The value rose nearly 25% last year
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Welsh food and drink exports were worth £797m in 2022 representing the highest annual value on record, Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths has confirmed.
With the Royal Welsh Show in full swing and crowds enjoying some of Wales’ best food and drink products, the minister has revealed the industry’s exports increased by £157m between 2021 and 2022, representing a 24.5% rise.
This is a larger percentage increase than the UK as a whole, which grew by 21.6%.
The highest value export categories for Welsh food and drink in 2022 were meat and meat products at £265m, a 42% increase from 2021, and cereal and cereal preparations which rose 16% to £160m.
The value of the sector’s exports to the EU reached £594m, a £130m increase from 2021. The industry’s export to non-EU countries were worth £203m in 2022, a large growth from £176m in 2021.
France is now the highest value destination for Welsh food and drink exports at £150m. Other top destinations include the Republic of Ireland (£145m), Belgium (£78m), Netherlands (£52m), and Germany (£51m).
Ms Griffiths said: “Welsh food and drink exports continue to go from strength to strength, ensuring people in many countries abroad can enjoy high-quality products from Wales.
“The sector’s skills, drive for innovation and passion to provide the best possible produce is clear from today’s results.
“I am pleased to be able to make this announcement at the Royal Welsh Show which provides companies from across Wales with the opportunity to showcase their brilliant food and drink, and I’m sure visitors from near and far are enjoying it.”
The minister has also announced a new initiative, the strategic innovation scheme, to provide a comprehensive range of business support services to food and drink businesses across Wales.
As part of this, project Helix, which offers technical and commercial support to the Welsh food and drink industry, will continue until March 2025.
Latest figures show Helix, which launched in 2016, has provided a £355m economic boost to the industry, helped create 683 jobs and protected a further 3,647 jobs. More than 700 businesses have been supported through the scheme and almost 2,100 new food and drink products developed.
the project will now be able to support larger manufacturers in Wales alongside small and medium-sized enterprises and micro-businesses who have already benefitted.
Mike Woods, chief executive of Just Love Food Company said: “Since the affiliate joined the business through Project Helix our turnover has grown by over 65% and it wouldn’t have been possible without those more robust technical structures in place. Project Helix has helped the business grow and it’s helped put a foundation down that will help continue growth.”
Ms Griffiths added;: “The strategic innovationsScheme will underpin the Welsh Government’s vision for the food and drink industry.
“As part of this, project Helix, which has had a hugely positive effect on Wales’ food and drink industry, helping companies to adopt a more efficient and strategic approach, will continue until March 2005.
“The project’s positive impact is clear to see through the £355 million economic boost it has provided as well as the number of new jobs it has helped to create and the thousands it has protected. It has also been key in upskilling the Welsh workforce, and supported businesses to develop new products.”