25 March 2019, 11:40 AM
  • The sector is also set to receive £22 million in funding to help the sector grow post-Brexit
Big boost for Welsh food and drink industry

A boost of innovation and efficiency in the Welsh food and drink industry in the form of Project HELIX is said to have already had an impact of over £82 million, according to new figures.

The scheme, which launched at BlasCymru /TasteWales two years ago, uses state of the art manufacturing facilities to provide technical support and bespoke training that’s helped develop hundreds of new products, helped businesses innovate, be more productive, improve skills and reduce waste in the supply chain. At the half-way point the scheme is said to be on track to meet targets early, with figures including the creation of 225 jobs and 129 new businesses established. Project HELIX is delivered in partnership with three food centres based in Cardiff, Ceredigion and Anglesey as part of Food Innovation Wales, and the latest figures come as Food Innovation Wales has become a network partner of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food, Europe’s leading food innovation initiative.

Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said: “Supported by Rural Development Programme funding, the scheme is already delivering and boosting the sector. An £82 million boost, new jobs created and others safeguarded, new products, new businesses launched, a more skilled workforce – all helping build Wales’s great and growing reputation in the international food and drink industry. As we prepare for the challenges Brexit will bring, innovation is making the food and drink more resilient and plays a key role in our Welsh success story.”

The Minister also made the announcement at the recent BlasCymru/TasteWales show that the Welsh food and drink industry will receive a £22m funding boost to help businesses within the sector continue to grow post-Brexit. The two-day event returned to Celtic Manor in Newport, bringing more than 100 Welsh food and drink producers and 200 buyers – more than a third of whom are international. Recent numbers show that Welsh food and drink exports in 2018 were worth £539m, up 2% on the previous year. The value of Welsh food and drink exports to non-EU countries also increased by £25m in 2018, with £145m of exports going to non-EU countries during the year.