Innovation at the heart of the Welsh food and drink success story

The Welsh Government’s Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, has said that innovation lays at the heart of the Welsh food and drink success story.

It comes as latest figures show that almost two years since its launch at the inaugural BlasCymru / TasteWales event, Project HELIX, an initiative aimed at boosting innovation and efficiency in the Welsh food and drink industry, has already had an impact of over £82 million.

Using state of the art manufacturing facilities, the scheme has provided technical support and bespoke training that’s helped develop hundreds of new products, helped businesses innovate, be more productive, improve skills and reduce waste in the supply chain.

Half way through the scheme, Project HELIX is well on its way to meet its targets early. To date, the scheme has delivered clear benefits to the sector including:

  • 225 jobs created and a further 1150 safeguarded
  • 234 businesses assisted
  • 129 new businesses established
  • 203 new markets accessed, and
  • 273 new products developed.

The innovation scheme is delivered in partnership with three food centres based in Cardiff, Ceredigion and Anglesey as part of Food Innovation Wales.

The latest figures come as Food Innovation Wales has become a network partner of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Food, Europe’s leading food innovation initiative. Supported by Welsh Government funding, this will establish a dedicated EIT Food presence in Wales, linking the Welsh industry to a wider consortium of key industry players, start-ups, research centres and universities from across Europe.

Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, said, “The success of Project HELIX shows how collaboration between academia, industry experts and producers on the ground can make such a big difference.

“Supported by Rural Development Programme funding, the scheme is already delivering and boosting the sector. An £82 million boost, new jobs created and others safeguarded, new products, new businesses launched, a more skilled workforce – all helping build Wales’s great and growing reputation in the international food and drink industry.”