptor” of Brexit on the Welsh food and drink sector, which she described as being in “rude health”.
“I am in regular contact with Ministerial counterparts in the UK Government and my message to them is clear. This sector is a real success story, which we need to continue to promote and develop; it should not be overlooked or sold down the river,” Griffiths said.
“During trade negotiations and discussions on our future relationship with the EU, the UK Government must consider the impact on the 23,000 people who work in Wales’ food and drink sector and the 217,000 employed in the wider supply chain.”
Collaboration with Government
Andy Richardson, chair of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, which is responsible for promoting and enhancing the reputation of the Welsh food and drink industry, said the growth had been the result of collaboration between industry and the Welsh Government.
“While these superb figures show we are undoubtedly on the right path, it is crucial we do not allow this success to be derailed and we must continue to take every opportunity to protect the quality and image of our produce,” he added.
The continuing support for the Welsh food and drink sector will see ten companies present at Gulfood 2020 in Dubai from 16-20 February.
The Welsh companies exhibiting, under the Wales (UK) banner, include Daioni Organic, Dairy Partners Cymru Wales, Rachel’s Dairy, Gut Instinct Foods, Billington Foodservice, Frank’s Ice Cream and Flawsome! brands.
Billington Foodservice will be exhibiting and showcasing the new Dessert and Cake capabilities at this year’s Gulfood. While South Wales fruit juice company Flawsome! founded by Karina Sudenyte and Maciek Kacprzyk, will be showcasing its range of cold-fizzed lightly sparkling juice drinks.
Alongside these will be representatives from Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, Llaeth y Llan/Village Dairy, and Calon Wen Organic Dairy.
Griffiths added: “Wales has a long association with the Gulfood event that has helped bring an array of Welsh brands to the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. Welsh food and drink exports have increased 84% since 2014 and we consider the UAE region a key market for Wales.”