Perhaps It's Time for Wales to Host a Food Trade Show of Its Own
Byline: By WYNFORD JAMES Western Mail
There are many similarities between Wales and Ireland, but not just their cultural and historical backgrounds. Both have vibrant and up-and-coming food and drink industries.
Last week I travelled to Belfast for Ifex, the annual exhibition of Ireland's food and drink companies. During the exhibition's three-day run, all sectors of the industry are provided with an opportunity to showcase their wares. And at the Ifex Conference - at which I made a presentation on work to promote the industry in Wales - there is an opportunity for debate among key industry figures.
Like Wales, Ireland has certain products which immediately 'ring bells' with the consumer. For example we have Welsh Lamb and Welsh Beef; they have Guinness.
Both countries are working very hard to increase the profile of the whole gamut of home-produced products and their place of origin.
But Northern Ireland is only just starting to work on its food strategy, whereas we already have an agri-food strategy for Wales, led by the Agri-Food Partnership, and strategy plans for the various agricultural sectors.
In Wales we have come a long way in a relatively short space of time, with much achieved through targeted trade and marketing campaigns and attendance at key industry events world-wide. Indeed, since 1996 exports from Welsh companies have shot up by 23%.
Through their presence at UK and international shows and events under the Wales: the True Taste brand, countless Welsh companies have been given the invaluable opportunity to dip their toes into the global market.
In the coming months many Welsh companies, supported by the WDA, will be taking part in a whole host of international events under the True Taste brand. …