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William Powell AM calls for reinstatement of Welsh Food & Drinks Awards

2015 Gorffenaf 15 6:23 PM

William Powell AM, Welsh Liberal Democrat Shadow Minister for the Environment & Rural Affairs, has called for the True Taste awards to be reinstated.

The True Taste awards were disbanded in 2013. Speaking in the National Assembly chamber, William Powell called on the Welsh Government to reinstate the awards ceremony in Wales, in order to give producers a recognised benchmark of excellence in quality, and to help raise the profile of Welsh food and drink in the UK and abroad.

Speaking in a debate on the red meat and dairy industry this afternoon, William Powell, AM for Mid and West Wales, said:

"An awards process can be a fantastic way to stimulate competition, encouraging local producers to strive for excellence and thus to drive up standards. The Welsh Labour Government has not yet established a successor to the True Taste awards, nor has there been a clear indication that the reinstatement of one is imminent.

"In responding to the Richardson Review of the dairy sector and the specific recommendation to instigate an annual "Welsh Dairy Farming Awards" to celebrate excellence in the dairy industry, the Welsh Government said that they recognised the need to celebrate success within the industry and committed to working with industry to implement an awards ceremony in 2016. I would maintain that a similar commitment is necessary for the food and drink sector as a whole.

"By establishing a high quality and well-run awards programme in Wales, we can give producers a recognised benchmark of excellence in quality and help further raise the profile of Welsh food and drink in the UK and further afield. I am therefore calling on the Welsh Government to demonstrate a true commitment to promoting and enhancing the identity of Welsh produce, and to reintroduce a Welsh food and drinks award at the earliest opportunity."

John and Margaret Morris, owners of Welsh Farmhouse Apple Juice based near Crickhowell, winners of a True Taste Award on two separate occasions, commented:

"As small producers we found the profile gained through the True Taste Awards really valuable. We would certainly welcome a reinstatement of the awards in Wales. Being a recipient of the award opened lots of doors for us and as a consequence, we were invited to be a supplier for the Ryder Cup and more recently the NATO summit. A high quality awards programme helps grow capacity, encourages new producers to come on board and promotes new food and drink businesses in Wales."