£185.6m boost to Welsh food and drink industry

By Gwen Ridler

- Last updated on GMT

Project HELIX boosted food and drink in Wales by an econnomic value of £185.6m, as Taste Wales opens its doors (pictured)
Project HELIX boosted food and drink in Wales by an econnomic value of £185.6m, as Taste Wales opens its doors (pictured)

Related tags Wales Npd

The food and drink industry in Wales has received a £185m boost thanks to Project Helix, the Welsh Government and EU-funded project designed to develop new products and create new jobs.

Since its launch in 2016, Project Helix has supported Welsh companies to  develop innovative products from concept, design, development and manufacture.

Latest figures showed that the project has had an economic impact of £185.6m to food and drink businesses in Wales, as well as helped to create 447 jobs and safeguard a further 2,306.

Rural Affairs minister Lesley Griffiths said the success of Project HELIX showed the importance of collaboration between academia, industry experts, government and producers to boost innovation, create jobs, build skills and launch new businesses.

COVID impact

“As we recover from the pandemic and face the pressing challenges of a changing climate, the ability to innovate and seize new opportunities will be more important than ever to our Welsh food and drink businesses,”​ Griffiths added.

“I encourage producers and manufacturers across Wales to explore what support is available through Project HELIX and how its world-class expertise and advanced technical facilities can benefit their businesses”.

Businesses that have benefited from the support offered by Project HELIX included ready-made meals firm Authentic Curries and World Foods. Through the ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre in Cardiff, Authentic has received technical support in areas such as internal auditing against BRCGS Food Safety standards and basic food safety.

Paul Trotman, managing director of Authentic Curries, said: “The support we've received from ZERO2FIVE has benefited us no end. It's been invaluable to have expertise from outside, coming in and auditing us in preparation for BRCGS. All of the involvement we have had with Cardiff Met University has been amazing and it helps things run a lot more smoothly.”

Welsh innovation

News of Project HELIX’s success comes as Griffiths announced more than 200 new food and drink products would be showcased at this year’s Taste Wales event.

Highlights at this year’s event – which highlights the latest innovations and product developments from Welsh food and drink producers – included new yoghurt flavours, seasonal craft ales, a range of flavoured oat crackers, organic fermented smoked kraut and Beet Slaw packaged in sustainable, fully recycled packaging.

Speaking ahead of the show, Griffiths said: “It is great this year’s Taste Wales is going ahead and today’s news shows how much Wales has to offer both at home and abroad and I’m sure buyers from will be impressed with what they see.

“The Welsh Government will continue to support the food and drink sector as we recover from the pandemic and I look forward to seeing more new products being made in Wales and enjoyed around the globe.”

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