Blas Cymru/Taste Wales is a prestigious event run by the Welsh government that brings together the best Welsh food and drink businesses for a chance for sellers and buyers to connect over a speed-dating style format. Taking place every two years, this exciting event will be one of the first in the Welsh industry calendar to safely welcome back attendees and see buyers from all over the world heading to the International Convention Centre Wales (ICWW). Meetings will take place face to face and virtually so that attendees can learn about the latest developments being made in the Welsh food industry and make strong business connections. Representatives from Japan to the USA will be in attendance, so why not get involved and show them the best Wales has to offer?
Wales is well known for its rainy weather and rolling hills which makes the farming here, and the food that is grown here, particularly unique. The Welsh environment allows for the sustainable farming of Welsh lamb and beef, and world-class seafood is caught at the coast thanks to the nutrient rich gulf stream. The beautiful taste of Welsh mineral water that is at the heart of everything that is grown and produced here, combined with the talent and passion that producers put into their products, makes for an irresistible delicious combination. Blas Cymru intends to celebrate and honour the unique taste of Wales, and to promote it to the rest of the world.
For the third time, BlasCymru/TasteWales will be bringing together the best of the industry, from micro artisan businesses to larger food manufacturing companies, to meet with influential UK and international buyers, all under one roof for the largest and most renowned food and drink trade event and conference in Wales. The inaugural Blas Cymru event was held in March 2017 and resulted in an amazing £16m of additional orders for Welsh food and drink. In 2019 that number was quickly topped as nearly £22m of potential new business for Welsh food and drink producers was secured, so there are big hopes for this year’s event!
Data published by Food & Drink Wales further highlights the crucial role the 2019 event played, bringing in over 190 trade buyers and launching 159 new and innovative Welsh food and drink products. The 2021 event was originally planned for March this year, but has been postponed until October to make sure that tastings can safely take place, and that the event can give the Welsh food and drink industry a well needed boost as the economy recovers post-covid.
Blas Cymru will also be hosting a range of stimulating seminars, which will focus on future-proofing the Welsh food and drink industry through advancing technical, commercial, environmental and production capabilities. The title of this year’s conference is “Food and Drink for a Future Generation” and themes of the conference will focus on consumer and strategic insight, Welsh and trade perspectives, and sustainability and the future of the food industry.
Sustainability is a particularly hot topic right now as the Welsh government has recently announced its vision for role of sustainability in the food and drink industry. Leading food and drink figures are set to join forces with the Welsh Government as they outline plans to place sustainable practices at the heart of the industry’s post-Covid recovery agenda. Dubbed the ‘green shoots’ vision, it’s hoped that by focussing on sustainable growth and productivity, climate and ecological impact, fair work and raising standards throughout, Wales can create one of the most environmentally and socially responsible supply chains in the world. Lesley Griffiths MS, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said:
“To coin a well-used phrase, we appreciate that striving towards sustainable development - as outlined in our world leading Well-being of Future Generations Act - is a ‘process and not an event’. We are certainly not claiming to have reached the final destination, but we fully understand as a government, we have our role to play in ensuring that sustainability is seen as a crucial element of the whole food and drink supply chain, from field and sea all the way through to the fork.
“Looking after our environment, people and livelihoods, while securing future prosperity and growth are the values that shape our policies and laws. This is especially the case with a growing body of research highlighting increasing consumer demand for stronger sustainability credentials.”
Blas Cymru is the event for you if you’re a Welsh producer, a British or international buyer, or are involved in working in the food industry such as retail, catering, cafes, guest houses, hotels, pubs and restaurants. The event will allow you to engage with top researchers who to discuss the findings of the latest food research in Wales, speak with the team from Food Innovation Wales who will be on hand to offer advice, meet with representatives from Wales’ Education institutions as well as other training providers, meet new innovative businesses hoping to break into new markets and engage with stakeholders who can assist with supporting your business requirements. The event will also allow you to see and taste the latest Welsh food and drink products, participate in one to one ‘Meet the Buyer’ partnering sessions to make new contacts to encourage new trading relationships, attend a conference of leading industry figures discussing hot topics in the food and drink industry and overall gain an insight into the exciting innovation and skills development and business support available in Wales.
Keep reading to hear about how past attendees have benefitted from the event:
The Parsnipship makes delicious and beautifully vibrant vegetarian and vegan bakes. The Parsnipship began back in 2007 as a market stall at Cardiff’s Riverside Market. Owners Flo and Ben were inspired to start their business as they were disappointed with the options available to vegans and vegetarians when eating out. Co-founder Ben Moss has been working in the catering industry for over 25 years, and is passionate about creating unique, quick and easy meals for those who are committed to a plant-based diet. Ben says ‘Here at The Parsnipship, we spend the week hand-crafting the finest vegetarian and vegan products in our kitchens in Ogmore Vale. We strive to be original, provocative & pack our creations with big, punchy flavours.’
Their presence at Blas Cymru in March 2019 meant that Flo was able to meet with a Booths buyer which initiated a contract between the two. Following their attendance at BlasCymru, The Parsnipship secured a deal to get three of their products into 27 Booths stores across the North West of England.
“We were introduced to a representative of Booths at BlasCymru/TasteWales in 2019 and everything developed from that initial meeting. It was an amazing event… having the industry together under one roof. It gave me the opportunity to network, and speak with different buyers. I would recommend any food and drink business to attend the event.
“We can’t wait to introduce our Beetroot Bomb, Glamorgan Crumble and Stilton & Spinach Potato Cake to Booths’ customers. It is our mission to get more people to discover the joys of vegetarian and vegan food and we’re so pleased Booths are helping us do this.”
The Parsnipship recently acquired vegan cheese alternative company Nutchi, so we’re excited to see them at this year’s event to see what wonderful recipes the partnership has produced!
Cradoc’s makes a variety of delicious crackers made with real vegetables, and packed with plenty of flavour. Baked in the Brecon Beacons, with all their ingredients sourced in Wales, Cradoc’s describes themselves as ‘a little taste of Wales’. We can’t wait to try their lemongrass, coconut and chilli crackers at this year’s event! Here’s what Cradoc’s Allie Thomas had to say about the event:
“We share information and a website allows buyers and producers to connect, we prepare for a meeting in a little dedicated booth. If the buyer wants to remain incognito, they can observe the site, look at the product in the flesh first in the fantastic Wales Food and Drink Showcase, then come along and book an appointment on the day. Generally, the appointments are pre-booked and the sales days are busy. With Sample demos, swapping of details, future sales meetings organised, there is no hassle, no crowd, just a relaxed, friendly meeting where business is done in a great space, for both buyer and producer. Blas Cymru/Taste Wales is truly a sight for any foodie to gloat over. I’ve got goose-pimples just remembering it.
Think of the best food display you’ve ever dreamed of, now put that in the ICC. All of the products are the very best Wales has to offer, and every delicious thing, from Gin to Lamb, Chocolate, Craft Beers to Charcuterie, Bakery, Sea salt, Crackers and Cheese, all carefully displayed in peak condition, arranged, beautifully chilled, and lit to perfection. I cannot wait for this year’s show to start.
At the 2019 event, Cradocs met 32 buyers in two days. 78 % were serious buyers looking for our product and we turned 53% of those leads into work with those customers today. As a result, we have been asked to develop new products for customers, invited to join the world of event catering supply through national blue chip companies CH&Co, Elior and Baxterstory. We met up with one of our oldest customers in Ebbw Vale and later we were checked out by Arriva Wales, shook hands on a deal to Monoprix Qatar with a Saudi Prince and sold crackers to the smallest café in the Hebrides! You just never know who you are going to meet next. From online shops in Canada to the V&A in London... It’s a blast. And after the 18 months we’ve all just endured – Blas Cymru Taste Wales just can’t come soon enough for our industry.”
Radnor Hills is a supplier of Welsh spring and flavoured waters, sourcing their water from Radnorshire in Mid Wales. With over 30 years of experience, Radnor Hills supplies over 250 UK wholesalers and some of the biggest supermarkets with their water.
Radnor Hills told us at taste.blas that they found Blas Cymru really beneficial for them. It was great to see what everyone else in the industry is up to, and to network with not only regional and international buyers, but other welsh businesses. At Blas Cymru they were able to start conversations with large producers such as Tesco’s Wales and CH&Co. Radnor Hills found the opportunity to talk to bigger supplies particularly useful as talking over email can be difficult and it can take a long time to get a reply, but Blas Cymru provided them with the opportunity to have a face-to-face interaction without all the wait. This led to them opening a big contract with CH&Co, who they now supply their water to. Overall, Radnor Hills found it a really positive event , saying it had a great atmosphere and set up.
Edwards of Conwy
Edwards of Conwy is an award-winning Welsh butchery brand specialising in supplying major UK supermarkets with sausages, bacon, and burgers. Their shop has been thrice crowned “Best Butchers Shop in Wales” and is still a core part of their wider business. In 2004 they built a production unit under the same brand, and since then have gone from strength to strength, consistently gaining high BRC accreditations and taking great care in finding the right suppliers of Red Tractor Chicken and Pork, and only the finest cuts of PGI Welsh Beef. Quality is at the very heart of everything they do.
Edwards of Conwy have been attending Blas Cymru since its conception.
“As a leader within the Welsh meat category it’s a real opportunity to show what we (and Wales) have to offer. We’ve previously used the event as a platform for networking and meeting new buyers as well as touching base with our existing accounts in an extremely efficient and effective way. The buyers are always really engaged and attending the event has meant we’ve increased the number of our products listed in major Welsh retailers as well as extending the range of private label products we supply to the meal kit sector. We’re delighted to return again in 2021, as both a producer and a sponsor of the Welsh Food Showcase.”
Blas Cymru is delighted to open its doors again later this year, to welcome back the Welsh food and drink industry. Blas Cymru is sponsored by Princes for this year’s event. Commenting on the announcement Andy Hargraves Group Director for Soft Drinks Princes said:
“Princes is delighted to be lending its support to BlasCymru/TasteWales 2021 following its past successes. In many ways, the timing fits in perfectly with our ongoing commitment to manufacturing in Wales, as we reach the completion of the Group’s largest ever capital investment into soft drinks at our site in Cardiff.
To register to take part, please head to www.tastewales.com/ Early registration is advised to take part in this quality event. We hope to see you in October!