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Pembroke Dock food company receives award




Top award: Welshman’s caviar

A FOOD company based in Warrior Way, Pembroke Dock has won a prestigious food Oscar’s award and had their produce showcased at the National Assembly in Cardiff.

Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company received two golden stars at the annual ‘Great Taste’ awards, an event organised by the Guild for Fine Foods. Their products are also being promoted alongside others from Pembrokeshire at the ‘Best of Wales’ event in Cardiff Bay.

The Award was for their Welshman’s caviar, a hand-picked laver seaweed from the Pembrokeshire Coast. The name ‘Welshman’s caviar’ was given to lava bread by the famous actor Richard Burton, who often visited Pembrokeshire, because he loved it so much. Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company carefully dry it rather than boil it so it can then be sprinkled over a variety of dishes.

The annual Great Taste award, organised by the Guild for Fine Foods, is one of the largest blind tested food awards. It’s a tough competition with over 400 highly respected judges to impress in an attempt to earn 1, 2 or 3 gold stars.

Pembrokeshire Beach Food Company began in 2010 as a small street food trader, attending local markets in Pembrokeshire. Since 2011, they have opened several beach shacks around Pembrokeshire, including Café Mor in Freshwater West. They won Best British Street food in 2011 allowing them to cater for the 2012 Olympic Games throughout the Olympic village. In 2014 they won best food/street takeaway at the BBC Radio 4 Food and Farming awards.

The company’s core values are to use sustainable, high quality produce, sourced locally where possible. They are strong supporters of the Marine Conservation Society and strive to lessen their impact on the beautiful coast that surrounds them.

The team helping create their products are affectionately called Welsh mermaids.

Following their success, Sales Mermaid, Fran Barnikel says: “We plan to continue to run the award winning street concession at Freshwater West from Easter to September. We also intend to cater at Glastonbury, Hay Literary Festival as well as many other local food fairs and events.

“On the deli side we hope to grow our presence in deli’s and farm shops across the UK. We now stock 170 shops, including Fortnum and Masons. We will be launching an exciting new flavour of our Ship’s Biscuits next month.”

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Plan submitted for £2m holiday pods near Tenby



£2M PLANS for wheelchair accessible holiday lodges at the site of a Pembrokeshire deer park attraction, which has animals from the Queen’s estate, would make the county a more disability-friendly location, its applicants say.

In an application submitted to Pembrokeshire County Council, Mr and Mrs Evans seek permission for 15 lodges at Great Wedlock, Gumfreston, near Tenby, the site of a 176-acre deer farm attraction, opened last year, and a recently-granted market traders’ barn.

In a supporting statement, the applicants say: “Over the last 48 years, my wife and I have developed Holiday Parks firstly in Pembrokeshire and then throughout the UK. We decided to return to Pembrokeshire where it all started for us in 1976, to develop the deer park and are now looking to develop the wheelchair accessible lodge development, to support our business and for the benefit of Pembrokeshire and its economy.

“In 2020 we bought Great Wedlock Farm and set about applying for planning permission to open the farm to the public to provide a new tourism destination and allow visitors to re-connect with the countryside and natural beauty Pembrokeshire has to offer. The deer were purchased from Woburn Abbey and some from the late Queen’s estate (to ensure the highest quality of deer breeding stock). We opened the deer park in May 2023 with a great emphasis on catering for disabled persons and the elderly.”

They say the deer park has disability-friendly facilities, along with a specially adapted MPV allowing disabled visitors to the deer park to go on ‘Safari,’ viewing the deer, as well as electric buggies and trailers for wheelchair users.

“There is an ever-increasing demand for the type of development that we are now looking to undertake. We are now applying for 15 wheelchair accessible lodges that will be made available for those with accessible needs, specially designed and manufactured by Quality Pods Wales (located in Pembroke Dock). Using local suppliers underpins our business model to support the wider Pembrokeshire economy. Current build costs to complete the development are circa £2m which will add considerable income to local suppliers, contractors and the lodge manufacturer. This will bring our total investment across the site to some £10m, funded wholly by our own funds.”

The applicants add: “The development of these units will provide an inclusive and accessible environment for guests, in addition to the work we have undertaken at the main park already,” adding it would “also take pressure off the local housing stock especially as second homes are noted as an issue surrounding local affordability and availability of accommodation for permanent residents residing in Pembrokeshire”.

“Our initial research has noted that disability organisations often have issues seeking accessible accommodation in Pembrokeshire. Demand is considered to be high, with access organisations already wishing to book accommodation all-year round for their members. This development could support year-round holidays, which would be of great benefit to the local economy.”

They hope the scheme, if granted, would create five full-time jobs.

They finish: “I realise it is against the current LDP policy however this is a very special development for those of us with accessibility problems and I really do feel that an exception could be made in this case, without setting a precedent for future planning applications.”

The application will be considered by planners at a later date.

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Food wholesaler Harlech acquires rival as part of expansion plan



A FAST-GROWING food wholesaler has taken over a rival company as part of its expansion in South West Wales.

Harlech Foodservice has acquired Celtic Foodservices and says the firm which is based in Pembroke Dock in Pembrokeshire is a “perfect fit”.

The move is part of an overall £6 million plan to create 150 new jobs and comes a few months after Harlech opened a new depot in Carmarthen where 15 sales staff and drivers have already been recruited.

It was spurred by the company’s growth over the past three years which has seen sales increase from £32 million to a record turnover of around £50 million, with profit at an all-time high of more than £2 million.

According to Harlech, which has other bases in Merthyr Tydfil, Criccieth in Gwynedd and Chester, the expansion is being driven by the growing demand from customers in South West Wales, particularly in the hospitality sector.

All 12 members of staff at Celtic Foodservices are transferring to Harlech, including director Jason Davies, and the premises in Pembroke Dock will also be part of the new set-up.

Harlech Managing Director David Cattrall said: “I am delighted we have successfully acquired Celtic Foodservice and this strategic acquisition is a significant step forward in our mission to expand our footprint into South Wales.

“Celtic Foodservice has built a strong reputation for delivering high-quality products and exceptional service to its customers.

“By integrating Celtic Foodservice into our operations, we are poised to deliver even greater value to our customers through an expanded range of products, improved logistics, and enhanced customer service capabilities.

“I am excited about the opportunities this acquisition brings and am committed to ensuring a smooth transition for all Celtic Foodservice customers and employees. “Our combined resources and expertise will enable us to better serve the foodservice industry, driving growth and innovation.

“I am looking forward to welcoming Jason Davies and the Celtic Foodservice team to the Harlech family and working together to achieve new heights in the industry.”

Mr Cattrall added Harlech was responding to the challenges faces by hotels, pubs and restaurants with “aggressively competitive” prices.

He said: “There is clearly a big appetite for our approach in disrupting the way foodservice companies have traditionally operated.

“We have rejected the common practice of having inflated prices and increasing ‘negotiated’ prices without notice.

“Instead we have launched our new Trust Our Prices strategy with transparent and competitive pricing, backed up by excellent customer service.

“And to make life easier our customers can order up to 10pm, with next day deliveries six days a week.

“The acquisition of Celtic Foodservices is another new and important milestone our drive to provide a first class service to new and existing customers in every single corner of Wales.”

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Staff locked in rooms and told to sign forms over industrial action



UNITE THE UNION has put a called out and quashed abhorrent “bully-boy” tactics by Tata management at Port Talbot yesterday (Thurs 6 June) over planned industrial action.

Around 250 workers were brought together in a room at Tata in Port Talbot. The invite to the meeting said it was to discuss the consultation period of workers and it was described as a ‘business update’.

In the room, staff very quickly realised that wouldn’t be the case – instead they were forced to fill in a form about whether they were going to be taking part in industrial action or not. Staff are not legally required to tell their employer at any point if they are taking part in industrial action.

Following these revelations and intervention by Unite reps, Tata has agreed to stop any such meetings taking place in the future.

Unite general secretary Sharon Graham said: “This is appalling behaviour from Tata management but we should expect nothing less from a company which is hell-bent on closing the steel works and destroying Welsh communities.

Unite will not stand for these bully-boy practices by Tata. Our reps have put a quick end to this despicable tactic and it will not be tolerated in future.

During the meeting, senior management physically blocked the doorways to the room, to stop Unite members leaving, as well as blocking the corridors to leave the plant. Management staff then made sure everybody had filled in the form.
These actions also took place publicly and workers didn’t have anywhere private to write down their intention (or not) of taking industrial action and had managers surveilling them at all times.

This is the latest in a series of disgraceful behaviours by Tata that have recently included threats to cut redundancy pay for members taking part in industrial action.

Unite Welsh regional secretary Peter Hughes added: “I’m disgusted by how our members have been treated by Tata but it comes as little surprise. They have a history of heavy-handed actions and ignoring basic decencies. Unite has put an end to such behaviour but are demanding an explanation and full apology for this misuse of power. These actions by Tata will simply fuel our members in their fight to see these vital steel works remain open.”

Around 1,500 Tata steelworkers based in Port Talbot and Newport Llanwern will stage industrial action over the company’s plans to close its blast furnaces and cut 2,800 jobs. The workers will begin working to rule as well as taking part in a continuous overtime ban from 18 June.

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