Food and Drink Wales Industry Board Newsletter

2 June 2021

  Food for thought - June

Latest on Covid-19 and EU transition for food and drink businesses

At the time of writing, Wales is beginning to cautiously reopen from lockdown, with indoor hospitality having opened on May 17th. Although this is cause for optimism, we cannot underestimate the depth of the impact Covid19 has had upon the food and drink industry.

Businesses and individuals have been through a traumatic time and, although some have seen opportunities arise during the pandemic, for most it has been a threat to their core resilience and the wider impact of this has yet to be seen.

FDWIB - Andy Richardson

However, we must continue to look forward and as an industry focus on acknowledging that parts of our market have changed potentially for ever. Ensuring we are agile in our approach to a rapidly shifting marketplace will be our route to future success in Wales. This agility also relies on innovation which is something we do very well in Wales and we must continue to  ensure we concentrate on this important area. 

We need to focus on creating more resilient businesses, as well as addressing how the pandemic has affected the people within those companies – with more emphasis on wellbeing, recruitment and training.

As I’ve said before, in this uncertain context and climate we are living in, it is more important than ever that Wales remains open to the opportunities which exporting presents.  Our success will be very reliant on how we engage and serve food and drink markets outside of Wales. This starts by being in step with the needs of the rest of the UK including public procurement and import substitution. Whilst our relationship with the EU remains a key priority, it will rely more and more  on our commitment and engagement with FTAs (Free Trade Agreements) around the world. We currently only export less than 10% of our food and drink in Wales, so I believe we can also look to the rest of the world for more export opportunities. As an industry we need to be clear where we have competitive advantage and deploy this with confidence using all the available resources available in the UK.

The announcement of new trade hubs to channel the economic benefits of international trade directly into Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland, and the North of England is an important step – understanding how business can use the joint resources of the UK and Welsh Government to ensure successful outcomes for Welsh food and drink will also be very important in the coming months.

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

FDWIB - June 2

United Nations Food Systems Summit for UK SMEs

Exporting – what you need to do to keep your goods moving

Pub is the hub – community grants

Guidance for food businesses on coronavirus:

Food Innovation Wales Helpline

Keep Wales Safe: Guidance for tourism and hospitality

More veg – UK citizens, civil society and manufacturers working together on upping veg content of diets

Latest industry news


Recent key actions from the Board

  • The Board is currently working on identifying the key strategic priorities for the food and drink industry and how best to support the Minister to achieve growth and development. The Board will be communicating this strategy to businesses in the coming weeks.
  • The Board shares all links to information, support and toolkits via Twitter and LinkedIn.

Meet the Board:

Margaret Ogunbanwo is Chief Executive Officer at Maggie’s An African Twist to Your Everyday Dish.


Qualifying with a BSC (Hons) in Microbiology and a PgD in Hospitality Management, I have since worked in retail in different arenas while also running catering and training businesses. I founded Maggie’s Exotic Foods in 1997 and have experience in retail, distribution, training for the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH), logistics and ethnic food catering. I’m a British born Nigerian who now lives and works from the beautiful Snowdonia area of North Wales.

I joined the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board in November 2020 to represent micro and minority ethnic businesses in the food and drinks industry in Wales and I am looking forward to helping the Board achieve its stated goals.

Our biggest challenge right now is the need to navigate the complexities brought about by leaving Europe, while simultaneously living through a pandemic and the impact this is having on the sector

However, I also believe there is a greater opportunity for our industry to look further at local, UK markets, as well as extending our reach to exporting to other countries internationally.

In terms of Government support and engagement with the industry, we need to help and support a recovery plan for those smaller businesses that have fallen through the net of provision and funding currently available.

I am available to help minority ethnic businesses, both existing and start up, as well as micro businesses. If any producers want to contact me and I don’t have the information I am also always happy to signpost to other sources of support and expertise.

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