Minister samples some of Wales’ newest food products

Cywain - 2010-08-06

A three-way partnership has seen the launch of six exciting new food and drink products in north Wales.

Six producers worked with Cywain, the agri-food support initiative run by Menter a Busnes, and the Food Technology Centre at Llangefni, to develop a range of niche products including frozen yoghurt and a liqueur made from locally-grown aronia berries.

They were unveiled to Wales’ Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, at the Royal Welsh Show. The minister said she was continually enthused by the dedication and enthusiasm of food producers in Wales. “As well as producing food from the land we need to ensure we process that produce in Wales and here we have a good example of this,’’ she said.

Hazel Jones, who created Aerona liqueur and chocolate from her crop of aronia berries, admitted she would never have had the courage to take these beyond the hobby stage had it not been for the support network made available to her. “Cywain, the Food Technology Centre and the Welsh Assembly Government have all been fantastic, I could never have done this by myself,’’ said Hazel, of Chwilog, Pwllheli.

Elin Jones also sampled the Snowdonia range of premium fresh and frozen meals, frozen yoghurt from Mon Ar Lwy, salad dressings and dessert sauces produced from Welsh blueberries by Blue Whole Blueberries of Wrexham, cheese from Caws Rhyd Y Delyn and Peli Pabo cheese launched by Y Cwt Caws.

They were all developed at the Food Technology Centre while Cywain assisted the businesses with branding, developing markets and introductions to retailers.

Martin Jardine, who manages the Food Technology Centre, said the satisfaction he had from seeing products progress from ideas to commercially viable businesses was huge. “Our relationship with businesses like these continues to evolve through extending the brands and product ranges which in turn can lead to job creation that sustains local communities,’’ he said. 

Nia Mon, Cywain project developer in north Wales, mentored the six businesses. She said the project demonstrated how collaboration can breed success. “Many of these products started off as hobbies but through hand holding and giving their creators the best possible advice they have become businesses,’’ she said. 

“At Cywain we help primary producers add value by developing new products or new markets. We are delighted to launch foods and drinks that are of the highest quality and are already in demand to add to the excellent produce already available in Wales.’’ 

This project received funding through the Rural Development Plan for Wales 2007-2013 which is funded by the Welsh Assembly Government and the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development.

Photos for this release:

Wales’ Rural Affairs Minister, Elin Jones, is pictured sampling ‘Aerona’ liqueur with its creator, Hazel Jones. PICTURE: Debbie James.