Carmarthenshire’s Thriving Food Industry on Show

September 3, 2011

A huge drive is underway to turn Carmarthenshire into the premier food producing region in the country.

Regeneration chiefs say the food industry is vital to the success of the local economy.

The county council is working to help put local food and drink producers on the national and international map.

Growing numbers of companies are securing lucrative contracts and winning national acclaim and the area is fast achieving a strong reputation for its first class produce.

Producers promote local goods across the country, at exhibitions like the Olympia London and NEC Birmingham and secure a huge amount of business by being represented at national showcase events.

Carmarthenshire Council officers regularly take samples of products from local companies to events like the International Food and Drink Exhibition and the Speciality and Fine Food Show to generate leads and increase awareness of the county’s produce as part of a huge package of support for the food industry.

The authority produces a Food and Drink Directory and a recipe book ‘A Taste of Carmarthenshire’ to showcase the award winning food available.

The Directory provides a comprehensive A-Z list of companies specialising in the production of food and drink and is grouped into easy reference sections including dairy, baked goods, meat and confectionary.

A £50 million food park at Cross Hands – the biggest in Wales – is the first dedicated centre of food technology.

Food Development Officer Barry Davies said: “The food industry is ever growing in Carmarthenshire and the council is committed in its role as supporter and developer. There are so many different ways that we are helping businesses to grow. A number of recent national awards recognise the superb quality that is available here in Carmarthenshire. Mario’s Ice Cream and Frank’s Ice Cream licked competition from across the UK to clinch coveted trophies.

Carmarthenshire Cheeses, Kid Me Not and Caws Cenarth also churned out success winning some of the industry’s top awards at the prestigious British Cheese Awards.

Caws Cenarth has secured a prestigious contract to supply cheese boards at the famous Twickenham rugby stadium and its Perl Las blue organic is now being dished up to corporate guests at England’s crowd pulling rugby matches. The company has also signed a three month deal to supply British Airway’s first class passengers.

Regeneration Executive Board Member Cllr. Clive Scourfield said: “Carmarthenshire has always been one of the great food producing areas of Wales and is renowned for its natural, wholesome produce and the expertise of its people. This tradition is being strengthened by innovation and technology and a dynamic business strategy being driven forward by the council. As a result, the food industry is growing in size and success and we are establishing a strong reputation for the strength of our produce.”

Visitors from across the country were able to sample some of Carmarthenshire’s acclaimed food and drink at The Welsh Assembly Government’s True Taste Stand at the Hospitality Show in the NEC in Birmingham.

Organic bakery Café Cwtch based in Cenarth made its debut at the exhibition.  Café Cwtch produces organic Welsh cakes and Bara Brith is run by Caroline Adams.

The Carmarthenshire Cheese Company, Caws Cenarth Cheeses and Kid Me Not also exhibited along with acclaimed waffle-maker Tregroes Waffles and  new food producer Govindas Foods Ltd. displayed gluten free cheese cakes, cakes and quiches.

Leslie A Parsons and Sons of Burry Port displayed its new buffet range, along with its established laverbread and seafood ranges. Farm Fresh Foods Ltd. who launched a new range of Celtic Pride pies, and Bryngwenyn Flour Mill from the Gwendraeth Valley were also represented.

Carmarthenshire’s Food Development Officer Barry Davies said: “The event was a big success and enabled the producers to showcase their products to a huge audience. We are continually working to help secure new business for local food producers and we now have a very strong reputation for the quality of our produce.”

Regeneration Executive Board Member Cllr. Clive Scourfield said: “I am delighted that Carmarthenshire had such a strong presence at the Hospitality Show. The county now has a very good reputation for its food suppliers and I commend everyone involved in this latest promotion.”