Food and Drink Wales Industry Board Newsletter

24 June 2020

  FDWIB Newsletter - Header collage [24 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

The announcements from the First Minister last Friday were an encouraging sign for the Welsh Food and Drink sector although there is a long way to go before things return to normal. We recognise that many parts of the Welsh Food and Drink Sector are still suffering significant hardship largely because of their reliance on the opening up of tourism and hospitality and we will continue to do all we can for those businesses most affected.

At this stage our message is simple, as restrictions begin to ease it’s essential that we remain vigilant and continue to operate in line with government advice.

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

Latest on Covid-19 for food and drink businesses

Top news stories of the week

Recent key actions from the Board

  • The Board received a briefing from Food Skills Cymru regarding the current state of play surrounding sector skills and training needs in Wales. A lack of workforce in the meat processing and slaughter sectors was raised as a particular concern, as well feedback that businesses are keen to continue with essential training and qualifications.
  • The Food and Drink Industry Board and the Fine Food Cluster joined together to host the ‘TUCK IN- Marketing in a Crisis’ webinar, which brought together over a 100 people from Welsh food and drink businesses to share a wealth of expertise and experience from across the marketing spectrum at this time we seek to bounce back from the Covid-19 crisis.
  • We received updates from individual cluster groups and gained insights on the many issues affecting our industry including major issues from the aquaculture sector. These will be raised with government and look for joint industry / government solutions.
  • We are working as a Board to diversify and extend our current membership to include a broader representation from different sectors and areas of expertise. 
  • We continue to work with other Welsh and UK food and drink organisations to ensure Welsh interests are maintained and we develop the best insight for our industry. This is particularly relevant as we move to a critical phase of the Brexit negotiations.
  • We engaged with many food and drink businesses and are very mindful of the importance of listening to the many issues and concerns that businesses have.
  • We have continued to share links to information, support and toolkits via Twitter and LinkedIn as well as supporting with social media toolkits.
  • Our collective insight is being used to develop a post C-19 recovery strategy driven by the Board on behalf of the welsh food and drink companies we champion.

Voices from the industry with Tee Sandhu, Operations Manager, Samosaco

FDWIB Newsletter - Voices collage [24 June 2020]

We are a small family business based in Pontyclun, South Wales and we will mark our 10th year in business in June 2020. We manufacture authentic Indian vegetarian and vegan snacks, ready meals, pickles and chutneys, as well as our famous Onion Bhaji Scotch Eggs!

We supply major events, sporting locations and other food service clients as well as being regular traders at food festivals and farmers’ markets. Around 75 percent of our business is food service and almost all of this came to a halt in March when the pandemic lockdown measures began. We are fortunate to also have around 25 percent of our business in retail, supplying customers including Costco and Morrison’s in Wales with our frozen products.

Online markets have increased during the Covid-19 crisis and we have had to push more of our business online. Supplying online sellers with gift packages for items like our scotch eggs for occasions like Father’s Day has been a good diversification for us.

Events are a big gap in our sales, but we have seen an uplift in online sales around the time of big food festivals where our customers would usually expect to see us, such as at the Cowbridge Food and Drink Festival in May. We are hoping events like Caerphilly Farmers’ market will begin again soon as there is easing around some of the non-essential shop rules and markets may use a mix of indoor and outdoor locations to help cope with social distancing measures. However, I think it will be at least 12 months before public confidence regains and that will have a continued impact on all businesses.

For us, our priority is to take back as much food service business as we can as they prepare to reopen. We are working behind the scenes to ensure we have the right amount of stock available and also working on new lines and recipes. We also want to continue to work closely with our current retail customers and gain new customers when possible and ensure we are ahead of the competition.

The support for food businesses from UK and Welsh Government is vital, and it is really important that this support continues not only in the short term but for the next 12-24 months as businesses battle to survive in the ‘new normal’, with the issues of drastically reduced revenues. We are doing all we can, but it will be a while before confidence resumes.

Stay connected for updates on Twitter and LinkedIn. Join our Facebook Group to collaborate workforce. Get in touch with us via email at



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