Food and Drink Wales Industry Board Newsletter

8 June 2020

  FDWIB Newsletter - Header collage 08 June 2020

“The Food and Drink Wales Industry Board exists to champion food and drink in Wales and during this unprecedented Covid-19 crisis, our aim as a Board is to bring you concise, relevant and up-to-date information to keep you well informed.

FDWIB - Andy Richardson

Following the announcement made by the Welsh Government on 29 May, Wales is set to begin a new phase in the battle against coronavirus alongside the new strategy - Test Trace Protect – an evolving approach that is focused on protecting the Welsh public from contracting and spreading the virus.

The Welsh Government has also advised businesses across the nation to prepare for reopening in the near future – at a date that will be evaluated in three weeks-time.

For now, we encourage you to access the resources provided by Food Innovation Wales, the Food and Drink Federation and the Food Standards Agency on best reopening practices ensuring your business and the industry as a whole is well prepared for future outcomes.”

Andy Richardson, Chair of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board

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Recent key actions from the Board

  • We have hosted our weekly in-depth conference call with our Board members and senior Welsh Government colleagues to look at the challenges and opportunities presented by Covid-19. We have invited sector experts into these meetings to provide additional insight to these issues.
  • The Board received a briefing from The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink covering the recent achievements in developing skills for the industry in Wales and discussion around the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead in areas including training and apprenticeships. The Board will continue to advocate for improving skills in Wales and will identify and raise major issues surrounding skills to the Minister for discussion with cabinet colleagues.
  • The Board was also briefed on further insight from our partners at Food Innovation Wales on risk management for the industry, including managing the transition of the furlough scheme, the potential impact of Test, Trace, Protect to the food and drink workforce and manufacturing sector and the upcoming impacts of Brexit on trade. The Board is looking to produce further pandemic management documents to support the industry.
  • We continue to engage with both Welsh and UK Government regarding the timing and impact of Brexit, in light of the many food and drink businesses already suffering hardship due to the coronavirus situation.
  • We engaged and connected with all cluster groups for sector-specific insight and actions on current opportunities and challenges across the industry.
  • The Board is supporting the Food & Drink Federation Cymru’s #HiddenHeroes campaign which aims to promote all the food and drink workers continuing to keep the nation fed during the coronavirus pandemic and pays tribute to those working across the supply chain.
  • We have continued to share links to information, support and toolkits via Twitter and LinkedIn as well as supporting with social media toolkits.

Voices from the industry with Giulio Dallavalle from Frank’s Ice Cream

FDWIB Newsletter 08 June 2020 - Voices collage

Frank’s Ice Cream was established back in 1920, and the factory is located in the heart of South Wales, near Ammanford. We are regarded as one of the UK’s leading ice cream manufacturers and supply branded and own-label ice cream products to major supermarkets both in the UK, Europe and the Middle East. We also supply into the NHS hospital trusts throughout Wales and the UK.

Covid-19 has affected everyone, including the food industry globally. For us, in terms of markets, the supermarket business has continued to trade well, as has the public sector work within the NHS Trusts. However, the food service business into restaurants and schools has stopped entirely. Considering the circumstances, we are very fortunate and grateful to be still trading. Still, we are very conscious and concerned for many businesses who unfortunately have had to cease trading until the situation improves.

We have had to adapt to the current situation very quickly and have been following Welsh Government guidelines on safe working practices very closely. We have split our workforce into two separate groups that operate at different times to help with social distancing. We have altered our working hours and shift patterns to accommodate this. We also now have a dedicated team to solely looking after our NHS Welsh Hospital deliveries. We have also been operating a direct delivery system into every hospital in South Wales, which has meant we have been able to maintain a 100 per cent supply since the start of the outbreak.

Our main priority is to continue to provide a safe working environment for all our staff. We are also fully committed to honouring our contract requirements to the Welsh NHS hospital trusts at such a critical time.

We would like to thank the Welsh Government for all the business support and clear guidance that they have provided for us. In particular, I would like to thank the ZERO2FIVE Food Industry Centre at Cardiff Metropolitan University. Working very closely with their team to get expert technical advice and guidance has been key to implementing safe working procedures for all staff within our company.

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