Celebrity chef, Nigel Barden, says Wales’ food and drink identity is key to retail growth


The voice of Wales’ food and drink sector (The Food and Drink Wales Industry Board) says business is booming thanks to Wales’ reputation for producing fresh and natural produce and consumers across the UK are calling for an increase in the amount of Welsh stock on supermarket shelves.

That’s according to research revealed in the ‘Value of Welshness’ report which displays the strong shopper support for Welsh produce across the UK which also highlights that almost 50 percent of the British public would rather buy Welsh branded lamb over any other lamb.

And demand for Welsh brands and produce will be a talking point at this year’s Royal Welsh Agricultural Show which takes place between Monday 23 July – Thursday 26 July. This year’s line-up will feature an exclusive event for members of the Welsh food industry hosted by BBC Radio 2’s drive time chef, Nigel Barden. The TV chef and former wine merchant will be chatting to representatives from Waitrose, Asda, Co-op, Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s and Aldi about their experience of working with Welsh producers and looking at why Welsh produce is so popular with consumers.

The Food and Drink Board for Wales and the Welsh Retail Consortium will be working in conjunction to host the event which will highlight the variety and quality of Welsh produce. In his role as host, Nigel Barden will be facilitating a cooking competition between two of Wales’ leading young chefs using Welsh produce that can be found in supermarkets across the UK.

Speaking ahead of the event, BBC food and drink broadcaster, Nigel Barden, said: “As a nation Wales does food well and it’s evident that retailers feel the same way as demand for Welsh produce continues to grow. Consumers and retailers value the strong identify of Welsh food and drink and the quality it represents. With support from industry representatives like the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, the sector’s growth will go from strength to strength. I’m excited to be showcasing all that Wales has to offer to some of the UK’s leading retailers and furthering the growth of Wales’ fine produce.”

This event at the annual celebration of Welsh agriculture will feature 200 Welsh food and drink producers including Braces Bakery and Hilltop Honey. The event, which will take place in the Business Lounge in the showground’s Food Hall, is part of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board’s strategy to promote growth and sustainability in the industry.

Andy Richardson, chairman of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board, said:“There is a special working relationship between the Food & Drink Board, Welsh Government and the Welsh Retail Consortium. This relationship is crucial because it effectively joins up the supply chain to ensure Welsh food and drink products really take their place as exciting and healthy part of the diets of not just Welsh consumers but also those in the UK and in export markets. I’m delighted the Board is working with the Welsh Retail Consortium and we look forward to meeting as many stakeholders as possible during the event.”