Wales’s growing food and drink industry is well represented this week, as one of the year’s top international food exhibitions is hosted in London.

Wales has its biggest ever presence at the International Food and Drink Event (IFE), at the ExCeL Centre, from 17 – 20 March, and 31 Welsh companies are attending.

The Wales stand at this year’s event, funded by the Welsh Government, promotes the country not only as a home to great natural resources and producers but also a destination with the talented workforce, infrastructure and technology needed to support the food and drink industry.

The Welsh food supply chain is one of Wales’s largest business sectors with over 230,000 employees (or 18% of the Welsh workforce). The food and drink retail market has also been performing well recently, outperforming the total GB market with growth of 6.4% against 4.8% in 2011-12. This amounts to growth of over £310m during that time.

“Food is a priority for the Welsh Government and we are supporting the industry to develop and move in positive new directions, embracing new technology and advancements in research and development to put Wales at the forefront of food production,” said Business Minister, Edwina Hart.

“Our presence at IFE is an opportunity to demonstrate the advantages of coming to Wales to do business in the food and drink sector. As a government we are committed to supporting the industry to take advantage of the natural and human resources that we have, with unrivalled business and technical support.”

One Welsh business attending IFE is The Welsh Whisky Company. Stephan Davies, managing director said: “This is the first time that we have exhibited at IFE and we are excited about showcasing our range of premium Welsh Spirits on an international stage.

“We hope to reach wholesalers and distributors from around the UK and potential specialist importers from other countries. We are particularly interested in promoting our new Brecon Botanicals Gin which is presented at 43% and with a unique content of fruity and spicy Gin botanicals.”