A bakery is flying the flag for Wales as part of a major export drive to promote the nation’s food and drink around the world.
Commercial officers from 15 different countries working for the UK Government in partnership with the Welsh Government were “blown away” by a visit of the Jones Village Bakery in Wrexham.
They included food specialists from international offices as far afield as South Korea, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Italy, Belgium, Canada and America.
The visit was organised by the Department for Business and Trade as part of a week-long UK tour, with the Village Bakery being one of only two Welsh producers on their itinerary.
As part of their visit, they were shown the new sourdough and pancake production lines installed at the company’s 140,000 sq ft headquarters complex on Wrexham Industrial Estate.
Over the past two years the family-run firm has invested a total of £18 million in the two state-of-the-art lines, creating more than 100 new jobs – with more in the pipeline.
According to Managing, Director Robin Jones, the visit was timely because the fast growing bakery is set to more than triple the amount it exports this year, with overseas sales increasing from £1.5 million last year to £5 million in 2023.
He said: “Their job is to sell British food and drink and this visit was part of a week-long tour and we’re proud we were one of only two Welsh food producers chosen as champions of the sector.
“When the commercial officers go back to their respective countries, they have relationships with distributors and retailers to enable them to be equipped with knowledge and information to sell our food and drink.
“It’s great exposure for Jones Village Bakery and it’s great exposure for the Welsh food industry. It’s putting the Welsh food and drink industry on the map globally.
“Thanks to the sprinkling of Hollywood glitter at Wrexham AFC, there’s a real buzz about Wrexham and we want to jump on the bandwagon and export even more of our products.
He added: “I was talking to one of the delegates from Canada and she was saying she thought there’d be a big appetite for our American-style pancakes in North America.
“We make lovely, fluffy buttermilk pancakes using the best in class equipment we have imported from America.
“By adding our special brand of Village Bakery magic, I believe our pancakes are even better than the original American ones.”
After the tour of the bakery, the commercial officers were given the chance to make their own sourdough bread in the bakery’s cutting edge test kitchen, under the watchful eye of Paul Andrew, a Master Baker and Bakery Specialist at the Village Bakery.
He said: “I think it’s fair to say that they were totally blown away by what they’ve seen today, which is essentially one of the most modern bakeries in the world where we marry the artisan skills of craft bakers with high-volume production.
“What we make in our bakeries reflects what we do here in the new product development kitchen which is an artisan bakery, from the way we mix to the way we condition the dough, then to the way we finally mix and shape all the dough pieces down to resting and baking.
“The products we develop here are then replicated in scale so that they are exactly the same but making many more of them at one time.
“We have given them a taste of what it’s like to be a proper baker, feeling the flour and the dough. They got to be a baker for 30-45 minutes and they loved it.
“Hopefully, they will now become our ambassadors and tell the world about how amazing our breads are.”