The Welsh Government supported Food and Drink Wales Export Club has reached and surpassed its 100-member milestone following a 56 percent increase in applications since March 2020 and the outbreak of COVID-19.
The export club, formed in 2016, brings food and drink businesses together as they look to export more and access new markets.
More than 30 online events have taken place over the past year through the export club and virtual visits have been made to 12 markets around the world including Singapore, Australia, Switzerland and Canada.
The 100th member to join the export club was Tan y Castell in Pembrokeshire who are looking to share their Welsh cakes with the world. Owner Paul Mear said:
“We are proud to be one of the most recognised and respected bakeries in Wales, making the best-selling Welsh cakes on the market and have several award-winning products.
“We like to think of Welsh cakes as one of Wales' best kept secrets, and one that needs to be shared with the world. Being part of the export club, surrounded by likeminded Welsh businesses, and with the support of Food and Drink Wales, will help us do this.
Members of the export club benefit from:
- access to the free export club technical helpline
- tailored 1 to 1 export training
- networking with peers and technical experts
- access to expert advice in areas such as finance, international contracts, intellectual property, logistics, shipping and documentation
- co-operation with other club members on opportunities of mutual benefit
- quarterly networking opportunities to learn from more experienced exporters
- access to the wider range of export support programmes
Halen Mon is also a member of the Food and Drink Wales Export Club. Director Alison Lea-Wilson said:
“We have been members of the export club since its inception, finding the support and expertise invaluable, given by the staff and businesses.
“In the last year we have strengthened our customer base by taking every opportunity to virtually visit countries as diverse as Belgium and South Korea, Singapore to Finland, all through the export club.
“Exporting is not for the faint hearted or under resourced, but the help given by the export cluster goes a long way to making it enjoyable and successful.
Since Tan y Castell, a further two businesses have become members of the export club, with Sandstone Brewery in Wrexham and Boss Brewing in Swansea both joining, as they look to grow their export sales.
Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd, Lesley Griffiths said:
“It is great news the export club has not only reached the 100 member milestone, but surpassed it.
“COVID-19 and the UK’s exit from the EU have shown food and drink businesses need to pursue a range of channels and markets to increase their resilience and the export club has been vital in helping members overcome those challenges and seek new opportunities.
“The growth in membership during what has been an incredibly difficult year shows how Welsh businesses continue to be outward looking and eager to do business with the rest of the world.
The export club is part of the Food and Drink Wales cluster programme, with clustering a central feature of the Welsh Government’s strategy for developing the Food and Drink sector in Wales.