A company which began trading just one week into the Covid-19 pandemic has won a prestigious award for its traditional Korean inspired dish which has been made in Wales.
Monmouthshire-based Organic fermented foods producer, Jones -Trust Your Gut received the Most Exciting New Product Award at BlasCymru/TasteWales 2021 for its Welsh kimchi – made by fermenting napa cabbage with chillies and laverbread.
Held at the International Convention Centre Wales at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport, BlasCymru/TasteWales 2021 featured over 100 Welsh food and drink producers who took the opportunity to present more than 200 new products to some of the industry’s most important contacts.
Jones-Trust Your Gut was featured as part of a ‘Rising Stars’ area for the first time run in collaboration with Cywain – a Menter a Busnes project that supports the development of growth-orientated businesses in the food and drink sector in Wales.
The company was formed following a chance meeting at a party between founders Anna Jones and Malcolm Burns, both of whom had experience working in the food and drink industry.
Combining their experience and belief in fermented and gut-friendly foods, they have created a range of fermented foods that include organic apple cider vinegar tonics and blends, slaw and kraut, and the latest addition – Welsh kimchi.
The BlasCymru/TasteWales award comes hot on the heels of the Great Taste Awards, where the company picked up two one-star awards.
Launched in March 2020, just one week into the Covid-19 pandemic, Jones – Trust Your Gut has had a challenging start.
Anna said: “It is lovely and humbling to receive this award when we’re such a young company. We’ve put so much heart into our venture, and so it is great to win confirmation that we are on the right track.”
“We had to completely readjust our business plan, which had been built around being able to go out and meet people. We couldn’t see each other either, so all of our meetings with our fellow business partners had to be conducted online and decisions taken virtually. It was really strange launching a new business that way. It tested the boundaries of what’s possible, but if you can work like that, you can work anywhere.”
“The assistance we have received all along has been fantastic. The support in Wales for food brands and businesses alike is second to none. We’ve had so much help including manufacturing, finance, and mentoring.
“There are so many organisations in Wales to help people and support you all the way – it really does give people hoping to come into the food industry options. The range of advice has been amazing; you can’t put a value on it.”
Apart from a few farmers markets and small events, BlasCymru/TasteWales was the first “big” event the company attended and was overwhelmed by the support and advice they received before and during the event.
Anna added: “The preparation was so well organised, we attended webinars and were mentored on talking to buyers, how to sample and present our products. The support has been unbelievable. We met with our target buyers from national accounts, high-quality farm shops, distributors and wholesalers.
“The whole BlasCymru/TasteWales set up was amazing, and the access to, and quality of, buyers, wholesalers and distributors was exceptional. We were networking the whole time, and one buyer said to me that of all the places they attend Blas Cymru/TasteWales tops them all because Welsh producers take full ownership for their brands and the integrity of Welsh food and the way producers connect to agriculture and production in a sustainable way.”
Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd presented Anna with the Most Exciting New Product Award.
The Minister said: “Wales has fantastic food and drink products, and it was wonderful to see so many of them on display at BlasCymru/Taste Wales.
“I was delighted too to meet companies, including Jones-Trust Your Gut, who are passionate about their products.
“Jones-Trust Your Gut started up at such a challenging time for us all, and their determination and commitment to succeed has resulted in them winning the most exciting new product award which is richly deserved. I am sure it is a sign of further success to come.”