Food industry leaders from across Britain and the world will gather in Newport’s Celtic Manor this week as the venue – famous for hosting the 2010 Ryder Cup – will be home to the Welsh Government’s Blas Cymru / Taste Wales showcase.
Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) is a major sponsor of the event, and it gives the opportunity to showcase Wales’s flagship food brands – PGI Welsh Lamb and PGI Welsh Beef – and the red meat industry which is worth £650m to the Welsh economy.
Representatives of Britain’s key retail and foodservice companies will be present, and HCC will have an even stronger story to tell thanks to new market research which shows the growing strength of their brands in the UK.
Nearly two decades of promotion by HCC, emphasising the quality, traceability an environmental credentials of red meat from Wales, is having an effect on British consumers’ perceptions. Now, more people say they’d prefer to buy product branded ‘Welsh Lamb’ as opposed to ‘British Lamb’, and associate it with being high-quality, fresh and natural.
Also, a major poll carried out last month by leading public opinion specialists BMG Research for HCC showed that UK consumers have a high opinion of the green credentials of Welsh meat. In a survey of 1500 adults, people perceived that beef and lamb from Wales was farmed to higher environmental standards than meat from its global competitors in South America and Australasia.
HCC’s Market Development Manager Rhys Llywelyn said, “Taste Wales is an outstanding opportunity for Welsh producers to meet key players in the retail and foodservice sectors. We have an outstanding story to tell about our products, with UK consumers increasingly buying in to the brands which are based on low-intensity largely grass-fed agriculture in an outstanding natural environment, backed by traceability which is second to none.”
The event also sees buyers from across the globe come to sample Welsh produce, which is vital for a Welsh lamb and beef industry that brings in £200 million a year in international trade.
“With the changing picture of international trade due to Brexit, it’s so important for us to speak to leading figures in the UK market and from the global food industry,” explained Rhys Llywelyn. “Existing customers from Europe, the Far East and north America will be at Taste Wales, as well as representatives from potential new markets in the Middle East and Asia.”
He added, “The Taste Wales event gives us the chance to show off Wales to the world. We look forward to working with Welsh Government to make the most of this opportunity.”