August 7th, 2013 saw the publication of the results of the 2013 Great Taste Awards. We look at the success of Welsh producers in the Great Taste Awards and the demise of the Wales the True Taste Awards.

As late as December 2012 the Welsh Government was stating that “The Wales the True Taste brand plays a major part in creating awareness of Welsh food and drink amongst consumers.”

On their website they said :-

“Food and drink is important to Wales. Not only is it a big part of our daily life, it is a vital part of our culture and its agricultural production has formed much of our landscape. Nowadays the sector is a significant employer – over 55,000 people work in the industry.

The Wales the True Taste brand is managed by the Food and Market Development Division (FMDD) of the Welsh Government with the aim of promoting the very best of what this sector has to offer.

The creation of a credible Welsh food brand in the retail sector has enabled us to promote our produce not only within Wales but beyond our borders in the rest of the UK and abroad. Research shows that the Wales the True Taste logo is increasingly recognised by consumers and that the profile of Welsh food and drink is rising.”

Despite this there was no information coming from the Welsh Government during early 2013 about this years True Taste Awards and rumour was rife that they would not be going ahead in 2013. Word on the street was that they would replaced by new awards primarily aimed at the larger food producers and that the smaller artisan producers would be ignored.

In July 2013 the end of True Taste was officially confirmed when Minister for Natural Resources and Food Alun Davies said the current strategy to promote Welsh food and drink was “no longer fit for purpose” and a new scheme with growth targets would be published in the autumn.

He confirmed the True Taste Awards would be scrapped for not meeting the needs of the food industry and consumers, and replaced with a ‘Food and Drink Wales’ brand used at the International Food Exhibition this year.

One might question how something that is “increasingly recognised by consumers”, has raised the profile of Welsh food and drink and has given producers a recognised mark of quality that has allowed them to increase sales would not meet their needs and that of the consumer.

Wales Online quoted Mr Davies as saying: “I have decided that there will be no True Taste Awards in 2013. We will continue to develop the new ‘Food and Drink Wales’ branding that was used at the 2013 International Food Exhibition.

This is a trade identity rather than a consumer brand and I believe that it is instantly recognisable, obviously Welsh and modern in approach. The provenance of Welsh food and drink is of paramount importance in branding and this should be clearly understood by the consumer.”

So with no True Taste Awards and no replacement for 2013, what’s a small, Welsh, artisan producer to do.

Well, quite a few of them entered the Great Taste Awards run by The Guild of Fine Food, who in fact ran the judging for the True Taste Awards from 2004 to 2008.

The Great Taste Awards are much larger than the True Taste with over 10,000 products being entered this year. Entries appear to be open to any company selling a food or drink product in the U.K. True Taste Awards winners were awarded traditional Gold, Silver and Bronze Awards, whereas Great Taste winners get 3, 2 or 1 star.

This year there were 3442 winning products from 1769 producers. The Guild awarded 2664 one star awards, 651 two star awards and 126 three star awards.

So how did the Welsh contingent fare in this competition. Well 86 products from 51 producers were awarded at least one star. In fact, Welsh producers won a total of 111 stars with 4 products winning the maximum of three stars, 17 winning two stars and 65 winning one star. Unfortunately I have no way of knowing how many Welsh producers entered.

Below I’ve included a list of the products, their producers and the stars. (Note there was no way that I could automatically extract the Welsh producers from the list automatically, so I trawled through all 3442 products looking at where their producers were based. If I missed you, then sorry but drop me an email and I’ll correct my list as soon as possible.) Considering the increased size of the competition they have all done fantastically well and are worthy winners. Congratulations to you all.

So consumers and producers, I have some questions for you.

Should Wales have it’s own awards again for it’s smaller producers? We know that Welsh produce and Welsh producers are good enough to stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the UK, but do Welsh producers need some kind of geographical recognition too? Should we simply encourage all our producers to enter the Great Taste Awards, or should we encourage the Welsh Government, who to be fair have asked for input, to organise a revised competition guaranteeing support for the smaller producer and emphasizing their Welshness ?

If the Welsh Government, now concentrating on a business growth strategy, doesn’t want a new version of True Taste would you support an independent initiative to create a Welsh Food Award?

Please let me have your views by leaving a comment below.

 

Product Name Company Stars
Ginger and Fennel Fredericks Chocolaterie 3
Halen Môn Umami Sea Salt The Anglesey Sea Salt Company Ltd 3
Organic Aberdeen Angus Rump Roasting Joint Rhug Organic Farm 3
Lemon Curd Welsh Lady Preserves 3
Chilli Lime Chutney Miranda’s Preserves Ltd 2
Blackcurrant Cheesecake Blas ar Fwyd Cyf 2
Rack of Lamb Cambrian Mountains Initiative 2
Coedcanlas Welsh Heather Honey Coedcanlas 2
Crystallised Edible Flowers Eat My Flowers 2
Extra Mature Welsh Sirloin Steak Edwards of Conwy 2
Wholemeal Flour Felin Talgarth Mill 2
Laverbread burger Greta’s Wholefoodies 2
Hafod Cheese Holden Farm Dairy 2
Fig, Honey & Yogurt Ice cream Hufenfa’r Castell 2
Poussin Capestone Organic Poultry Ltd 2
Dragon Welsh Salted Butter South Caernarfon Creameies Ltd 2
Llaeth – y – Llan, Probiotic Natural yogurt Village Dairy Ltd/Llaeth-Y-Llan Cyf 2
Celtica The Great Orme Brewery 2
Buttery & Boozy Mincemeat The Preservation Society 2
Welsh Honey Ice Cream The Sweet Shop 2
Blood, wine & Chocolate Chorizo Salami Trealy Farm Charcuterie 2
Welsh farmed gilled and gutted whole sea bass Anglesey Aquaculture 1
Black Cherry Liqueur Condessa Welsh Liqueurs 1
Lemon Cheese Cake Ice Cream Hufenfa’r Castell 1
Dark Fruit Chutney Blas ar Fwyd 1
Lamb Lobscouse Blas ar Fwyd 1
Beef Lobscouse Blas ar Fwyd 1
Gold Beacons Brecon Brewing 1
Leg of Lamb Cambrian Mountains Initiative 1
Welsh Whisky Truffle Cathryn Cariad Chocolates 1
Dragon-roasted Coffee Truffle Cathryn Cariad Chocolates 1
Welsh Honey Truffle Cathryn Cariad Chocolates 1
Merlyn Truffle Cathryn Cariad Chocolates 1
Bara Brith Cerdin Foods 1
Dark Chocolate Bar infused with Chilli Chocolate Fusion 1
Sea-salt Caramel with Hazelnut Chocolate Fusion 1
Coedcanlas Sicilian Lemon Marmalade Coedcanlas 1
No. 8  Seville orange marmalade Coedcanlas 1
Llanddarog Ale Coles Family Brewery 1
Black Cherry Liqueur Condessa Welsh Liqueurs 1
Crackin’ Chili and Cherry Tomato Jam Cwrtau Bach Farm 1
Chilli, Orange and Cinnamon Ganache Fredericks Chocolaterie 1
Spicy Mango Sorbet Fire and Ice 1
Peanut Butter Ice Cream Forte’s Ice Cream 1
Gluten Free Gower Cottage Brownie Gower Cottage Brownies 1
Curry Chickpea, Coriander and Coconut Burger Greta’s Wholefoodies 1
Hoki Poki Ice Cream Hufenfa’r Castell 1
Lemon Cheese Cake Ice Cream Hufenfa’r Castell 1
Llaeth-y-Llan Luxury layered probiotic yogurt – Red Berry Village Dairy Ltd/Llaeth-Y-Llan Cyf 1
Raspberry Jam Miranda’s Preserves Ltd 1
Sweet Beetroot Chutney Miranda’s Preserves Ltd 1
Venison & Long Pepper Salami Native Breeds Charcuterie 1
Mini Hog Roast Neuadd Fach Baconry 1
Caramel & Pistachio Meringues Ooomeringues 1
Spiced Nut Meringues Ooomeringues 1
Raspberry Meringues Ooomeringues 1
Welsh Chilli Chutney Welsh Speciality Foods 1
Welsh Onion Marmalade Welsh Speciality Foods 1
Heartsease Farm Traditional Lemonade Radnor Hills Mineral Water Company Ltd 1
Blackcurrant & Vanilla Preserve Radnor Preserves 1
White Pudding Rhug Organic Farm 1
Organic Norfolk Bronze Turkey Rhug Organic Farm 1
Organic Leg of Welsh Lamb Rhug Organic Farm 1
All Butter Fudge Siocled Moethus Sarah Bunton Luxury Chocolates 1
Welsh Black Minced Beef Siop Fferm Glasfryn Farm Shop 1
Smoked Back Bacon Siop Fferm Glasfryn Farm Shop 1
Orange Viennese Mince Pie Siwgr A Sbeis 1
Organic Back Bacon Slade Farm Organics 1
Date and Tamarind Chutney Samosaco 1
OMG The Blaenafon Cheddar Company Ltd 1
Apricot & Orange Chutney with Wychcroft Ale The Patchwork Traditional Food Company 1
Tomato & Roasted Red Pepper Chutney The Patchwork Traditional Food Company 1
Candied Jalapenos The Preservation Society 1
Pork & Leek Sausages The Traditional Welsh Sausage Company Ltd 1
Traditional Pork Sausages The Traditional Welsh Sausage Company Ltd 1
Cumberland Sausages The Traditional Welsh Sausage Company Ltd 1
Tesco Finest Welsh Cakes The Village Bakery (Wrexham) 1
The Village Bakery Welsh Cakes The Village Bakery (Wrexham) 1
Ty Tanglwyst Salted Butter Ty Tanglwyst Dairy 1
Ty Tanglwyst Dairy Double Cream Ty Tanglwyst Dairy 1
Relishous Usk River 1
Beetroot and Red Onion Relish Usk River 1
Tango Mango Chutney Usk River 1
Proper Pickle Usk River 1
Pear Tree Usk River 1
Three Fruits Marmalade Welsh Lady Preserves 1