AS THE pinnacle event in the agricultural calendar, the Royal Welsh Show, returns next week (18-21 July), the Welsh Government’s Food & Drink Wales will be hosting a Business Trade Lounge in the Food Hall, giving food and drink companies across Wales the opportunity to meet buyers from all sectors, including foodservice, retail, wholesale, public procurement and hospitality.

The Business Lounge will provide a showcase of the 60 producers exhibiting in the Food Hall at this year’s Show alongside very many quality Welsh food and drink products. 

It is a crucial place for the industry when it comes to meeting retailers and sealing potentially lucrative deals.

Open daily from 8am to 6pm, the Food Hall offers a wide range of companies the chance to take part in the annual food showcase creating a real microcosm of the Welsh food and drink industry from savoury delights to sweet treats. 

Visitors will be able to sample and buy a huge range of food and drink produce that Wales has to offer, much of it award-winning, all under one roof.

Welsh Government’s Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths said: “The Business Lounge is a great opportunity to showcase great quality Welsh food and drink products to buyers from all sectors of the industry, including some of the major retailers, and ultimately increase trade with producers. 

“I am really looking forward to seeing the products in the Food Hall this year and is a must for all visitors to the Royal Welsh. It is a wonderful platform for our food and drink producers and its success is obvious with the amount of people flowing through the doors.

“Welsh food and drink is up there with the very best in the world and saw the largest percentage increase in the value of food and drink exports out of the four UK nations between 2020 and 2021 rising by £89 million, a growth of 16.1%.”

Food & Drink Wales aims to offer further opportunities this year in the Business Lounge to companies interested in showcasing their products to leading retailers and trade buyers from across the UK.

Activity highlights in the Business Lounge includes:

  • Product showcase from 250 producers from a range of categories including all companies exhibiting in the Food Hall (featuring companies from BlasCymru/TasteWales, Cywain Rising stars, and recommendations from the Food & Drink Wales Cluster groups including Drinks, Sustainability, Sustainable Scale Up, Horticulture, Honey, Fine Food and Seafood).
  • Welsh Geographical Indication (GI) products featured. New products will be showcased covering all key sectors of the industry; as well as brands who have achieved B Corp accreditation.
  • Leading buyers will be in attendance from the major retailers, foodservice, wholesale and the public sector. Tailored itineraries are being devised for their visit to the Royal Welsh Show 2022.
  • The breadth and depth of the Welsh food and drink offering will be highlighted with a daily menu of refreshments, snacks and light meals being offered to guests. Guests will be encouraged to sample and enjoy the different tastes, textures and flavours of freshly prepared Welsh food and drink whilst learning about the provenance and sustainability of the products.
  • Presentations to trade buyers will take place to highlight the Welsh Government’s Value of Welshness research. A presentation room will be set up to host senior buying teams to learn more about the ‘ Value of Welshness’ research and to gain updates on market data from the Welsh Government’s Trade Development and Insight teams.
  • At 6pm on Wednesday 20th July companies exhibiting in the Food Hall will be invited to a talk by Ross Taylor a Senior Trading Manager at Creed Foodservice who will give his thoughts and advice on how to do business in the foodservice market.

The Minister added: “Our food and drink strategy aims to create a strong, vibrant food and drink industry, with a global reputation for excellence, and environmentally and socially responsible supply chains at its heart.

“In addition to the strategy launch, the Welsh Government has produced a Retail Plan to help food and drink companies across Wales get their products onto the shelves of major retailers.

“Our work during the Royal Welsh Show plays a crucial role within our wider trade development work.”

Each year the Royal Welsh Show attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors that come together to celebrate the very best of Welsh agriculture. This year’s Royal Welsh Show takes place from July 18-21 in Builth Wells, Powys.