Food and drink action plan – two years on

Article by Elfyn Henderson, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

It’s now two years since the previous Welsh Government launched the Food and Drink Action Plan. On Tuesday 21 June, Lesley Griffiths, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, will update the Assembly on progress made so far.

The action plan

The headline commitment in the plan is to deliver a 30 per cent increase in industry turnover to £7 billion by 2020.

Other commitments include:

  • Establishing a Food and Drink Wales Industry Board. The board’s remit is to take ownership of delivering the action plan, and to grow, promote and enhance the reputation of the Welsh food and drink industry;
  • Continuing to develop a new trade identity for Welsh produce, including developing a new approach to food industry awards (the previous True Taste Awards were discontinued in 2013);and
  • Developing a skilled and capable workforce through partnerships with schools, higher education institutions, industry and others.

The plan includes 48 actions in total, 25 of which focus on business growth and market development. Other actions focus on education, training, skills, innovation, food safety and food security.

Progress so far – some key points

Rebecca Evans, the then Deputy Minister for Farming and Food, updated the Assembly on progress against the local action plan last summer, on 30 June 2015.

Industry growth

Figures aren’t available to track progress against the objective of growing industry turnover by 30 per cent to £7 billion by 2020. On 30 June 2015 the Deputy Minister said:

… we are on course to achieve this target. The latest priority sector statistics for farming and food reported a £5.8 billion turnover, which means that we have already achieved 11.5 per cent growth since 2012-13.

However, the figure quoted by Deputy Minister is for the broader farming and food sector, which includes primary agriculture, rather than for the food and drink sector specifically.

The Deputy Minister also said she would publish a baseline data study report, which would provide ‘disaggregated data analysis of the food and drinks manufacturing sector and the subsectors within. The report can be seen here: The value of welsh food and drink.

Food and Drink Wales Industry Board

Progress on establishing the board was slower than had been set out in the action plan. The Deputy Minister announced that full membership of the board was in place but that a chair had yet to be elected. The Chair – Andy Richardson, Head of Corporate Affairs at Volac– was subsequently elected by board members in January 2016.

The action plan had intended for the board to be ‘fully established in 2014’. The Deputy Minister said the delay was ‘because we didn’t have the breadth across the industry or a board that was as diverse as we would want it to be’.

An application process for board members was initially held in autumn 2014 resulting in a number of industry people being appointed to a ‘shadow board’. In spring 2015 there was a further application process to ‘increase the breadth of coverage of the Board’.

Trade identity

The Deputy Minister said that:

The ‘Bwyd a Diod Cymru’ identity is being redefined. It’s an overarching identity, which has been successfully used at UK and international exhibitions. The current work is scoping its capabilities and developing the imagery and the narrative that tells the story of Welsh food and drink.

‘Food and Drink Wales/Bwyd a Diod Cymru’ is the umbrella trade identity used by the Welsh Government to promote food and drink from Wales. It’s a platform that showcases individual brands and products, rather than being a specific product brand in itself. This approach replaces the previous ‘Wales the True Taste/Cymru y Gwir Flas’, which the Welsh Government felt was no longer appropriate.

Food Awards

The Welsh Government hasn’t announced a successor to the True Taste Awards. However it did work to bring the UK-wide Great Taste Awards to Wales for the first time. The Great Taste Awards are organised by the Guild of Fine Foods and have been described as the ‘Oscars’ or ‘Booker prize’ of the food world. The Deputy Minister said:

True Taste never really gained the traction that we would’ve liked it to gain in Wales in terms of what the public’s understanding was of it, retailers’ understanding of it and in terms of food producer engagement with it. However, the Great Taste awards are a well-known, well-respected brand.

Recent Great Taste winners from Wales can be seen here: Great Taste Awards.

Food Tourism Action Plan

In May 2015 the Welsh Government launched a Food Tourism Action Plan (2015-20). The plan aims to raise Wales’s profile as a high quality food tourism destination.

Facts and figures

The Welsh Government’s dedicated Food and Drink Wales website gives the following facts and figures about the Welsh food and drink industry:

On-farm production and food manufacturing

  • 48,000 jobs;
  • 14,000 registered businesses (98 per cent are micro businesses. Micro businesses are defined as those with 0-9 employees.);
  • £5.7 billion turnover;
  • £1.3 billion gross value added (GVA); and
  • 75 per cent of businesses sell to the general public.

The whole supply chain (farm to fork, including retail)

  • 170,000 jobs;
  • 23,300 businesses;
  • £17.3 billion turnover;
  • £4 billion GVA;
  • 14% are cereal and cereal preparations; and
  • 12% are fish and crustaceans.

Further figures and infographics are available in the Welsh Government’s baseline date report mentioned above: The value of welsh food and drink.

Agriculture, Assembly business, Economic development, Environment

Drink, food, Food and Drink, Food and Drink Action Plan, Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, Food Tourism Action Plan, Great Taste Awards

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Big Lottery Coastal Communities – consultation

On behalf of Welsh Government, the Big Lottery Fund are currently carrying out consultation to identify business and infrastructure needs in coastal areas of Wales.

We the Big Lottery Fund would like to hear from a range of people, including entrepreneurs, business owners, third sector organisations, Local Authorities to name just a few.

So if you have an idea that might create sustainable income generation in coastal areas or improve the lives of those living along the coast, we would love to hear from you.

The Big Lottery Fund would be most grateful if you could not only complete the following survey, but also circulate it with your networks.


3 Reasons why your Small Business needs a CRM System

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) is an easy way for a business to manage all of its interactions with potential and existing customers. Defining a CRM strategy will ensure your business processes are streamlined and efficient whilst increased awareness can help your business to improve relationships, retain customers and boost long term profits.

A CRM system specifically enables businesses to manage the customer process through compiling information from a range of different channels, including website, telephone, email, live chat, marketing materials and social. Obtaining a clear overview can allow the business and specific teams (such as sales and marketing) to better engage with customers, see improved conversion rates and increase profits.

Here are 3 key reasons why a CRM system is important for businesses of all sizes (and not just large companies!) 

  1. Organisation Without a dedicated platform for storing and accessing customer data, important information can be easily lost or overlooked. With everything reliably stored in one place, it will be easier to make sense of customer data and follow up on conversations effectively. By having a coherent overview of how a customer has interacted with your business previously, you will save time and effort that would have been otherwise spent covering old ground with customers who may have already engaged with you.
  2. Customer service improvement If you’re not managing your customer relationships effectively then your business could be missing out on important conversations and opportunities to convert. Not only does this mean potential lost sales, but you could be ignoring customers and consequently disengaging them with your business. A CRM system will enable you to guarantee that all customers are followed up with and treated as valued individuals.
  3. Identify and follow up on leads A CRM system can help your sales team to quickly identify and categorise leads. With the most accurate and comprehensive information available, your team can review where clients and customers are within the sales journey and how and when they’ve been contacted. This can allow the team to follow up on leads in the most effective manner and cut down response times. Sales personnel can, as a result, focus their attention and time on the best opportunities alongside being able to review the most effective channels for lead sourcing.

With consumers now using multiple channels to communicate with businesses, it can be easy to lose track of important chances to engage and convert them into customers. A CRM platform can help you to have a clear overview of all your customer relationships, allow sales teams to make contact at the opportune moment, and ensure you’re providing excellent customer service.

Other relevant links:

Council launches #lovelivelocal campaign to boost Denbighshire businesses

Denbighshire County Council is urging residents to get behind their campaign to support local businesses in the county.

The #LoveLiveLocal Denbighshire campaign aims to get people to show their support for local businesses by using the hashtag on Twitter and Facebook to promote good experiences they’ve had and promote products and services locally that they have ‘loved’.

We also want Denbighshire businesses to engage with the campaign and use the hashtag to promote their goods and services to help spread the word about the diverse range of products and services that are available in local towns and villages.

Hugh Evans, Leader of the Council said, “We are calling on the people of Denbighshire to show support for local businesses and show community spirit by making sure we look after our high streets.

“There are so many fantastic businesses here in Denbighshire in all sorts of areas from food and hotels, to shops selling uniquely made crafts and providers of unique services and experiences. We need to get the word out and make sure people use them.

“They also help create a thriving local economy and support our communities by providing jobs for local people. We really want the people of Denbighshire to share their positive experiences of engaging with local businesses by shopping in them and taking the pledge to love shopping locally.”

Chairman of the Clwydian Range Food Trail and one of Denbighshire’s Tourism Ambassadors David Jones said: “I think this is a really positive campaign from the Council. Local businesses need to support each other, build networks and promote each other. Engaging with social media is a great way to do this.

“It’s also really important that communities get behind their local businesses and support them too. We have a wealth of fantastic businesses in this County and we need to get the message out that buying locally is good for everyone in so many ways.”

The campaign is part of the Council’s drive to develop the local economy, promote shopping locally and encourage businesses in the County to explore the benefits of engaging with social media.  It follows on from the ‘March for Business’ series of events.

FREE Social Media course for Businesses #LoveLiveLocal

28 June, County Hall, Ruthin, 16.30 – 19.30

Want to improve your bottom line?  Would you like to use Twitter and Facebook etc. for business but not sure where to start?  This small friendly workshop for beginners will help you do just that.

Led by Helen Hodgkinson of Grŵp Retail Skills Academy, the course will take you through how to set up as well as give practical tips on the ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ of using social media. It’s ‘hands on’ so bring a laptop if you have one.

Love it or loathe it social media is here to stay, so why not make use of it to grow your business?

Booking is essential as places are limited.

Email us:

Growth Sector Development

‘Growth Sector Development’ is one of several priorities being spearheaded by the Council’s Economic and Community Ambition (ECA) Board, with the Economic and Business Development Team taking a lead on delivery. It is part of the Council’s long term strategy to develop a higher-value, higher-wage economy that helps increase household incomes.

So what is meant by ‘Growth Sectors’? In this instance, the Council is referring to those sectors which are growing exponentially within the UK but also those that offer high-value employment opportunities.  These include, advanced manufacturing, biotechnology/life-sciences, green energy, agro-technology, food technology and creative industries to list but a few. Taking life-sciences for example, as an emerging sector, it is currently worth an estimated £60bn a year to the UK economy and supports over 220,000 jobs.

Based on local and wider research the ECA Board has prioritised advanced manufacturing and bio-technology/life-sciences sectors (though still actively engaging with other growth sectors.) as they are most likely to meet the aims of delivering high value businesses and jobs.  The fact that a small number of these types of firms already exist in Denbighshire helps form a credible springboard for further development.

Key themes within the councils growth sector work programme include:

  1. Working with indigenous Advanced Manufacturing and Biotechnology incubator firms
  2. Reviewing provision of commercial units jointly for Advanced Manufacturing and Biotechnology & Life Sciences sectors
  3. Undertaking targeted marketing and engagement exercises
  4. Removing barriers for growth
  5. Highlighting the need for skills development of the local/regional workforce in line with the needs of the  Advanced Manufacturing sector
  6. Creating a more attractive business environment

The first step has been to better understand the infrastructure needs for these sectors, work which is expected to be completed by mid-August 2016.  This will clarify what the Council can do to improve land and premises in particular, but also highlight the potential for growth within local businesses and ways in which this can be supported.

For further information on our work to develop Growth Sectors please contact James Evans, Lead Officer for Inward Investment and High Growth.





Higher Apprenticeships

In a competitive marketplace, having skilled employees who meet the needs of your business and your customers is key to success.

  1. No cost training. The Welsh Government cover the full cost of the training
  2. Open to any age group. Any employee can take part in the training.
  3. Upskill existing employees. Give your organisation a competitive advantage

Higher apprenticeships will help you develop those talented employees within your organisation who aspire to become the next generation of managers. These cost-effective and progressive courses provide real-life training, designed to directly benefit your business in the short and long term.

A higher apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with studying towards and industry recognised high level qualification. It provides alternative to traditional higher education academic study for employees who are keen to progress their professional development.

We are running a series of awareness days for some of your awareness days in the forthcoming months. Please see our awareness days flyer –Awarness Days.

If you would like to find out more and reserve a place at the Awareness Day then please email me Sian Crickett at

Bangor Business School New ION Leadership Programme

ION leadership is the new leadership programme for businesses based in West Wales and the Valleys, delivered by Bangor and Swansea Universities funded by the European Social Fund through Welsh Government and Swansea and Bangor Universities.

There are a small number of places on our summer Advanced Leadership programme for experienced leaders.  Get in touch to transform your business – 01248 382497 or

Although there is a charge, Denbighshire businesses may be able to get assistance from the Economic & Business Development Team at Denbighshire County Council.

Wales, perhaps more than any other UK region, depends on small and medium sized enterprises for its economic growth and wellbeing.  These businesses are highly dependent themselves on the ambition, determination and skills of their leaders and owners.

Investing in these key individuals is therefore good sense.  They can make the difference between a static business, and one that is innovating, growing and creating new jobs and wealth for Welsh communities.

Between 2010 and 2015, the LEAD Wales programme provided investment in these business leaders, across North and South West Wales.  In Denbighshire this included a range of leaders in businesses as diverse as Jones Bros, Boyns Information Systems, One Planet and Manorhaus.  Following LEAD, there is now the new ION leadership programme, about to start.

So, what lessons have been learnt from running LEAD Wales and planning ION leadership?

  • Investing in your leadership skills pays dividends in the long run.
  • Completing a qualification helps leaders to structure their thoughts and reflect, enhancing their capacity to change.Writing a reflection on a learning experience and how this could be applied to their business, meant that leaders were more likely to implement change.
  • Learning from being in a network of other leaders learning is really helpful – people support and learn from each other. Diverse peer groups are best – but that doesn’t mean that leaders shouldn’t come together in industry groups. Shadowing, coaching and action learning can work really well within a trusted network.
  • Focus on a ‘leadership mindset’ is more critical than specific enterprise and growth training.
  • Leadership is about the vision, culture and values of an organisation, driven by self-awareness, empathy and confidence to change.
  • Practical is best – leadership development must be capable of being applied in the business immediately. Real, practical experiences create emotional involvement, encourage leaders to reflect on their experiences and create new positive habits.
  • One of the main impacts on the delegates was to improve their confidence, their self-belief in what they do as leaders, and how their peers and their staff perceive them. The programmes have a positive impact on how delegates feel about decisions they make in their personal and business lives. The programme also reduces self-doubt and their need to question their decisions, in turn making them better leaders in changing environments.
  • The top 5 benefits of leadership training are:
    • Building effective relationships
    • Creating and communicating a vision for the business
    • Continuous improvement
    • Delegating to employees
    • Managing staff
  • The LEAD programme has been an invaluable course.

“Though we had a great foundation and knowledge in construction, we knew little about business or running a company. The course enabled me to take a step back, and view my business from the outside.   The Masterclasses were a great way of learning from other people’s experiences and bringing their ideas /mistakes and successes into my company. There were many “Eureka” moments throughout the course.” Business leader and participant

Get in touch to transform your business – 01248 382497  or