Following a competitive tender process, the Welsh Government Food & Drink Division has appointed Levercliff to continue as the facilitators for both the Drinks and Sustainability Clusters for the next two years with the possibility of this being extended for a further year.
The Drinks Cluster has been managed by Levercliff since 2017 and the Sustainability Cluster since 2020 and are a core part of the strategy the Welsh Government has for supporting and future-proofing the food and drink sector in Wales.
The Welsh Government Vision for the Food & Drink industry from 2021 sets the ambition to ‘create a strong and vibrant Welsh food and drink sector with a global reputation for excellence, having one of the most environmentally and socially responsible supply chains in the world’. This includes the need to help Industry reduce the carbon footprint of manufacturing through process efficiency, resource use, and waste reduction. The Vision recognises that a Cluster Network strategy plays a key role in the dissemination of latest market and research information to food and drink businesses.
The Food and Drink Wales Clusters Programme was developed to ‘bring together suppliers, academia and government with the key objective of helping businesses achieve accelerated growth in sales, profit and employment’. Clusters seek to capture the economic advantages, from which business can benefit, through a cohesive network of various actors who have formed around a shared interest.
Covering all aspects of the drinks industry, the drinks cluster incorporates the Beer and Cider, Spirits, Wine and Non-Alcoholic Special Interest Groups. Each Special Interest Group has an identity and marketing strategy tailored to each sector’s positioning and needs. The Drinks Cluster has around 170 members across the four special interest groups that it operates.
Welsh Government seeks to support the Welsh Food and Drink Industry in their quest to have one of the most sustainable supply chains in the world. The Sustainability Cluster brings together agri-food companies that have sustainability at the core of their growth aspirations. The cluster now has over 130 members engaged and promotes best practice across the industry.
Levercliff will draw on their previous experiences and successes in operating these clusters to deliver a programme of activity that will help enhance the cluster member businesses and further strengthening the food & drink sector in Wales.
Mark Grant, Associate Director at Levercliff, comments:
“We are absolutely delighted to have been successful in retaining both the Drinks Cluster and Sustainability Cluster. With both clusters being awarded for the next two years and the possibility of a third year being added, it creates the platform for the producers, academia and other key stakeholders involved with the running of the cluster to think more strategically and longer term about the challenges facing each of the sectors.
It continues to be an incredibly difficult period for our cluster members, and we look forward to collaborating with them to ensure that their hard work and tenacity delivers the success that they deserve.”