Food and Drink Wales Industry Board Newsletter

21 August 2020

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“The Food and Drink Wales Industry Board exists to champion food and drink producers in Wales. Our role has become especially important during the unprecedented challenges brought about by the Covid-19 crisis which have added to those we are experiencing as a result of our exit from the European Union.

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With this in mind, our aim as a Board, is to always bring you concise, relevant and up-to-date information to keep you well informed about all of the latest developments impacting the industry.

We were pleased to see so many representatives from the food and drink industry join our recent webinar to discuss the joint Covid-19 Recovery Plan with the Board and Welsh Government. We presented our five key strategic aims for the sector and the plan for short-term stabilisation and recovery in the coming months into early 2021. Anyone who was unable to join the live event and is interested in watching can do so online here.

The webinar is part of the Board’s new online series offering businesses direct access to government support and expertise. The webinars will discuss key themes around coronavirus recovery and Brexit, among other topics.

If you have a topic or theme you would like to discuss or see as part of our webinar series, we encourage you to get in touch and share your insight and ideas. Together, we can work in tandem to achieve the best solutions and secure the future of our industry.”

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

Latest on Covid-19 for food and drink businesses

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Top news stories of the week

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Recent key actions from the Board

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  • The Board met with representatives from Welsh Government to discuss the development of the Sustainable Brand Values for food and drink in Wales and a timetable for actions and launch.

  • The Board and Welsh Government met to discuss ongoing strategic interaction between the industry Board and the Food and Drink Wales Clusters Programme.

  • We held our second webinar offering businesses direct access to government support and expertise to discuss the Covid-19 Recovery Plan for the food and drink sector in Wales and we are developing a webinar surrounding the industry’s skills consultation and apprenticeship training.

  • We met with representatives from the hospitality sector in Wales and with Welsh Government officials at Visit Wales to discuss any crossover in support for hospitality and food and drink tourism in Wales and input into future Board strategy.

  • The Food and Drink Wales Skills Committee is reviewing the skills plan and priorities with reference to Covid-19 and will present back to the Board in the coming weeks.

  • We have continued to share links to information, support and toolkits via Twitter and LinkedIn as well as supporting with social media toolkits.

Important involvement: Food and drink apprenticeship consultation extended to September 30th, 2020

Following the efforts of the skills sub-group of the Board, the food and drink apprenticeship consultation has been extended from August 31st to September 30th, 2020, allowing businesses more time to respond and provide insight.

What is the consultation about? Welsh food and drink apprenticeships are programmes of learning designed around the needs of the employer to help recruit and train staff. Apprenticeship programmes can transform businesses by offering a route to fresh new, sector-skilled talent. Apprenticeships also provide experienced employees the opportunity to gain additional skills while receiving outside training from an approved training provider.

Currently, a consultation is underway regarding proposed changes to the major apprenticeship pathway used by businesses. Sector skills council, the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, is hosting two online consultations – one on Level 2 apprenticeship schemes with recruiting new sector talent and Level 3 apprenticeship schemes designed to provide additional skills to already experienced employees. The links will also take you to the details of the proposed changes to each scheme.

We’re conscious many businesses across Wales are currently experiencing many pressures in regards to re-opening or re-starting operations due to coronavirus rules relaxing, but if apprenticeships are important to your business and/or sector, we would encourage you to respond to this very important consultation.

If you haven’t previously benefitted from the apprenticeship scheme but would like to in the future, it is essential for you to participate in this consultation as well. Deadline to respond is September 30th, 2020.

Voices from the industry with Andy Grannell, Patchwork Pâté

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Patchwork Pate is a small business based in Ruthin, North Wales, founded nearly 40 years ago. Our core business is making artisan pates, but we also produce chutneys, jams and relishes.

Around 80% of our business is supplying the likes of farm shops and delis and 20% is to pub and restaurant chains.

At the start of the pandemic, we lost all of our pub and restaurant trade overnight and supply to farm shops and delis reduced drastically. It felt as though the world had paused.

We were forced to reduce the business to minimal operations, make some redundancies and furlough some staff.

In getting the business back up and running, increasing our mail order and online services has been the key focus since our marketing team have returned to work and we’ve had some really good success with that. As a small, well established business, we really want to maintain and develop engagement with our customers. We’ve been making personal phone calls to all of our customers to thank them for their orders and providing free gifts with mail orders to thank customers for their orders. We like to think we’re a company of people who like people! The return and goodwill from this approach has been exceptional. It’s clear that people value personal contact and are keen to hear directly from businesses.

We’ve developed and increased our social media profile to engage with the increased interest in Welsh and locally sourced produce and are working with hubs and clusters of food providers as well as hamper delivery companies to supply our produce. We’ve also raised our profile through the media, and have been featured recently on BBC 6 Music radio and in the Daily Post, which have both led to a direct increase in online orders.

Small delis in particular have been keen to place orders with us and value our established reputation and our products’ long shelf life, as many can be supplied frozen. We’re also focussed on innovation in relation to our products and creating new lines for our customers to order and had recently acquired two new businesses, before the pandemic in early 2020.

Investment and support from Government has given us breathing space to adapt, but small businesses need continued support as the economic impact becomes clearer. Hubs and clusters are also a great support for businesses like ours. Ultimately, Patchwork Pâté is a long-standing business that has weathered many different storms over the years. Our entrepreneurial spirit has not gone away and we hope to continue to adapt and innovate through this current crisis.

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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