By working together Welsh food and drink producers are increasing their slice of the growing online gifting market.
Such has been the success of a collaboration project created to help producers reach festive shoppers, that it has been expanded into 2021.
When it was launched last Christmas, the Food & Drink Wales Fine Food Cluster gift box and hamper initiative saw ten Welsh food and drink producers take the lead – and working with more than 50 food and drink companies.
Thousands of hampers were sold, resulting in more than £250,000 in sales. Building on this momentum, the Wales Fine Food Cluster is working with producers to create more alliances, and capitalise on the public’s growing enthusiasm for online food and drink gifts and occasion treats.
Funded by the Welsh Government, the Wales Fine Food Cluster is facilitated by the Cywain project. Delivered by Menter a Busnes, the Cywain project supports the development of growth-orientated businesses in the food and drink sector in Wales.
Clusters Team Leader, Sioned Best, said, “We are delighted with the way this collaborative marketing project has evolved.
It began last May with producers getting together to sell food boxes direct to consumers. We then developed the programme further to support Cluster members during the lockdown in the autumn by assisting them with Christmas gifting and hampers.
The project caught the imagination of producers and consumers, and in the run-up to Christmas 4,000 hampers were sold generating sales of £250,000. Such was the project’s success, it will continue to develop during 2021 with more members taking part, and so provide them with additional opportunities to sell their products.”
Two companies which have embraced the collaboration spirit are Crickhowell-based Black Mountains Smokery Ltd, and Daffodil Foods Ltd of Pwllheli, both of which have hampers and gift boxes for many occasions.
Black Mountains Smokery sends its Really Welsh hampers across the UK, including its ‘Cwtsh’ and ‘Cariad’ hampers. Customers can also choose to create bespoke gourmet gifts from the Smokery’s range and artisan products listed on its website.
Owner Jo Carthew, said, “The joy of working collaboratively with other wonderful, likeminded, Welsh producers is what we are about. The Fine Food Cluster has helped raise awareness of our hampers and brands, which has hopefully put us in people’s minds for future occasions and will prompt more advance orders.
“Every producer has faith in their brand, and I think that’s what people are increasingly buying into, and they love the fact there is a human story too.”
Lynne Rowlands, owner of Daffodil Foods Ltd, said, “We had started working with other Cluster members to create our Welsh Afternoon Tea boxes, but when the Fine Food Cluster launched the Christmas initiative, it really helped us.
“To be part of a bigger campaign rather than being a small group made a greater impact. We all benefit from ‘cross-pollinating’ because, at the end of the day, we all produce quality Welsh food and drink products with provenance.”
Lesley Griffiths, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, said,
“The Fine Food Cluster members have shown incredible positive collaborative spirit in working together in this way, not only to further raise awareness of the fantastic range of food and drink produced here in Wales, but also as a positive income generator. They have built the foundations for future business, and I wish these companies every success as they take this initiative forward."