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Seminar Programme unveiled for leading international food and drink trade event

Credit: Wales News Service

With less than 50 days to go industry professionals are being urged to secure their tickets for the upcoming BlasCymru/TasteWales 2023.

Taking place at the International Convention Centre (ICC Wales) in Newport on 25-26 October, the two-day flagship event is organised by Welsh Government’s Food Division under the Food and Drink Wales banner.

The previous editions of this premier food and drink trade event have proved to be extremely successful in bringing together leading industry professionals from across the world, to secure business deals and learn more about the authentic, dynamic Welsh food and drink industry.

A hybrid mix of seminars, presentations and panel discussions will be hosted during the event by influential industry leaders and international guests. These seminars will focus on finding practical solutions to some of the critical challenges currently facing the food and drink industry in Wales during these turbulent times. A detailed programme of the events is now available on the website.

A small snapshot of the themes covered will include ways to improve productivity, help in raising finance, innovation in packaging, developing sustainable food products, waste management, and the increasing importance of healthier foods and future diets in a changing market.

Those taking part include analysis and innovation experts from Kantar, IGD, Food Innovation Wales and AberInnovation. The keynote industry speaker will be Shelagh Hancock, Chief Executive of First Milk. With more than 30 years’ experience in the food and agricultural supply sectors, Shelagh sees the ethos of First Milk very much aligned with the food and drink vision in Wales. She said, “I’m delighted to have been asked to deliver the keynote industry presentation at BlasCymru/TasteWales 2023. It is a great honour and testament to the fantastic work currently being done by First Milk and our farmer members from across the country.

“As a certified B Corp committed to using regenerative practices to ensure we are a force for good whilst producing tasty, nutritious food, it’s fantastic to see our colleagues in Wales making similar commitments, placing issues around sustainability and innovation as being of central importance to the event. I am sure that by working together we can create an innovative and resilient industry that works for the good of future generations.”    

Also speaking will be Donald Webb, Director of Brookdale Consulting Ltd, who will be providing a view on the wider economic situation and its implications for food and drink businesses. Commenting ahead of the event Donald said, “BlasCymru/TasteWales not only provides an opportunity to showcase amazing Welsh products and to meet with buyers, but is also a chance to come off the production floor to have your horizons expanded with a full programme of seminars and discussions.

“As part of my presentation I will be focusing on what is currently happening in the economy and key food and drink markets and how this could impact businesses within the industry.”

The seminar programme will also outline real business solutions in the adoption of Industry 4.0, with speakers from the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) Cymru and will share how the sector can drive a new period of data driven innovation in the production of Food and Drink in Wales.

A spokesperson from AMRC Cymru commented, “AMRC Cymru are proud to be attending the BlasCymru/TasteWales event to demonstrate the low cost technology that can really help businesses in driving up productivity, reduce carbon and improve their business resilience at a time when costs and labour issues are such a major concern in the sector.

“The food and drink sector will be able to discuss with innovation engineers practical solutions and top tips in real business problem areas that have been discussed with major retailers. 

“The importance of attending the event is quite simple, if you’re not considering higher productivity, lower costs and real solutions to sustainability then will your business be able to respond to your competition and the real requirements of your customers.” 

The theme of this year’s event is ‘Powerful together: From challenge to success. The role of resilience, innovation, and optimism’.

Welsh Government Minister for Rural Affairs, and North Wales, and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths MS said: “BlasCymru/TasteWales has always been a fantastic platform for our growing food and drink industry to showcase their first-class products. It also provides an important opportunity for everyone in the sector to get together to discuss how they can meet the challenges and opportunities which are in front of them.

“I am sure this year’s event will build on previous successes and I encourage all those working in the food and drink industry to attend what is sure to be another great occasion.”

As well as the seminar programme, there will be an opportunity to network and meet industry professionals at themed zones, highlighting some of the latest developments in the world of food and drink, including sustainability, international trade and innovation.