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Crisis masterclasses for Welsh food & drink producers

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THE COVID-19 pandemic has particularly hit the food and drink sector. But Welsh producers will get expert advice on coping with the current situation at two special marketing masterclass webinars later this month.

The ‘TUCK IN – Marketing in a Crisis’ webinars will be held on June 9 and June 16.

Organised by the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board and the Fine Food Cluster, the ‘TUCK IN’ masterclasses bring together a wealth of expertise and experience from across the marketing spectrum.

Previous masterclasses have been very well received by producers, and there has been a tremendous response to the forthcoming webinars, which will be conducted via Zoom.

The Fine Food Cluster is a business-led development programme supported by the Welsh Government and facilitated by Cywain.

Fine Food Cluster Lead, Sioned Best, said “Food and drink brands need to be incredibly reactive and on top of how the market is changing in order to pivot their strategy, survive this period and thrive the other side. TUCK IN is all about brands sharing their experiences of how they have done and continue to do just this.”

Speakers will share their marketing expertise, along with experiences of how COVID-19 has impacted on businesses and brands.

Master of Ceremonies will be Jim Cregan, founder of one of the UK’s most loved coffee brands – Jimmy’s Iced Coffee. What began 10 years ago as a café backroom experiment has grown into a brand that is stocked by multiple retailers and wholesalers nationwide.

He said, “The show must go on is the order of the day for ‘TUCK IN’ this year.

COVID won’t stop us from producing and delivering an awesome day of stories and insight from some great companies.

“It’s my third event, and I’m really looking forward to being this year’s MC, it’ll be interesting to work it digital style, but we love a challenge! Let’s do this.”

Also among the keynote speakers are Cathy Capelin of Kantar Worldpanel, Scott James founder and director of Coaltown Coffee, and Pip Murry founder of Pip & Nut. 

Joining them are Sophie Higgins, head of marketing for HIPPEAS Snacks, Abergavenny Fine Foods commercial director, Bryson Craske, and Jubel co-founder Jesse Wilson.

Alison Lea-Wilson director of the Anglesey Sea Salt Company and chair of the Fine Food Cluster said, “TUCK IN 2019 was motivating and enjoyable, and brought companies of all sizes together in a day of sharing information, tips, and ideas.

“I know how much work the team at Menter a Busnes has put into organising it for 2020, and I’m so pleased these two days will be going ahead despite COVID-19.

“The food and drink sector is crucial to the Welsh economy, and all parties who have made TUCK IN possible should be commended for their continued support.

“With technology’s help, we will be able to share inspirational speakers’ stories to help us get through – and even thrive – in these extraordinary times.

“I hope the producers who join the TUCK IN days will be heartened by the encouragement and support available to help our great businesses meet the challenges of this turbulent world.”

Andy Richardson, chair of the Food and Drink Industry Board for Wales said, “We have to recognise the situation we are in, that the COVID-19 crisis is a significant disruption for many businesses. The effect has been varied, depending on end customers. Still, there is a common thread – that the indications show that consumer buying behaviour and what they value may have changed potentially forever.”

“Perception is reality, and we need to constantly think about how we present our products and food and drink businesses to demonstrate we are in step with these changes. We have to remain connected to existing customers, while also looking at the opportunities of gaining new business where COVID -19 has been the catalyst for change.”

Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said, “I am very pleased that a valuable resource such as TUCK IN is available to bring Welsh food and drink businesses together at this challenging time.

“The array of targeted advice from experts at the heart of the food and drink industry will, I am sure, help producers to weather the current situation and to focus positively on the future.”

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Lifeline for cockle-gathers could be on the way after Llangennech rail crash

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Plaid Cymru MS Helen Mary Jones has raised the impact on cockle-gathers of the Llangennech derailment last year.

She received an assurance from the First Minister that the Welsh Government was looking at way to help the cockle industry.

Plaid Cymru’s Shadow Economy, Transport and Tackling Poverty Minister, Helen Mary Jones MS said:

“In the Senedd I congratulated the public services for the way they co-operated around the clean-up after the Llangennech derailment, which, so far, has been very successful. I demanded a life-line scheme to help the cockle gathers.

“I raised with the First Minister issues for two groups of businesses particularly badly affected in the short-term by the derailment. 

“One of those was the very important cockle-gathering industry, the other, of course, were farmers who graze animals on those low-lying banks by the river. 

“There has been a request for the Welsh Government to consider whether some interim financial support might be made available to the cockle gatherers and the grazers while responsibility for the derailment and long-term compensation becomes a possibility. Many of these are small businesses; they operate on quite low margins and currently in difficult circumstances.

“The First Minister emphasised he was aware of the impact on cockle gatherers and particularly that they were unable to carry out their normal activities while the level of environmental contaminants in the estuary were being surveyed.

“Plaid Cymru believes it must be the polluter in the end that must pay for the damage that has been caused, but the rail accident investigation branch work is not coming to a conclusion quickly.

“The Welsh Government is expecting to receive advice in the next few days whether or not it is possible to devise a scheme through the Welsh Government in which some interim assistance to those industries could be supplied.

“The Welsh Government is keen to obtain that advice from officials in case it is possible, before the rail accident investigation is completed, so they can offer some assistance to those who have been most directly affected.”

The environmental impact of the Llangennech derailment last year was amongst the most significant in Wales since the Sea Empress disaster of 25 years ago. 

Monitoring of the site and surrounding area, which includes four sites of special scientific interest and a special area of conservation will continue for many years to come.

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UK Budget must take crucial steps to help recovery

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LLANELLI Labour representatives are urging the UK Government to take the necessary steps to begin recovery and secure prosperity across all parts of the UK.

Llanelli’s MP Nia Griffith and MS Lee Waters set out Wales’ priorities ahead of the UK Budget on Wednesday March 3 2021.

They are urging the UK Government to make a series of commitments to Wales, including:

• sustaining UK-wide business support
• delivering welfare and taxation measures to support the most vulnerable
• redressing the historical under investment in Wales on research and development and rail infrastructure
• providing an injection of funding to support the transition to Net Zero carbon emissions
• providing guarantees for Wales’ specific funding pressures

Speaking ahead of the UK Budget announcement, Nia Griffith MP reiterated her calls for continued business support for those on the lowest of incomes. She said:  

“It is vital that the Job Retention Scheme and Self Employed Income Support Scheme are retained – not threatened with being removed at the eleventh hour and putting livelihoods at risk. A delay to repayments should also be introduced for the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme with recognition given to the self-employed who are facing deferred bills.”

“It is also vital that the £20 per week increase to Universal Credit is maintained and put on a permanent basis, making it available to people in receipt of legacy means-tested benefits. More than 300,000 families in Wales have benefitted from an extra £1,000 a year as a result of the uplift and removing this now would have a detrimental and long-lasting effect on thousands of households across Wales.”

Lee Waters MS said:

“The UK Government should continue to take advantage of historically low interest rates to invest in Wales’ infrastructure and public services. Particularly on rail, where we have been underfunded to the tune of billions since the start of devolution, this is the moment where Rishi Sunak can demonstrate his commitment to ‘levelling up’ all four nations of the UK.”

“This budget is a chance to hardwire a greener, fairer way of doing things into our recovery from Coronavirus. We are ambitious about our target of being Net Zero carbon by 2050, and averting the climate crisis which is increasingly affecting Wales through flooding. But to make that transition, we need a step change from the UK Government’s budget that allows us to invest in renewable energy and green jobs.”

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Search for Susan Smith continues

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THE search for missing Susan Smith is now in it’s third day. She was last seen on Saturday (Feb 27), walking in the Kidwelly area.

Speaking to The Herald, a police spokesperson said: “We are continuing to search for Susan Smith who has been reported missing.”

“The search is continuing today with specialist police officers making house to house enquiries in the Kidwelly, St Ishamels, Ferryside and surrounding areas.

Sergeant Fiona Phillips said: “It is important that we build a picture of Susan’s movements after she was last seen on Saturday and I would appeal to anyone who believes they may have seen her to contact police.”

Susan was last seen 1.30pm Saturday, February 27 2021, walking in the Carmarthen Bay Holiday Village, Kidwelly area. She is known to walk along the beach to St Ishmaels and Ferryside.

She is described as approximately 5ft2 inches tall, petite with shoulder length blonde hair and believed to be wearing black jeans, a black fleece type jacket and navy and grey walking boots.

Any who has seen Susan or anyone who may have information that could help the search is asked to contact Dyfed-Powys Police, quoting reference 285 of Saturday 27th February.

Police can be contacted either online at bit.ly/DPPContactOnline, by emailing 101@dyfed-powys.pnn.police.uk, or by calling 101. If you are deaf, hard of hearing or speech impaired text the non-emergency number on 07811 311 908

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