Building a shop like the Food Hub has really revealed to us how little local food there is produced in the Tywi Valley. This means there are many opportunities for new up-starts in the real food sector.
By real food we are talking about food that has been produced on small to medium scales by real people, that is unprocessed without additives, that still contain its original nutrients and is pesticide free. Although there are numerous small food producers registered within the area the amount of food produced is far from enough to reach the ambitious goal of a local food economy. Although price still is the number one factor influencing people when they shop, more are becoming aware of the importance of buying local. This means that there is a growing demand and therefore a market. And there are other reasons to feel confident about starting up as a food producer here in the Valley:
“Wales is the only place in the UK where you can develop a food and drink product from concept to consumer in one location. It has a workforce with expertise across primary production, manufacturing, retail, hospitality and wholesale areas. It also includes skilled Food Science & Technology and Food Production Management graduates from Welsh Universities.” Business Wales
Business Wales is a great resource for up-start help. Here there are free training opportunities to do with everything such as accounting, IT skills, social media and everything else you may need to run your business succesfully. Besides their website resources, you can contact them and they can guide you to the training opportunties there may be available. Food Centre Wales is another resource for training and advice with facilities where you can test out your ideas and learn all about such as processing and food hygiene.
Below is a (far from complete) list of (real food) produce that we are currently missing from the region and therefore represents a business opportunity:
- Cows Milk (also raw)
- Fermented foods
- Locally grown black tea
- Hungry gap root vegetables and onions
- Summer vegetable producers
- Soft fruits
- Orchard fruits
More than 400 welsh food businesses are listed in this directory created by Food Innovation Wales. Check it out to be inspired and to gauge the market.
The Black Mountain Food Hub is creating a direct market through our online sales and our live market in Llandeilo. This is helping producers to have a customer base over the large spread out area that the Tywi Valley is. If you are a farmer and already a food producer In Carmarthenshire, and especially in the Tywi Valley, then consider going organic. Do get in touch if you are interested in becoming a Real Food producer. We can help you get off the ground!