Coronavirus: TasteWales food and drink showcase postponed

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Halen Mon/Getty Images/BBC

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Some of Wales’ best known food and drink

Wales’ international food and drink showcase, BlasCymru/TasteWales, is being postponed next year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The third event of its kind, following its inauguration in 2017, was due to take place in March 2021.

The Welsh Government has moved it to October, and it will be a 50% physical attendance and a 50% virtual event.

A Welsh Government spokesperson said the move was necessary “in light of the ongoing pandemic”.

It was due to take place on 10 and 11 March 2021 at the International Convention Centre (ICC) Wales in Newport, but Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths decided to postpone it to the week commencing 25 October 2021.

The first TasteWales event In 2017 generated £16m of new contracts for Welsh food and drink businesses.

In the second biennial event in 2019, more than 100 Welsh food and drink producers met over 150 buyers – a third of whom were international, across Europe, North America, the Middle East and the Far East – at the Celtic Manor in Newport.

The managing director of Welsh food hub Blas ar Fwyd, Deiniol ap Dafydd told BBC Wales that it is an event that “Wales can be very proud of, as it establishes the Welsh food and drink industry on a global stage”.

He added, “It would have been extremely difficult to organise the event in March with so much uncertainty around coronavirus.

“But in the circles in which I turn we’re preparing for Covid-19 to be with us for at least two winters”.

The International Food & Drink Event (IFE) – the largest of its kind in the UK – is still scheduled to go ahead between 22nd-24th March 2021 in London.

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Welsh produce, from wine and cider to meat and fruit

A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “Covid-19 has significantly impacted physical trade events across the world with some being cancelled, others postponed and some moving to a virtual based event.

“In light of the ongoing pandemic, we have decided to postpone BlasCymru a few months until later next year and it will take place in a physical and virtual event format”.

She added: “BlasCymru has been a flagship event for the Wales food and drink industry since its inaugural event in 2017 attracting producers and buyers from across the globe.

“We continue to provide significant support to food businesses to grow their businesses and develop new markets.

“Together with the Food and Drink Wales Board, we recently published a series of priority actions to support the food and drink sector’s recovery from Covid19, including maintaining a global trade presence via virtual trade development engagement.”

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