ONE of Wales’s showcase events of the hospitality season is back on the calendar after a break because of Covid.

Over 70 food and drink producers from international household names to high quality artisans will exhibit at Harlech Foodservice Expo, a free event for trade customers at Venue Cymru on Wednesday and Thursday, March 2 and 3.

Big guns Wall’s, Hellman’s, Weetabix, McCain’s and Young’s Seafood will all take stands as well as Quorn with increasing interest in vegetarian and vegan options on menus.

Welsh suppliers include Village Bakery, Snowdonia Cheese, butchers Edwards of Conwy, Ty Nant mineral water, Aber Falls, Snowdon Lager and Harlech’s own Bwydlyn Butchery.

Top Welsh food wholesaler Harlech are expecting more than 2,000 visitors to the 43rd Expo after it had to be called off last year due to the pandemic.

This year there is more interest from across the border as the company, which has bases in Criccieth and Chester, extends their reach into the North West and the Midlands after winning important new contracts with public and private sector customers.

Expo 2022 organiser Matt Flynn, Harlech’s Head of Purchasing and Marketing, said: “Everyone wants to get back to business and the feeling is very positive with people back out and about and tasting food and drink.

“This is the start of the season for the catering and hospitality trade and we are focusing on the quality of our suppliers rather than sheer quantity and on major suppliers.

“There will be plenty to see as well with TV screens on stands and chefs doing live cookery demonstrations including our own Development Chef Manager Stephen Griffiths.

“There will be plenty of opportunities to taste what’s on offer with more than 50 exhibitors cooking on their stands, to see new ideas and to take advantage of special new deals being offered by suppliers.”

Among the expert demonstrators is Harlech’s Stephen Griffiths who said: “The Expo is the best time of the year and this year most of all after missing out in 2021 as we’ll be seeing everyone in one place again.

“We’ll be featuring our new Bwydlyn Select range along with our premium quality Brongain range, but we’ll also be explaining what you can do with different cuts of meat from nose to tail.

“I’ll be demonstrating different recipes and styles from around the world using our products and I’ve also invited Essential Cuisine to provide their range of speciality sauces, rubs and seasonings to show the kind of variety that can be offered to our customers.

“It’s my role to support them to get the best out of what we supply and give them new ideas on how to get the most out of our products and perhaps bring that bit of theatre to your menu.”

Traders and businesses can attend the exhibition with current, prospective and existing customers, chefs, restaurateurs, hoteliers and other foodservice industry professionals.

Harlech have also broadened their offer to include personal protective equipment for their care home customers as well as cleaning and other non-food products.

They also offer increased flexibility for customers who can order up to 10pm every night for next day delivery, up to seven days a week.

Matt Flynn added: “This year everyone is well aware of the economic situation and the effect of inflation on their business as their season starts.

“They’re looking at their costs and margins and we’re looking to help them engineer their recipes to make the most of our products.

“We’re also offering special deals which will run over four special delivery windows aimed at critical holiday weekends in the calendar when we will be offering them special discounts.

“It’s an opportunity for them to get stock in at a great price, just when they need it, so they can kick-start their year starting on March 27.”

The two-day event is aimed at trade customers and is not open to the general public.  To register for the Expo, traders and businesses should head to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/d/united-kingdom–denbighshire/harlech-foodservice/  and for more on Harlech Foodservice go to https://www.harlech.co.uk/ and to https://www.facebook.com/HarlechFoods for Expo updates.