Welsh project boosts food and drink sector by £355m, creates 683 jobs

By William Dodds

- Last updated on GMT

The scheme has helped create nearly 700 jobs in the Welsh food and drink sector
The scheme has helped create nearly 700 jobs in the Welsh food and drink sector

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A technical and commercial support project aimed at the Welsh food and drink industry has delivered more than £350m in impact since its launch in 2016.

Due to its ongoing success, the Welsh Government has committed to maintaining the scheme until March 2025.

Project Helix has now delivered £355m in economic impact, while creating 683 jobs across the food and drink sector and safeguarding a further 3,647.

More than 700 businesses have received support from the project and a total of 2,082 new products have been developed as a result.

The initiative has been delivered by Food Innovation Wales, which is a partnership of three food centres based in north, mid/west and south Wales. Initially targeted at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), the project’s renewal means the support can also be accessed by larger corporations.

Companies eligible for Project Helix are able to receive specialist assistance with new product development (NPD), waste reduction and food safety certification. The scheme is aimed at improving levels of innovation, efficiency and strategic planning.

Boost to the Welsh workforce

Speaking on behalf of Food Innovation Wales, Professor David Lloyd said that the scheme has clearly had a “very positive effect​” on the Welsh food and drink industry.

This can be seen in its £355 million impact as well as the number of new jobs it has helped to create and safeguard, the skills boost it has provided to Wales’ workforce, and the number of new products developed with its assistance​.

“None of the achievements of Project Helix would have been possible without the support and collaboration of the hundreds of food and drink businesses that Food Innovation Wales is privileged to work with. With this additional funding, we look forward to providing continued assistance to the sector. If your company is yet to receive support through Project Helix, then I would encourage you to get in touch to discuss the different types of assistance we can provide.”

‘Invaluable support’

Allergy friendly celebration cake manufacturer, the Just Love Food Company, is one of the firms that has benefited from the project, as it allowed for a partly funded NPD affiliate to join the team and assist with ingredient risk assessments.

Meanwhile, Bluestone Brewing Co in Pembrokeshire used the scheme to achieve SALSA food safety certification.

The support we’ve received from Food Innovation Wales has been invaluable, it was great to have somebody on hand to answer our questions and point us in the right direction​,” said Bluestone Brewing founder Simon Turner.

The knowledge and experience of Food Innovation Wales’s team has been key in guiding us through the process​.”

In other news, workers at a Tetley Tea factory in County Durham have voted to go on strike​.

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