26 July 2002

New image for Welsh produce

By Robert Davies

Wales correspondent

WELSH food is to get a new brand image and logo, following a relaunch backed by the Welsh Development Agency.

The dragon-based bilingual "Wales the True Taste" logo was unveiled at the Royal Welsh Show, following market research commissioned by the Wales Agri-Food Partnership. This revealed weak perception of a food culture in Wales, and an ambiguous and confused identity for the products from Welsh farms.

"The aim of the new brand is to unite the industrys marketing activities, providing a coherent and powerful message to all about Welsh food and drink," said Bill Goldsworthy, chairman of AFP.

Companies must submit to a quality accreditation scheme before being able to use the logo on their products. The WDA is also offering food firms, which do comply, financial assistance to improve their own logos.

Both Welsh farming unions welcomed the initiative, as did Mike German, the Welsh Assemblys minister for rural development, who used the launch to announce a wide range of new processing and marketing grants.

These include £1.2m to abattoir operator Oriel Jones, now part of Dungannon Meats, which is investing £3.5m at its Llanybydder Abattoir.

The company is also spending £1.6m refurbishing the Caerfagu Abattoir in Powys, in partnership with the farmer-owned Welsh Meat Company.

Mr German also reported that the £2.6m awarded to South Caernarfon Creameries had allowed the company to win a branded milk contract with Marks and Spencer, which would increase the number of farms supplying the retailer by 42 to 220.

With £400,000 going to Farmer First subsidiary Aria Foods and £1.2m to the Dairygold cheese plant at Lampeter, Mr German claimed that the Welsh food industry should have the confidence to "take on the world".

He also signalled to the three agencies, currently responsible for promoting red meat in Wales, that he was full committed to cutting waste by creating a single body and he expected to make an announcement soon.

Mike German:New grants should help the Welsh food industry take on the world.