Bringing a taste of Wales to business events
We’ve been living off the land for centuries, generation after generation, in a land of pastures, mountains, orchards, forests and rivers, fringed by hundreds of kilometres of coastline. Over the years, we’ve become pretty good at it. Our food and drink has a deep connection to the landscape, the people and culture.
In a global ecosystem, things like environmental responsibility, sustainability, traceability and social justice really do matter. We’ll never be the world’s biggest food producer. So, we’ll stick with what we’re good at: ethically-produced, high-quality food and drink and through decarbonising the food and drink manufacturing industry our progress to Net Zero Wales will be unstoppable and Wales will be the place in the UK where you can develop a food and drink product from concept to consumer in one location.
From the Bangor University love story on the island of Anglesey that led to the birth of the renowned Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt - said to be Barrack Obama’s favourite - to the South Wales gin distillery based in Hensol Castle Distillery which pivoted its production lines to supply emergency services with hand sanitiser during the pandemic, to the Welsh Slate Cavern Aged Cheddar; food and drink is part of the story of Wales, its history and its future.
Events also offer important recognition of Wales’ influence on the UK food and drink stage and a chance for visitors to experience the culture of food and drink here. Every July, more than 200,000 visitors descend on Builth Wells for the agricultural calendar highlight, the Royal Welsh Show, and over 780 delegates take part in Wales’ biennial premier food event, Blas Cymru/Taste Wales. In 2022, the Welsh capital played host to the BBC’s prestigious Food and Farming Awards for the first time and was also host country for the World Cheese Awards.
In 2026, Wales is set to host the world’s biggest culinary event, Worldchefs Congress & Expo which is expected to attract 1,000 chefs and more than 5,000 visitors from over 100 countries around the world to International Convention Centre Wales (ICC Wales) and the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport.
The successful bid to host the biennial event, was a result of joint lobbying by the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW) and partners ICC Wales, the Celtic Manor Resort and the Welsh Government.
Speaking about the landmark event and its significance for Wales, Arwyn Watkins, OBE, CAW president, said:
Arwyn Watkins, OBE, CAW president
It’s the culinary equivalent of Wales hosting the football World Cup finals. We are delighted to have received the support and votes of 28 countries around the world, including all the home nations. Wales won the event on merit and the congress theme will be ‘Pasture, Passion, Plate’ and how the event benefits future generations.
Adding to the conversation around how the story of Welsh food and drink can be maximised on the world stage,
The cultural food and drink experience for clients and delegates in Wales also goes beyond our produce and Michelin starred restaurants; it can also be brought into the venue conferencing catering offer.
ICC Wales is just one example of venues in Wales raising the benchmark with innovative culinary thinking and setting exciting new standards in outstanding conference catering with its Mind, Body and Soul Food philosophy - keeping the mind sharp, body strong and soul nourished through great food. With a highly skilled culinary team personally selecting local ingredients and superfoods, clients and delegates benefit from great-tasting, sustainable food that sharpens the mind, boosts energy levels and improves wellbeing and good health.
Andy Richardson, Chair of the Food and Drink Wales Industry Board,
There’s a real connection and back story for a lot of Wales’ food and drink producers. We need to bombard the overseas market with these stories and business events are one way of doing that.”
But there’s also the social element of food: an exchange of cultures over a meal and the shared experience of trying something new together. It’s what Siân Roberts says makes her food tours, Loving Welsh Food, special for business delegates she added “It’s a good way of bonding because people are encouraged to sit with different people at each venue and the food gives you something to talk about."
From whisky, gin and wine tours to sea salt, foraging to Michelin starred tasting menus, using locally sourced Welsh produce. It's clear that food and drink plays a huge part in our experience and memories of a destination and the story of Welsh food and drink is waiting to be told – and tasted – by people from around the world.
Siân Roberts, Loving Food Wales
Wellbeing is becoming so much more of a focus for businesses now and, as well as showcasing the best of Wales’ produce, food and drink can give you that extra sense of care and connection that may otherwise be missing from a business event.”
For more information
You can find out more about the food and drink Industry in Wales and its dynamic environment connecting our Programme for Government commitments to make Wales a better place by visiting the food and drink website.