SMEs in the Welsh food system (August 2021)
This independent report provides a pioneering analysis of a foundational reliance system which challenges romantic preconceptions about local food and alternative distribution systems. One crucial problem in the system is that the number of SMEs has not increased over the past decade while micro firms generating low incomes have proliferated. More purchasing of local food is no solution because the Welsh food system is heavily dependent on imports and exports to England and the EU when Welsh farm producers are narrowly specialised in meat and livestock. SME processors need access to volume demand which can only come through supermarket chains and food service distributors which compete aggressively on price so that they offer suppliers narrow financial margins which make SME expansion difficult. Hence the report’s policy recommendations to refocus Welsh Government policy around more infrastructural support through food parks and innovation centres and to offer public contracts which encourage locally owned food service distributors to stock more Welsh lines.