New action plan for Welsh food and drink

17 June 2014

Article by Elfyn Henderson, National Assembly for Wales Research Service

The Welsh Government has published a new action plan for the Welsh food and drink industry: ‘Towards Sustainable Growth: An Action Plan for the Food and Drink Industry 2014-2020’

Alun Davies, Minister for Natural Resources and Food, launched the plan on 12 June to an audience of industry representatives in Cardiff. Delivery through partnership between industry and government is a strong theme running through the plan.

The headline commitment of the plan is to deliver a 30 per cent increase in industry turnover to £7 billion by 2020.

A Food and Drink Wales Industry Board will be established to take ownership of the plan and be the voice of the industry in Wales. The Minister is currently inviting nominations for the position of Chair and has said he will announce the appointment later in the summer.

The plan’s actions include continuing development of the new trade identity for Welsh produce and developing a new approach to food industry awards (the Minister decided last year to discontinue the previous True Taste Awards).

There are also a number of actions covering:

  • Education, training, skills and innovation, to develop a skilled and capable workforce;
  • Business growth and market development, including promoting use of the EU’s Protected Food Name Scheme; and
  • Food safety and security.

Launching the plan, the Minister said:

This plan is not a high level strategy; it is completely focused on delivery. For it to be a success, the plan must be delivered in partnership between the industry and government – with the new Food and Drink Industry Board representing the voice of the industry and providing clear, strong leadership.

The Farmers’ Union of Wales welcomed the launch of the plan, describing it as an ambitious document which could have real benefits for the food industry in Wales.

Media reaction to the launch can be seen here:

BBC Wales: Food and drink industry to be boosted by action plan

WalesOnline: Food for thought as Welsh Government sets out £7bn plan of action to boost industry

ITV Wales: Welsh Government launches plan to boost Welsh food industry by 30% by 2020

According to Welsh Government figures in the action plan:

  • The food and farming priority sector (on-farm production and food manufacturing) consists of around 14,000 businesses and 45,000 jobs, with a turnover of £5.2 billion and Gross Value Added of £1.3 billion.
  • The whole food and drink supply chain (farm to fork, including retail) consists of around 23,300 businesses and 170,000 jobs, with a turnover of £17.3 billion and GVA of £4 billion.

For further information on the Welsh Government’s work with the food and drink industry, visit the Food and Drink Wales website.