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Leading food wholesaler pegs prices to help hotels and restaurants beat inflation

20 October 2023
A leading food distribution company has slashed prices by up to 50 per cent to help Welsh hotels, restaurants and pubs struggling to combat soaring costs. Harlech Foodservice have launched their new Trust Our Prices campaign with 321 popular lines having their prices cut and a further 57 prices frozen until January 1.

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They include over 30 per cent off the price of eggs, 26 per cent off baked beans and tomato paste, 20 per cent off butter and 14 per cent off paper napkins and a whopping 50 per cent off Bisto gravy.

Harlech Head of Sales Chris Gregson has overseen the reductions and he said: “We review our prices weekly against some of the biggest wholesalers in the UK, saving our customers time as we’ve carried out the price comparison for them.

“Our list prices were already very competitive but we appreciate that our customers have found it difficult to plan with confidence when faced with a raft of cost increases, so we have listened to them and taken the decision to lock in the prices of many of our biggest selling lines for three months.

“This gives our customers across Wales and into the North West and the Midlands the chance to plan in the knowledge that our food prices will not be going up until January at the earliest.

“They will be staying put or being cut if the prices we pay fall – that will give our customers some certainty in an increasingly uncertain world.

“This is something that is available to all our customers and couples perfectly with our fantastic service which allows customers to order online up to 10pm at night and get up to 6 days delivery each week.”

Harlech introduced six-day delivery last year to enable customers to be more flexible so that if fine weather brought a surge in trade then businesses could swiftly re-stock ready for the next day.

It will also make it easier for those businesses to plan for the busy Christmas period with the certainty that their costs will remain stable and they will be able to maximise profits.

Chris added: “It means they can plan their menus in the knowledge that they will be paying the same amount – or less – for the same products in December as they are now.

“They know what their margins are and they will be the same at Christmas as they are now and if we see the cost of items reduce dramatically then we will move our prices down to pass that onto our customers.

“As a matter of course we review our competitors’ pricing every week and that enables us to always have a competitive list price - and we check those prices so our customers don’t have to.

“We want them to be able to trust our prices and us.”

Pizza making

Rhos youngsters get expert guidance on pizza-making from chef Steve

11 October 2023
Youngsters at a primary school in Wrexham have been learning how to make an authentic pizza with a course on making the Italian favourite courtesy of a top chef.

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Stephen Griffiths, Development Chef at Harlech Foodservice, one of Wales’s leading food distribution companies, called in at Ysgol Maes y Mynydd, in Rhosllanerchrugog, to help pupils turn out Italy’s answer to Welsh rarebit.

He had prepared a ball of pizza dough for each pupil and for staff members to join in, rolling them out and topping them with cheese, tomato, mushroom, sweetcorn, peppers, salami and even pineapple.

They clearly enjoyed their work under his expert eye and with a few cooking tips thrown in along the way before the school kitchen staff popped them in the ovens and minutes later out came a selection of tasty-looking pizzas to be popped into boxes to be enjoyed at home.

Stephen said: “This is part of the work we are doing with schools across North East Wales this summer as part of the Welsh Local Government Association 12 days of Food and Fun and at a number of school we are providing pizza-making sessions to give the children a taste for cooking.

“It’s about the field to fork initiative and is such a healthy thing to do and helps them learn about the value of good food and the pleasure you can get not just from eating it but from preparing it too.

“It helps them learn about the value of good, healthy food and we have included at least one vegetable in each pizza and ensured they have the right kind of cheese, mozzarella.

“It’s also important to learn about the right use of quantities – we don’t want too much tomato. No-one wants a soggy bottom.

“It’s so important for young people to learn about the value of good food at an early age and to understand and enjoy preparing and cooking healthy and tasty meals and hopefully it encourages the whole family to get involved.”

The Food and Fun Programme was organised through Wrexham County Borough Council’s Healthy Schools Team and ran from Monday to Thursday for the first three weeks of the summer holidays.

It has had a big thumbs-up from pupils and staff according to Ysgol Maes y Mynydd’s Well-Being Manager Jane Hand who said: “We have been working with Harlech Foodservice and Wrexham County Borough Council to provide healthy breakfasts, snacks and lunches during the 12 days of Food and Fun.

“We are also supporting families in what is a difficult economic climate and as well a taking home a pizza today the pupils will be taking home a bag of store cupboard essentials funded by WLGA and chosen by Wrexham Council and Harlech Foodservice to be healthy and nutritious as well as tasty.

“What we are teaching them is to have a healthy lifestyle for life and the best time to teach them that is when they are young because they really take it on board.”

Stephen Griffiths was impressed with the pupils’ efforts and they were looking forward to taking home them home with Ella Jones saying: “I liked rolling the dough out and putting sweetcorn on it and I’m going to take it home to eat.”

Odin Bowkett-Pullen said: “I cook pizzas at home and I’ve really enjoyed choosing the different toppings and putting them on. I’ll take it home and share it with my dad.

Snack and story

Snacks and stories go down a treat at a summer of fun at Conwy’s libraries

11 September 2023
Children across Conwy county have been immersing themselves in the world of books at 60 hour-long Snack and Story/Snac a Stori sessions across the county’s libraries this summer.

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They have featured books by authors from comedian and TV personality David Walliams to Llanrwst’s own Myrddin ap Dafydd and have been organised by Conwy County Borough Council’s Libraries Service.

As well as listening to stories in English and Welsh the children aged up to 11 have taken part in craft sessions and have also tucked in to wholesome and tasty Welsh drinks and snacks provided by Welsh food distribution giant Harlech Foodservice.

The county’s five area libraries at Abergele, Colwyn Bay, Conwy, Llandudno and Llanrwst have held twice-weekly sessions while there have been two sessions each at Cerrigydrudion, Kinmel Bay, Llanfairfechan, Penmaenmawr and Penrhyn Bay.

The events have been a big success according to Principal Librarian and Information Manager Sharon Morgan on a visit to Llanrwst Library where the children and the mums and grandmothers, dads, grandads and carers looking after them loved both snacks and stories.

Sharon said: “We have been holding these sessions through the summer holidays as part of the Summer Reading Challenge to link it to activities to encourage children to read over the summer.

“It helps maintain their reading level over the summer because sometimes schools can see a dip in pupils’ reading levels when they return to school in September.

“They also get a chance to enjoy some craft work and a snack and drink as well, provided by Harlech and it gives the children’s parents and carers a bit of a time out too and we know these activities are popular because they always fill up very quickly.

“The pandemic lockdown was very difficult for children and their families and these sessions have proved to have a good social aspect for parents as well.”

The books and stories are chosen from across the spectrum from authors as diverse as Eric Carle, who created the Very Hungry Caterpillar, and children’s authors in English and Welsh like T Llew Jones, Llanrwst-born Myrddin ap Dafydd, Cathy Cassidy, who now lives in Colwyn Bay, and Leeds-born Tom Palmer who has held author sessions in Conwy.

The refreshments for the events have had a distinctly Welsh flavour with fruit drinks from Radnor Hills, from Knighton, Princes Gate mineral water from Pembrokeshire and flapjacks made by The Pudding Compartment in Flint, all supplied by Harlech Foodservice which has bases at Criccieth, Chester and Merthyr.

Ursula Scurrah-Price, Harlech’s Business Development Manager for Health, Care and Education, said: “The Snack and Story sessions have gone down really well and so have the flapjacks and drinks and we’ve had very positive feedback.

“It’s such a great initiative by Conwy Council to hold these sessions through the summer when it can be difficult to keep young children amused and it’s a real help if mums and dads can bring them along to events like these.

“They clearly really engage with the stories and activities and they seem to enjoy the snacks as well and wherever possible we try to support Welsh producers because food here is high quality and it keeps the Welsh pound in Wales.”

Young mum Rhiannon Owen was at the library with her youngsters Betsie, one, and Stanley, three, and she said: “The children have really enjoyed the events and it’s been really good for them.

“The really like coming to the library which is a really important asset to the town. It’s very family-friendly, much more so than when I was a child.”

Harlech Foodservice staff and NHS

Here come the girls at equal opps employer Harlech Foodservice

23 August 2023
A leading food wholesaler has bolstered its reputation as an equal opportunities employer with three key appointments going to women.

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Harlech Foodservice’s announcement comes just weeks after it announced that its new Head of Purchasing, a senior management position, would be Josie Swift, who is based at its Chester office.

The three new promotions are at the business headquarters in Llanystwmdwy, near Criccieth, Laura Holland as Customer Experience Manager, Alana Pritchard Business Support Manager, and Ursula Scurrah-Price Business Development Manager for Health Care & Education.

Laura, who lives in Mynytho, near Abersoch, is originally from Stockport and worked in men’s fashion and in marketing after achieving a degree in Surface Pattern at Huddersfield University.

She joined Harlech in 2019, just before the pandemic hit, has worked in a number of roles and said: “The only thing I haven’t done is drive a forklift truck but it means I do know how the business runs.

“I do like it here although working through the pandemic was difficult, especially for our customers because it all went very quiet.

“My degree has turned out to be really useful with a lot of variety and I learned a lot about business and marketing which has proved valuable.

“Living here is wonderful and most of my family are now here including my brother who runs a pub in Abersoch and is one of our customers.

“It’s a lovely part of he world and it’s good that I can progress my career here at Harlech and my experience in different parts of the business is important in helping our customers.”

Alana Pritchard is the new Business Support Manager who analyses a whole range of data from across the company to support the various departments.

She began in telesales in 2017 and became a key account advisor, then a purchasing assistant before becoming a purchasing analyst and now in her new role, offering detailed analysis of how the whole company works.

She said: “It’s all very different and I enjoy it a lot because there’s always something new every day and it’s always interesting – data analysis is a vital tool for business now.

“It’s good to be able to progress – I’ve just bought a house in Clynnogfawr and it’s great to have the opportunity to build a career here.”

While Laura and Alana will be based at Llanystwmdwy, Ursula will have a roving role across North Wales as a Business Development Manager.

Ursula, from Tremadog and now living in Trefor, joined the company on telesales in 2016 and worked there until the pandemic hit and she was furloughed.

On her return she worked in customer support, dealing with schools and care homes and she is now on the road as a Business Development Manager which takes her across North Wales.

She said: “I like the fact that it’s different every day. I’m very much a people person and I enjoy getting to meet and talk to so many different people, often people I’ve spoken to on the phone for the last seven years but never met so that will be good.

“Getting this role also shows that I’ve progressed in the company and I feel I’ve broken the mould in what was a male-dominated area.”

Harlech Foodservice Managing Director David Cattrall said: “These appointments show that as a company we are an equal opportunities employer which rewards ability.

“Quite simply here at Harlech if you’re good enough it doesn’t matter if your male or female and increasingly young women are taking on different roles across the company at all levels and doing them very well.

“It is important too that people who join Harlech Foodservice know that there is a career pathway within the company that can enable them to progress on merit and that’s important in a largely rural area like this.”

Welsh food giant steps up to help families as food prices rocket

Welsh food giant steps up to help families as food prices rocket

14 August 2023
Struggling families across North Wales battling to cope with food price inflation in double figures are being given a helping hand by one of Wales’s biggest food distributors.

Harlech Foodservice are working with councils across North Wales to supply tasty and nutritious meals and snacks plus store cupboard essentials to take home.

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It’s part of a Welsh Government scheme which sees pupils from Anglesey, Denbighshire, Flintshire and Wrexham enjoy 12 days of activities at their schools in the first three weeks of the summer holidays.

As part of that scheme children at participating schools receive free breakfast and lunch which bookend a morning of fun overseen by volunteer members of staff.

Key Account Manager David Roberts and other Harlech volunteers have helped school staff pack the bags of food and he said: “It’s gone down very well with the schools – they love it.

“It’s not just a question of delivering supplies, we also have to look at the nutritional value of what we provide because this is about healthy eating and at the same time keeping the children interested in what they’re eating.

“It’s no good providing nutritious food that they don’t like because they just won’t eat it so we have to make sure it is tasty as well because much of what we do now with schools and healthcare is about environmental and social benefit.

“This is funded by Welsh Government so we have to ensure that we’re seen to be giving back something to the communities where we operate whether it’s providing meals for schools or for the NHS in Wales.

“That’s a big consideration for us and it’s the right thing to do and at the same time we want to give them nutritious food they want to eat and wherever possible we source that food as locally possible so that the money spent stays in Wales.”

Hayley Jones, Principal Catering and Cleaning Manager for Denbighshire, said: “We have six schools in Denbighshire taking part in the summer Food and Fun programme which provide 12 days of activities, crafts, sport, food and nutrition.

“We have done Food and Fun for the past eight years here in Denbighshire but for the first time at the end of the 12 days each pupil, drawn from primary and secondary schools in St Asaph, Rhyl and Prestatyn, receives a bag of food to take home.

“Food and Fun is open to all pupils and they really seem to be enjoying it and at the end they take home a goody bag including breakfast cereals, pasta, biscuits, baked beans, tinned tomatoes, mayonnaise, stock cubes and the kind of things that can be made into nutritious meals.”

Helen Jones, of Wrexham Council’s Healthy Schools campaign, said: “The scheme runs from Monday to Thursday for the first three weeks of the summer holidays and we have six primary schools taking part with teachers dedicating their free time to supervise.

“It is something we have done in Wrexham since 2016 and we were one of the first local authorities to be involved and this year we have received additional funding for Bags Bwyd.

“This means at the end of the 12 days of activities we are able to send the pupils home with a bag of everyday essentials to help families cope during the current cost of living crisis.

“We have worked with the team at Harlech Foodservice to work out what’s available to provide store cupboard staples to take home as well as providing healthy lunches and breakfasts and on Thursdays the parents are invited into the school to enjoy a heathy, nutritious and tasty meal with the children.”

Harlech Foodservice Director of Healthcare and Education Mark Lawton said: “It has proved really popular with the schools and we’re working with Denbighshire, Wrexham, Flintshire on Food and Fun and with Anglesey as well for the first time and we have a separate scheme running with Conwy Council.

“We don’t just drop the consignments at the school gates either, we bring it in and we help pack the bags too.

“We have also co-ordinated the orders, working with the councils to put the list of products together. It wasn’t just a shopping list for us, we worked on what the bags should contain.

“This summer there will be 600 bags going out in Denbighshire alone and there has been excellent take-up across all four counties with over 2,000 pupils involved and enjoying healthy and tasty food as part of their programme of activities.

Harlech Foodservices has bases at Criccieth, in Gwynedd, Chester and Merthyr Tydfil and between the three locations, the company employs around 200 staff and runs a fleet of vehicles to deliver up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.

DPJ Foundation

Family of young man who took his own life back rural mental health charity

31 July 2023
The family of a young man who tragically took his own life are on a mission to raise awareness of the help that’s available for people with mental health problems.

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They are still heartbroken after losing Twm Bryn, from Chwilog, on the Llyn Peninsula, just days after his 21st birthday in October 2021.

His parents Bryn and Bethan Jones, paid tribute to the work of the DPJ Foundation that’s dedicated to helping people in rural communities deal with mental health issues.

Twm’s death has also inspired Harlech Foodservice, one of Wales’s leading food distribution companies, to support the charity.

They have donated £1,000 to the DPJ Foundation with £1 from the sale of every tub of their Welsh Maid ice cream going to the organisation set up to help those in the agricultural sector suffering from poor mental health.

Harlech Director Andrew Foskett is a family friend and his son, Toby, and Twm were close friends from their schooldays.

Bethan Jones, a nurse herself, said: “The problem living where we are there’s little availability of help for people with mental health problems and at the time we weren’t aware of the DPJ Foundation until afterwards.

“I’m just so glad that its profile is being raised now because there’s no health services available. It could have helped Twm and it will definitely help others.

“We need to raise the profile because it’s OK not to feel OK. It’s nothing to be ashamed about.

“It’s really good that a local business like Harlech is supporting the work of the DPJ Foundation in memory of Twm because it’s a brilliant organisation and Twm and Toby were really good friends.”

Twm was a keen cyclist who competed regularly but after an unprovoked attack outside a nightclub in Pwllheli he suffered from depression and was on a waiting list but died before he was able to access support.

Andrew Foskett said: “This is very personal to us because Twm Bryn and my son Toby were best friends from their days in primary school and Twm and his family are members of the local farming community.

“Just because we live in a beautiful part of the country doesn’t make people in rural Wales less likely to suffer from mental health issues.

“In fact working long and lonely hours, often in difficult conditions, can make it all too easy to be affected by depression and anxiety.

“The loss of Twm Bryn has made the work of the DPJ Foundation something very close to our hearts at Harlech and made us want to support the charity.

“They are the Samaritans of the farming world and offer such a support network throughout rural Wales and that has been particularly important through the pandemic lockdown when issues of loneliness and isolation were exacerbated.

“These are the people who grow our food and if we can’t support them who else is going to?

“Food from Wales is renowned for its quality but there can be a price to be paid and the DPJ Foundation are there to support people in the rural community and they have helped so many.”

The DPJ Foundation was set up in 2016 by the family of young Pembrokeshire agricultural contractor Daniel Picton-Jones, a father of two, who took his own life after struggling with depression.

Since then it has helped hundreds of people across rural Wales at the same time as raising awareness of the issue of mental health in the agricultural sector which has one of the highest rates of suicide.

They hold Mental Health Awareness courses, a confidential Share the Load counselling and helpline service, and are active on social media to signpost the ways to get help and show that there is always help available.

DPJ Foundation Charity Manager Kate Miles said: “We are delighted to receive this continued support from Harlech Foodservice, building on their sponsorship of our Tractor Raffle last year.

“It is great that Harlech have decided to donate £1 from the proceeds of the sales of their Welsh Maid Ice Cream tubs to us, but also, by including our logo on the tubs, it is helping us to raise awareness of our services and hopefully will help us to reach more people.

“The fact is that suicide can be prevented and we want to ensure that people know that making a confidential call to our Share the Load helpline can really help. The helpline is available 24 hours on 0800 587 4262.”

It is something that is important to Harlech Foodservice as well – during the pandemic lockdown when there was a dramatic rise in mental health issues across the UK they launched their own mental health support service.

They have a team of trained staff ready to provide the right assistance and ask the right questions if a colleague is showing signs of feeling under pressure.

Harlech, who have bases in Criccieth, Chester and Merthyr Tydfil, employ around 200 staff and runs a fleet of vehicles to deliver up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.

For more on the work of the DPJ Foundation go to thedpjfoundation.co.uk

Stories and Snacks at Conwy Libraries

17 July 2023
Conwy library service is delighted to be offering free snacks and drinks to young readers this summer thanks to sponsorship support.

Harlech Foods Ltd is providing a snack and drink for up to 600 children across Conwy County’s ten libraries over the summer holidays.

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The Snack and Story initiative started last year as part of the annual Summer Reading Challenge. It gives school-aged children the opportunity to spend time in a library with others their own age, and enjoy a story and snack.

Sharon Morgan, Principal Librarian and information Manager said: “We’re really pleased to be able to run the Snack and Story initiative again this year, it wouldn’t be possible without support from Harlech and the local companies they work with. We hope that children coming into the library will be excited to sign up to the Summer Reading Challenge, the theme for this year is ‘Ready, Set, Read!’”

Harlech Foods Ltd provide catering supplies for all of Conwy County Borough Council schools. They’ve sourced supplies forStory and Snack from local Welsh suppliers The Pudding Compartment, and Radnor Hills.

Stephen Griffiths from Harlech Foods said: “‘At Harlech foods we have a strong ethos of supporting the community wherever possible. We are delighted to be supporting Snack and Story. This project is a great opportunity for us to give something back and to benefit those children visiting the libraries across Conwy this summer.”

Cllr Aaron Wynne, Conwy’s Cabinet Member for Leisure and Culture said: “We’re really grateful to Harlech Foods and their suppliers for helping make the Snack and Story initiative happen in Conwy libraries again this summer. Our libraries are amazing facilities for children and families during the summer holidays, and all year round, and provide much appreciated resources, activities, information and advice for everyone who visits.”

Find out more about this year’s Summer Reading Challenge at: summerreadingchallenge.org.uk

Find out more about Snack and Story sessions at: FREE - Snack and Story Sessions at Conwy Libraries - Conwy County Borough Council

School pupils enjoy a special day of cricket at historic Llandudno ground

School pupils enjoy a special day of cricket at historic Llandudno ground

12 July 2023
Young people from a Llandudno special school have enjoyed a day of cricket, lovely cricket at the town’s famous Oval.

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The ground which has played host to touring teams from the West Indies and New Zealand as well as to Glamorgan welcomed 60 pupils from the town’s Ysgol Y Gogarth special school for their own Cricket Festival.

They enjoyed over four hours of cricketing activities under the skilled eyes of volunteers from Llandudno Cricket Club’s men’s and women’s teams as well as from Cricket Wales with barbecue catering provided by club sponsors Harlech Foodservice.

Harlech Development Chef Stephen Griffiths was at the griddle to serve up a tasty selection of sausages and burgers for the 50 staff and volunteers taking part in the event.

Harlech also sent their own team of volunteers led by Llandudno Ladies batter Brittany Loughborough and members of the title-chasing Llandudno Ladies team which is sponsored by the leading food distribution company and their partner, healthy drinks supplier iPro Hydrate.

Brittany, one of Harlech’s team of Territory Account Managers, said: “It’s a brilliant event organised by Cricket Wales and shows how inclusive the game is here with children of all kinds of abilities taking part and enjoying the game.

“There is even table-top cricket for those in wheelchairs though they have been getting involved out on The Oval as well."

“Llandudno Cricket Club have really helped expand the game in the town and now run three men’s and two ladies teams as well as eight junior sides and we have just provided the ladies with new kit.”

The cricket club have long established links with Ysgol Y Gogarth and members have gone into the school to deliver sessions on the game.

Cricket Club Manager Sam Rimmington said: “We just thought why don’t we do a festival for the school that everyone can take part in because we want to involve as many people as possible in the game.

“We have organised it with Joe Lambe, of Cricket Wales, who is a life member of the club and the Lord’s Taverners are also involved and have helped fund the event.”

Even a blustery wind couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the young people and the school’s Sports Co-ordinator, Aaron Jones, said: “It is hugely important to see our students engaging in activity out in the community.

“There’s been an amazing turnout, about a quarter of the school are here and they get so much out of this.

“It’s a big part of the school’s ethos to get our pupils out there and engaging in activities, it’s a reals bonus for them and you can see how happy they all are, not just with the cricket but being here in a new environment and sharing it with their friends."

“We want to encourage them to take part in in physical activity and hopefully see them involved in sport for the rest of their lives and cricket is a game which can help them do that.”

Sue Wells, Cricket Wales Area Manager, said: “It’s brilliant for the pupils to be able to come here from the school and we hope to be involved in future community projects with our partners from the day.

“The game is growing in North Wales across a number of areas with some excellent community programmes.”

Harlech Foodservices has bases at Criccieth, in Gwynedd, and Chester and between the two locations, the company employs around 200 staff and runs a fleet of vehicles to deliver up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.

Harlech Foodservice warehouse

NHS tonic for growing food distribution firm

21 June 2023
A top wholesaler says it’s “hugely proud” to have won a contract to help feed 11,000 Welsh hospital patients every day.

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According to Harlech Foodservice, the three-year deal to supply the Welsh NHS with groceries, creating nine new jobs and providing continued stability for the rest of the 200-strong workforce.

The firm, which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and has its headquarters in Criccieth in Gwynedd, will be delivering 450 lines of dry store products like canned goods, pulses and rice to 120 locations across Wales, including general hospitals and community hospitals.

As well as its traditional customer base in the hospitality sector, Harlech also supplies schools across the six counties of North Wales and into the North West to serve up nutritious meals for 150,000 pupils daily.

In addition, Harlech is a major supplier to care homes across North and Mid Wales and has seen significant growth in that sector too.

As a result, the company is on course for record sales this year and as part of its growth strategy has invested £500,000 to increase storage capacity, reconfiguring the racking in its giant freezer and buying “bendy” forklift trucks to navigate the narrower aisles.

Health, Care and Education Director Mark Lawton said that winning the new business from NHS Wales was a major vote of confidence in Harlech.

He said: “It provides us with great stability throughout the year which is a big help in rebalancing our traditional core base of customers in hospitality who are by definition largely seasonal.

“It means we are part of the year-round foundational economy, providing essential goods and services and helping keep the Welsh pound in Wales, making it work hard to boost our nation’s prosperity – something that has been made possible by the enlightened procurement policies of NHS Wales.

“It certainly chimes with our ethos because wherever possible we also use Welsh companies for our support services, whether that’s for recycling, gardening or the electricians we use.

“Securing this contract will also help in terms of our logistics and delivery pattern pan-Wales and will help us minimise our carbon footprint. It’s about shortening the supply chain.

“It’s a real feather in Harlech’s cap and we’re really honoured and hugely proud to be supporting the NHS which does such a brilliant job. It was born in Wales and is one of our proudest achievements as a nation.

“The fact that we have been chosen as a trusted supplier is a real badge of honour and shows that Harlech delivers the gold standard in terms of food distribution, that we are safe, secure and compliant enough to supply hospitals across Wales.

“It sends an excellent message to all our existing customers and prospective customers, giving them reassurance and peace of mind about the quality of our service.”

Head of Operations Ian Evans said: “We see this as an important new contract for Harlech as it will create new jobs - four in North Wales and five in South Wales where we recently opened a new depot in Merthyr Tydfil.

“We have taken on new lorries and some of the posts are driving posts so its an important part of our expansion and strengthens our presence throughout Wales.”

Equally delighted was Harlech managing director David Cattrall whose strategy has included securing additional, all-year round business from the public sector instead of being too reliant on often seasonal demand from the hospitality industry.

He said: “We have been serving NHS Wales for two years and we are pleased to see them showing support for Harlech Foodservice by rewarding us with further contracts.

“This supports our strategy to broaden across Wales using our strong Welsh supply chain, which supports the farming and manufacturing sectors and helps maintain many Welsh based jobs. We hope this is the start of a long term relationship with NHS Wales.”

Harlech Foodservice Ltd has bases at Criccieth, in Gwynedd, Chester, Merthyr Tydfil and between the three locations, the company employs around 200 staff and runs a fleet of 60 vehicles to deliver up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across The North West of England, Shropshire, the Midlands and across the whole of Wales.

Josie’s rapid rise from fish fingers to the top of the food chain at Harlech

5 June 2023
Fast-growing Harlech Foodservice’s new Head of Purchasing is a young woman who has climbed from the front line to senior management in just two years.

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University of Chester graduate Josie Swift knows all about food products and about the hospitality industry – she wrote her degree dissertation on the provenance of fish fingers and then ran pubs for brewing giant Greene King.

Josie, 29, originally from Reading but now living in Newton, Chester, switched careers after suffering a knee injury falling into a pub cellar and joined fast-growing Harlech two years ago as a purchasing assistant.

Within six months she was Supply Chain Manager, heading up a team dealing with all the company’s purchasing and based at their Chester office, off Sealand Road with easy access to their target areas for growth, the North West and West Midlands.

Harlech Managing Director David Cattrall said: “The top levels of the catering industry are generally dominated by men even though women make most food purchasing decisions and it is great to see a woman promoted on merit to bring some balance to our previously all male leadership team.

“Josie joined us as a purchasing assistant and quickly made the climb to junior management and now to senior management level where our strategic and tactical decisions are made.

“She has a managerial background with Greene King and is there on merit because of her ability and her skills and has shown a natural aptitude for the requirements of the role.”

Josie played a major role in organising the successful annual Harlech Food Expo at Llandudno which generated a record £600,000 in orders and attracted over 2,500 trade customers.

Her new promotion means she now heads up the team responsible for buying 5,000 product lines for the Criccieth-based business which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and is on course to double its turnover to more than £50 million after announcing a major contract with NHS Wales.

She said: “At university I studied animal behaviour and actually wrote my dissertation for my degree on the testing of fish fingers to see if they are really the type of fish they say they are.

“I worked in pubs part-time and then for Greene King, managing pubs until I had an unfortunate fall down a cellar and damaged my knee quite badly so I switched to office work and joined Harlech in Chester two years ago.

“We order directly from the suppliers and I love working with them, especially the businesses in Wales, and helping them grow and we can grow with them and I really love that.

“The Welsh Government have a big drive on to get Welsh suppliers providing Welsh products for Welsh schools and hospitals and we’re committed to that as well which us helping us win contracts.

“The fact that we also have a base in Chester means we can reach new customers in the North West of England and the Midlands and some of our suppliers from England can deliver to us more easily here than to Criccieth.

“It’s a great job, really fun. I love ice cream and one of the perks is that we get to test the new flavours the year before they come out.”

Harlech’s presence in Chester and Criccieth means that they can serve their traditional markets in the tourism and hospitality industries in North West Wales and win new business in North East Wales and in England.

In the past 12 months they have been awarded important contracts for schools in Flintshire and Wrexham – they already supply Gwynedd, Conwy and Denbighshire, as well as for Knowsley on Merseyside.

They also deliver to Keele University, in Staffordshire, where cutting food miles helped them win the contract along with their membership of TUCO – The University Caterers Organisation.

David Cattrall added: “What this appointment says about us as a company is that we are an equal opportunities employer which rewards ability and that Josie is just one of a number of women doing important jobs with us and doing them very well.”

Harlech Foodservice Ltd has bases at Criccieth, in Gwynedd, and Chester and between the two locations, the company employs around 200 staff and runs a fleet of 50 vehicles to deliver up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.

Green-fingered Tremadog youngsters grow their own flowers, fruit and veg

Green-fingered Tremadog youngsters grow their own flowers, fruit and veg

11 April 2023
Green-fingered youngsters at a Gwynedd primary school are growing their own thanks to a grant from a leading food company.

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Ysgol Y Gorlan, in Tremadog, is expanding its outdoor learning area and will soon be stepping up production of flowers, fruit and vegetables with the help of a £400 grant from Harlech Foodservice, one of Wales’s biggest food distribution companies.

The cash comes from the company’s 50th Anniversary Charity Fund which offers grants totalling £10,000 to good causes, organisations, clubs and charities across Harlech Foodservice’s area of operation in Wales and the border counties.

The request for help came from Pwllheli Rotary Club who applied to the fund for help to provide a new polytunnel so the green-fingered kids at the school can make even more of their outdoor area which includes a forest school and veg patch.

Teaching support assistant Gwenno Huws said: “As a school we work closely with the community and we have built a very good relationship with the Rotary Club while our commitment to Llais y Plant/Voice of the Child gives pupils a say in what they do.

“We asked the children what they wanted and they have come back to us and we have tried to provide it, whether it’s gardening and planting trees or even yoga.

“The polytunnel is on its way and we have been planting trees and making good use of the excellent outdoor space we have here.

“We planted flowers and potatoes the children took responsibility for watering the plants which we sold and the money we raised was spent on tools and equipment so they will be able to grow even more this year.

“We want them to take responsibility for what they do. It teaches them to think for themselves and to learn from their experiences – hopefully we will produce a good crop of gardeners too.”

Even on a day of rain and wind the pupils were out with wheelbarrows, spades and forks and Siwan, from Year Four, said: “I enjoy the outdoor learning and that it teaches us how to use the tools.

“My father’s uncle is a keen gardener and I like helping him. He’s 85 and he’s still gardening.”

Ynyr, Year Six, said: “I’m from a farm so I’m used to helping out and fixing things and it’s good to be outdoors. We’re all used to the weather here.”

Alicia Baker, from Harlech Foodservice, also braved the weather and she said: “It’s great to see the children out and getting stuck in with real enthusiasm and we’re delighted at Harlech that we’re able to help them.”

David Medcalf, of Pwllheli Rotary Club, said: “We work extensively with the schools in the area and we have an excellent relationship with Ysgol Y Gorlan.

“We have planted trees here and helped clear some of the woodland for the forest school and we’re helping fund the polytunnel and we’re very grateful to Harlech for donating as well.

“It’s all helping to create an alternative curriculum that’s more hands-on and practical even if the weather and they felt that a polytunnel would mean they could be outside even if it was raining.”

Harlech Managing Director David Cattrall said: “In the past 50 years we have grown from small beginnings into a major North Wales company with our base in Criccieth and we couldn’t have done that without the support of our loyal customers across the region.

“This charity fund is our way of saying thank you to the people of that community by sharing in our success and putting something back into the area which has supported us.”

Harlech Foodservices was founded by Colin and Gill Foskett above a shop in Harlech in 1972 and now delivers up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West from its modern bases in Criccieth and Chester.

Colin and Gill’s sons and daughter are still on the board and the third generation of the Foskett family are now among a workforce which has grown steadily as the business has expanded to include NHS Wales, care homes and schools, colleges and universities.

Prestatyn Athletic have the look of champions

Prestatyn Athletic have the look of champions

11 April 2023
A junior football team from Prestatyn is hoping a brand new kit will keep them on course for a league title.

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Unbeaten Prestatyn Athletic can top the Rhyl and District Under-12 Division if they win their games in hand after a run to the semi-final of the North Wales Under-13s Cup against teams a year older.

The new kit is courtesy of a grant from leading Welsh food distribution company Harlech Foodservice who were impressed by the progress of a side which has spent the past two seasons playing in a division for boys a year older than them.

Coach Andy Parry, a former goalkeeper with Prestatyn Wanderers, has been working with the boys since they were three years old when there were just four of them – they now have a strong squad and play in the nine-a-side Rhyl and District Junior League and next month are competing in an International Tournament in Blackpool.

Andy said: “I set up the team for my young lad and we’ve grown in numbers every season and now we’re up to 14 and they’re doing really well.

“We have a good mix of lads here. It is nice to win the cups but the main reward is seeing the development of the players and the smiles on their faces.

“We spent the last two years playing against sides a year older than us and we still did well and made up for the difference in age and size with skill and teamwork.

“We like to play football. We build out from the back and through the midfield so everyone in the team is involved.”

Andy works with assistant managers Dee Hobson and Mason Parry and the squad has weekly training sessions under lights on the 3G pitches at St Asaph Sports Centre.

David Roberts, Harlech’s Key Account Manager for Education, dropped in on a training session and was impressed. He said: “They’re a very talented group of players who clearly love their football and play the game in the right spirit.

“That’s a real testament to the coaches who have worked with them for such a long time and watching them in training I can see how they’ve had such a good season and have been able to compete against older boys for the past two years.”

Harlech Managing Director David Cattrall said: “In the past 50 years we have grown from small beginnings into a major North Wales company with our base in Criccieth and we couldn’t have done that without the support of our loyal customers across the region.

“This charity fund is our way of saying thank you to the people of that community by sharing in our success and putting something back into the area which has supported us.”

Harlech Foodservices was founded by Colin and Gill Foskett above a shop in Harlech in 1972 and now delivers up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West from its modern bases in Criccieth and Chester.

Colin and Gill’s sons and daughter are still on the board and the third generation of the Foskett family are now among a workforce which has grown steadily as the business has expanded to include NHS Wales, care homes and schools, colleges and universities.

𝗞𝗶𝗻𝗺𝗲𝗹 𝗕𝗮𝘆 𝗴𝗶𝗿𝗹𝘀 𝗰𝘂𝘁 𝗮 𝗳𝗼𝗼𝘁𝗯𝗮𝗹𝗹 𝗱𝗮𝘀𝗵 𝗶𝗻 𝗻𝗲𝘄 𝗸𝗶𝘁

Kinmel Bay girls cut a football dash in new kit

11 April 2023
A girls football team from Kinmel Bay are hoping a smart new kit will help them clinch a top four spot in the North Wales League.

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The club’s Under-14 team have been on an impressive unbeaten run since the New Year, holding league leaders Penrhyn Bay 2-2 after going 1-0 down with Summer Jones scoring from the spot and Baileigh Aaron also netting.

The new strip is courtesy of a grant from leading Welsh food distribution company Harlech Foodservice from their 50th Anniversary Fund which has seen them distribute over £10,000 to good causes across North Wales and the border counties.

The Kinmel Bay girls have been together as a team since they were five-years-old under the watchful eye of head coach Frank Standing who said: “We certainly look the part and we’re doing OK.

“We could even push for second place in the league and we’re into the second round of the League Cup as well.

“The way the league is structured we were in the top eight of the table for the first half of the season so we go on to play the other top seven sides in the second half.

“The girls are a great bunch and they work very hard. We have brought three girls in who are new to the club this season and they’re getting better and better.”

“Most of the team have been with me from the start and they show a lot of team spirit and really enjoy their football.

“There’s a lot of commitment too because they have to travel as far as Porthmadog and Cemaes Bay for away games but girls football is on the up and up.”

The North Wales Girls League has divisions for Under-17s and Under-15s so there is a progression for the players to senior football and the Kinmel Bay junior sides, boys and girls, train and play at the community-owned Y Morfa Sports Centre.

The Centre is run by the Kinmel Bay and Towyn Sports and Recreation Association where the football club, accredited Platinum Standard by the Football Association of Wales Trust, have about 250 players taking part on a weekly basis.

The facilities include an all-weather training area which is in action almost every evening as well as at weekends with players aged from four to 60.

The Under-14 Girls are captained by left-back Scarlett Gregson who said: “It’s a lot of fun and we’ve been playing well and I really enjoy the training sessions too.”

Central midfielder Molly Williams said: “I signed for Kinmel Bay this season because I wanted to improve my game and I knew the coaching was really good and it’s worked and we’re playing well.”

Britney Loughborough, Harlech Foodservice Local Account Manager, called to see the Under-14s in action and said: “I’m very impressed. They look a good side and they are obviously enjoying their sport and are keen to do well.

“It’s great that we have been able to help them and so many other good causes through the 50thAnniversary Fund.”

Harlech Managing Director David Cattrall said: “In the past 50 years we have grown from small beginnings into a major North Wales company with bases in Criccieth and Chester and we couldn’t have done that without the support of our loyal customers across the region.

“This is our way of saying thank you to the people of these communities and putting something back into an area which has supported us and played a huge part in our success.”

Harlech Foodservices was founded by Colin and Gill Foskett above a shop in Harlech in 1972 and now delivers up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West from its modern bases in Criccieth and Chester.

Colin and Gill’s sons and daughter are still on the board and the third generation of the Foskett family are now among a workforce which has grown steadily as the business has expanded to include NHS Wales, care homes and schools, colleges and universities.

Country Range

Harlech Foodservice Joins Country Range Group

24 March 2023
The Country Range Group have announced that proud, family-owned foodservice wholesaler Harlech, which has depots in Wales and Cheshire, has joined the Group as its latest member.

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Founded in 1972 by entrepreneurs Colin and Gill Foskett, Harlech Foodservice celebrated their 50th anniversary last year. While Colin and Gill sadly passed away in 2015 and 2019 respectively, the couple’s children Jonathan, Andrew and Laura, remain passionate about the special family business and their parent’s legacy.

Based in Criccieth in the county of Gwynedd in North Wales, Harlech Foodservice has a formidable reputation as one of the leading wholesalers in Wales. With a depot in Chester to supply the North West, the company prides itself on its innovation, portfolio and first-rate customer service.

Harlech will join the Country Range Group as of Saturday 1st April and will immediately benefit from the Group’s buying power, data and insights, extensive Country Range own brand portfolio, exciting marketing campaigns and promotions, plus its industry leading trade magazine Stir it up.

Country Range Group Chief Executive Martin Ward, who is currently in Thailand embarking on a mammoth 400km bike ride challenge to raise money for the MAG charity, said:

“It’s the second highly-successful, independent, family-run foodservice wholesaler to join our Group in the last four weeks so 2023 is shaping up to be another hugely exciting and hopefully record breaking year. Just like Brook Street Foodservice, Harlech Foodservice are a great fit for our Group and share so many of our values so we’re over the moon to welcome David and his incredible team.”

David Cattrall, Managing Director of Harlech Foodservice, commented:

“Over the last few years we’ve been extremely impressed with the Country Range Group when it comes to their product portfolio, special events, marketing campaigns and their growing buying power so it’s with great pleasure that we join them in April. We look forward to working closely with Martin and his team, plus the other independent members, to help drive further growth for our business and the Country Range Group as a whole.”

About the Country Range Group
With over 30 years of heritage servicing the UK & Ireland’s innovative foodservice sector, the Country Range Group is made up of 11 independent wholesalers - Birchall Foodservice, Blakemore Foodservice, Brook Street Foodservice, Caterite Foodservice, Creed Foodservice, Dunns Food and Drinks, Harlech Foodservice, Henderson Foodservice, Savona Foodservice, Trevors Foodservice and Turner Price.

In addition to offering the leading brands from around the globe, the Group also provides over 700 products, all developed exclusively for professional caterers under the Country Range brand. Covering grocery, chilled, frozen and non-food, Country Range is widely recognised by caterers as a trusted and reliable brand delivering consistent quality and value for money without compromising on taste and flavour.

The Group also publishes its trade magazine Stir it up 10 times a year, which features the latest food, drink and industry news, Country Range brand promotions and in-depth trend reports and sector specific guides to support and inspire all foodservice caterers.

To celebrate its 30th anniversary in 2022, The Country Range Group raised £186,190 for charity with £50K being donated to Hospitality Action and the rest being split between local charities linked with its members.


forklift trucks at Harlech

Food firm’s cool storage hack with bendy forklift trucks

23 March 2023
A food wholesaler is on course for record sales this year after investing £500,000 in an ingenious hack to increase storage capacity.

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Harlech Foodservice – which has bases in Cricieth in Gwynedd and Chester- has increased the capacity of its giant freezer by 25% after reconfiguring the racking with narrower aisles and adding an extra row.

As part of the plan the company also bought “bendy” forklift trucks that can navigate the tighter spaces.

As a result, the capacity of the freezer has been increased by 270 pallets to a total of 1,100.

The package of measures includes installing a new, more environmentally friendly refrigeration system to keep the temperature in the freezer at a constant -21C.

All told the initiative will lead to an annual reduction of more than 111 tonnes in CO2 emissions as well as generating significant savings on the energy bill.

According to joint chairman Andrew Foskett, the investment is part of Harlech’s long-term growth strategy.

Turnover is set to hit an all-time high of £38 million this year, which is well above the previous, pre-pandemic record of £32 million.

Amongst other things it’s being fuelled by Harlech’s biggest ever Food Expo held recently at Venue Cymru in Llandudno where the company saw record sales of £600,000 and crowds of more than 2,500.

Mr Foskett said: “The scheme to increase the capacity of our freezer is part of our long term expansion plans and is necessary to cater for the surge in demand that we are seeing.

“Thanks to our loyal customers enjoying our competitive prices and excellent service, we are seeing double digit growth compared to the volumes we were seeing before the pandemic.

“Our customers in Wales and in the North West of England are showing great resilience in the face of a challenging environment in hospitality and and we are on track for a record year in 2023.”

Operations manager Ian Evans said that increasing the storage space in the freezer had worked on a number of levels.

He said: “It became clear that we needed more freezer capacity but we dismissed the idea of building an extension, not only because of the cost involved but also because it would have increased our carbon footprint at a time when the price of energy is spiralling.

“Instead, we’ve reduced the width of the aisles from 3.2 metres to 1.8 metres, put in an extra row and trained the staff to use the new bendy forklift trucks to enable them to work in a narrower environment.

“In addition, we’ve installed LED lighting and updated half of our refrigeration plants which will save us up to 40% on our energy costs.

“The work that we’ve done already is going to save the equivalent of 60 CO2 equivalent tonnes a year with plans to do a further 50 tonnes.”

The expansion plans are being driven by managing director David Cattrall.

He said: “Sales have been growing really well in the last 12 months or so which is down to the support of our customers as well as, growth in the education and health sectors which has been a new focus for us and quite honestly, we were running out of space.

“We have been using third party storage to help ourselves work through the year which obviously adds costs and complexity.

“The beauty about moving to these narrow aisles is that you’re freezing less air and your energy is going into stock which holds the temperature better. It’s actually cheaper to run a fuller freezer than an empty freezer.

“The upshot is that we’ve gained in the region of 25% more stock in that same space for less cost, so thinking outside the box in this way made a lot of financial sense.

“By increasing capacity by 25% and reducing energy costs we can continue investing in competitive prices for our customers.

“It’s involved a significant investment, particularly when we’ve come out of a pandemic, but we’ve been able to do it because of the support we’ve seen from the customers that has given us the growth that’s created the need and allowed us to invest and lay the foundation for long term future growth over the next 10 years or so.”

Record sales and crowds for food giant’s annual showcase event

16 March 2023

A top Welsh food distribution company is reporting record sales of £600,000 and crowds of over 2,500 at its biggest ever food expo event.

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Harlech Foodservice’s annual two-day trade expo smashed last year’s figures – the first since 2019 because of the pandemic – with the 120 exhibitor stands at the high profile event at Llandudno’s Venue Cymru another record.

They came to see – and taste - over 1,000 products being showcased by Harlech which celebrated its 50th anniversary last year and to enjoy cookery demonstrations including by Wales’s own BBQ expert, Caernarfon’s S4C star, Flamebaster Chris Roberts.

Exhibitors included internationally known names like Kellogg’s, Young’s Seafood, Doritos, Hellman’s and McCains as well as top North Wales’s producers such as Jones Village Bakery, Edwards the Welsh Butcher, Llaeth y Llan Village Dairy and South Caernarfon Creameries.

Harlech Head of Purchasing Matt Flynn said: “Everyone is saying it’s probably the best show we’ve ever done and the numbers certainly bear that out.

“In the first hour alone we had over 130 people through and they’ve been busy with their order books which have offered them some fantastic offers to book deliveries ahead.

“We’ve gone back to basics this year and provided them with attractive order books with an A to Z list of the products from our suppliers, from Aber Falls Distillery Gin to Zafron Chilled Sandwiches so that they can fill in their orders and leave the delivery to us.

“We’ve also got some real theatre with fantastic exhibitions of cookery from Chris Roberts and our own Steve Griffiths.

“We’ve seen fantastic growth in the education and health sectors and we’re building on that and encouraging customers to increase their spend with us as well as winning new customers.”

Chris Roberts took a break from giving a succulent lamb shoulder the ‘Flamebaster’ treatment to say: “This is my first time here and I’m impressed. It’s very good and very busy.

“I’ve been cooking up some nice rib-eyes from a farm in Meifod in Mid Wales where the cattle are 100 per cent grass fed, all reared on Welsh grass and breathing Welsh air.

“That’s really important to me and it’s what I celebrate – the farmers, butchers and fishmongers of Wales are my rock stars and it’s amazing the way Harlech are promoting them.”

The Expo had a big thumb’s up from customers Dean Bartle, of St Tudwal’s Pub in Abersoch and his head chef, Ben Cunliffe, who said: “It feels very busy with a lot more stalls than last year and plenty of information.

“We get a lot of our produce from Harlech and we know them and have a really good relationship with them.

“Their meat and produce is very good but also their cut-off times for orders are excellent which is really important for us and in high season they deliver seven days a week.”

Baker Glen Simpson, of Jones Village Bakery, said: “Our products go into lots of pub chains, cafes and bed and breakfasts through Harlech so it’s an important market for us.”

Tracie Edwards, Brand Manager for Village Bakery, added: “We know that a big per centage of people in Wales like to buy Welsh produce so we know we need to look after them.”

Edwards the Welsh Butcher Product Development Manager Natalie Bestwick said: “This event is really important to us because it gives us a chance to talk to our customers face to face and it’s great to be able to showcase our products.

“We also supply schools through Harlech and have developed school-friendly recipes because it’s really important that Welsh produce should be going into Welsh schools.”

Michael Burrows, Factory Manager at Llaeth y Llan Village Dairy, said: “It’s always important for us to be here because we’re supporting our brand and Harlech who are a valuable partner for us.

“Our sales have increased over the last two years through that partnership, especially in the schools and it’s important to reach young people because we need to have Welsh products in our schools and all our milk comes from within a dozen miles of our dairy.”

Peter Bayliss, account manager for Doritos, said: “We like to support events like this because it gets us in front of our customers and because our partnership with Harlech is important to us.

“We are working closely with them and with Steve Griffiths, their development chef, on products and recipes for the education sector.”

Radnor Springs, based near Knighton in Powys, have seen their sales rocket through their partnership with Harlech Foodservice and Business Development Manager Molly Breakwell said: “They’re a really good company for us to work with.

“Because we have such a healthy product with a high fruit content and no added sugar we are ideal for schools and Harlech have helped us grow phenomenally, 200 per cent up in the last six months and we’re now in schools all over Wales.

“Harlech have won a lot of schools business and that has really grown our business.”

Harlech Foodservice Ltd employs 200 staff at its bases at Criccieth and Chester and between the two locations, the company runs a fleet of vehicles to deliver 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.

North Wales food producers to turn out in force for annual expo showcase

10 February 2023
A major event that provides a shop window for food and drink producers is defying the economic downturn with a bumper 120 trade stands – over 40% up on last year.

More than 1,000 products will be on show at the two-day Harlech Foodservice Expo that gets underway at Venue Cymru in Llandudno on St David’s Day.

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It’s a highlight in the calendar for the high profile food wholesaler which celebrated its 50th birthday last year and which supplies everything from restaurants and cafes to Premiership giants.

Many of the exhibitors will be doing their own live cookery demonstrations and there will be opportunities to taste the products on offer.

The event is free to people in the trade but isn’t open to the public.

The aim is to enable suppliers to talk directly to the customer, giving them a chance to tell the story behind their product to representatives from the tourism, leisure, education and health sectors across North Wales, the North West and the Midlands.

Harlech Foodservice, which has bases in Criccieth in Gwynedd and Chester, is hoping to break last year’s record-breaking total of more than £500,000 of deals being secured.

There will also be plenty of tasting opportunities for customers especially at Harlech’s own stand Caernarfon’s BBQ maestro Chris ‘Flamebaster’ Roberts will be the special guest.

The star of S4C’s Bwyd Epic Chris will join Harlech’s Executive Chef Steve Griffiths, from Welshpool, at the 44th Expo and bring his own unique style to the event.

Chris said: “It’s my first time at the Expo and I’m really looking forward to it and to championing the fantastic Welsh produce that will be on show there which is something I’m really passionate about.

“The farmers, producers and butchers of Wales and all the other people who make our produce so amazing are my superheroes and I want us to celebrate them and their epic food.”

Matt Flynn, Harlech’s Head of Purchasing, said: “We are expecting over 2,500 to attend and there will be over 1,000 products on show.

“Last year was fantastic but I am expecting us to smash it this year.

“Most of the suppliers I’ve spoken to said it was the best show they attended and this year’s is going to be even bigger and better and as soon as you walk in it will be busy and there will be a great atmosphere.”

Many of the biggest names in the food and catering industry will be at the Expo, including international giants like Unilever, Wall’s, McCain, Young’s Seafood, Birds Eye, Chicago Town, Tropicana and PepsiCo.

But Wales will be well represented too with major North Wales brands like Jones Village Bakery, Snowdonia Cheese, Edwards the Welsh Butcher, Radnor Hills and Tŷ Nant mineral water, Aber Falls, Snowdon Lager and Llaeth y Llan Village Dairy.

Once again there is interest from across the border as the company, extend its reach into the North West and the Midlands after winning important new contracts with public and private sector customers.

Food and drink are the major components of the event but there will also be an increased presence for suppliers of cleaning, accountancy and other ancillary services.

Matt added: “Each stand will be manned by experts and customers can talk to them about their products and there will be plenty of big offers available so it’s a great opportunity for people to come along and stock up at a big discount ready for the new season.

“There will also be a big emphasis on Welsh produce and products and we will have Hybu Cig Cymru - Meat Promotion Wales there and our own big butchery stand which was our most successful revenue generator last year.

“Customers attending this year will be given order books with details of the offers and I’m looking forward to that making things easier for them and increasing orders and sales.

“We are also launching a website in mid-February which will enable businesses to see every supplier and what their products and offers are so they can check them out ahead of the Expo and see what they want to taste, sample and talk about.

“Anyone who can’t attend or simply don’t have time will be able to place their orders by calling our dedicated sales team.

“It’s a really important event for all concerned and we are proud to be at the fore of driving it forward.”

Harlech also offer increased flexibility for customers who can order up to 10pm every night for next day delivery, up to seven days a week.

The two-day event is aimed at trade customers and is not open to the general public. To register for the Expo, traders and businesses should head to https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/harlech-foodservice-expo-2023-tickets-438896199347

Harlech Foodservice Ltd employs 200 staff at its bases at Criccieth and Chester and between the two locations, the company runs a fleet of vehicles to deliver 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West.

Chester FC Womens under 18s

Chester’s unbeaten girls in blue backed by top food company

12 January 2023
The girls in blue of Chester FC’s Women’s Under-18s are blazing a trail at the top of their league as they go into the second half of the season.

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That’s a remarkable record for a side made up of 15 and 16-year-olds who are unbeaten in their opening nine games and have scored a hatful of goals.

They are part of a Blues football renaissance with the former Football League stalwarts mounting a comeback with Chester FC in the mix at the top of the National League North and the women’s teams flying in their leagues.

That includes the Under-18s who have just been boosted by a donation of £350 from major food wholesaler Harlech Foodservice who have established a regional office and distribution hub in Chester as they expand across Cheshire and North East Wales.

The Under-18s are top of the Cheshire Women’s Youth League in their first season and draw players from around Chester and into North Wales and although they’re younger than most of their opponents they’re giving nothing away in skills and spirit, according to joint coach Rob Lawton who runs the team with Bryson Kelso.

He said: “We needed to bridge the gap between the junior football the girls were playing before and the senior league where they could be coming up against women twice their age.

“If you’re only 16 and you’re coming up against women who are aged 35 to 40 then it can be detrimental to your development so we started the Under-18s this season and many of them are also getting experience with the Development side which feeds into the Chester Women side in Division One South of the North West Women's League.

“Because of the numbers of girls we had coming through we needed a pathway for them to develop but already a number of them are training with the Development team who were promoted last year.”

Bryson added: “The women’s game is developing so quickly now and the Under-18s train in Helsby on a high quality all-weather 3G pitch while we play our matches at the King George V Sports Hub in Chester so the facilities are top class.

“Girls are starting to play at four or five years old and when they come through they’re going to be at another level but the squad we have here in the Under-18s is a really talented group.

“They play a four-three-three and they’re scoring lots of goals and playing really good football – about four or five of them are in double figures for goals already.”

One of those is left-sided striker Erin Parr, 15, from Tarvin, who said: “I played for boys teams for a while but it didn’t work out and I wanted a better standard so I tried it here four years ago and it’s been great.

“The coaching is really good and the set-up is great. I’m really happy and want to progress through to the Development squad.”

Erin’s mum, Kerry, has also been doing her bit with regular supplies of iced fingers and Bakewell tarts with mince pies at Christmas but on the pitch the training is intense.

Helping pull the strings in midfield is another 15-year-old, Kelsey Blackwell, from Flint, who joined the club at the start of the season from Wrexham.

She said: “I had heard that Chester were doing well with a good side and I’ve really enjoyed it. We’ve made a good start and we’re playing good football - we’ve just got to keep it going now.”

Fast-growing Harlech have established a regional office and distribution hub in the city as they expand into the North West and West Midlands and David Roberts, Harlech’s Key Account Manager for Education, who lives near Chester, has been impressed with the Under-18s side.

He said: “It’s brilliant that we’re able to support grass roots sport like this but there’s nothing amateur about the approach here.

“The girls are all very focused and you can see that in the way they apply themselves on the training field.

“They’re a very talented group and I’m sure we will be hearing more of some of them in the future as the women’s game continues to grow and we’re just glad to be able to help them along the way.”

Harlech Managing Director David Cattrall said: “In the past 50 years we have grown from small beginnings into a major North Wales company with bases in Criccieth and Chester and we couldn’t have done that without the support of our loyal customers across the region.

“Chester FC Women are clearly a well-established and deserving sports club and this is our way of saying thank you to the people of that community by sharing in our success and putting something back into an area which has supported us and where we have an important base.

“We have had a fantastic response to our setting up of the charity fund and over the coming months we will be looking at the applications we have had and deciding how we can best share out the £10,000.”

Harlech Foodservices was founded by Colin and Gill Foskett above a shop in Harlech in 1972 and now delivers up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West from its modern bases in Criccieth and Chester.

Colin and Gill’s sons and daughter are still on the board and the third generation of the Foskett family are now among a workforce which has grown steadily as the business has expanded to include NHS Wales, care homes and schools, colleges and universities.

Caernarfon Boxing Club

North Wales food company grant puts Caernarfon boxing club on a firm footing

15 December 2022
Young boxers from North West Wales are getting their careers off on a firm footing thanks to the backing of a Gwynedd-based food wholesaler.

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Caernarfon Boxing Club have just received a grant of £800 from the Harlech Foodservice 50thAnniversary Charity Fund towards the cost of new flooring for their gym on the town’s Llanberis Road.

The club was formed 29 years by local man and head coach Ian Owen after a successful amateur career and its Wall of Fame has an impressive roster of Welsh amateur champions, including Ryan Owen who won five successive national titles. Also up there is the late Martyn ‘Boom Boom’ Poyser, the former British Masters middleweight champion who lost just three times in 19 professional fights but died tragically young of a sleep disorder.

The current crop show plenty of promise too, according to Ian and fellow coaches Sion Davies and Delme Davies, whose twin sons, Meilir and Morgan, aged 12, are among the rising stars.

The cash from the Harlech Foodservice Fund, set up to mark the half century since the firm was founded, will help pay for a new floor of 20 millimetre thick sprung tiles which will provide the perfect surface for the club’s 60-plus regulars to hone their skills.

The fund offers grants totalling £10,000 to good causes, organisations, clubs and charities across Harlech Foodservice’s area of operation in Wales and the border counties.

Delme Davies said: “The grant will make a big difference to us because the new flooring is specially designed and made so that it won’t get slippery.

“The gym has good facilities but this new floor will take it to a different level and the money from Harlech will account for a big chunk of the cost.

“It’s been difficult during the pandemic lockdown because we couldn’t really compete but we’ve kept it going and we’ve had a big event over in Monkstown in Ireland and we’ve got four boxers going to a tournament in Liverpool in January.”

Morgan Davies said: “Boxing is something I really enjoy – it’s about concentration and fitness,” and his brother, Meilir, added: “I enjoy the sparring and would really like to win a Welsh championship.”

Rhys Sykes, 14, a good prospect, according to Ian Owen and who helps with coaching the younger boxers, said: “I won a silver medal in the tournament in Monkstown and I’d like to go to the Welsh Championships next year. “Boxing is something you never complete. It’s a journey and you’re always learning.”

The grant was handed over to the club by Caren Jones, of Harlech Foodservice, who said: “They have such an impressive set-up here and so many young people take part.

“The club is part of the local community and we’re delighted that we’re able to help them improve their facilities through this important charity fund.”

Harlech Managing Director David Cattrall said: “In the past 50 years we have grown from small beginnings into a major North Wales company with bases in Criccieth and Chester and we couldn’t have done that without the support of our loyal customers across the region.

“Caernarfon Boxing Club are clearly a well-established and deserving local organisation and this is our way of saying thank you to the people of that community by sharing in our success and putting something back into the area which has supported us.”

“We have had a fantastic response to our setting up of the charity fund and over the coming months we will be looking at the applications we have had and deciding how we can best share out the £10,000.”

Harlech Foodservices was founded by Colin and Gill Foskett above a shop in Harlech in 1972 and now delivers up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West from its modern bases in Criccieth and Chester.

Colin and Gill’s sons and daughter are still on the board and the third generation of the Foskett family are now among a workforce which has grown steadily as the business has expanded to include NHS Wales, care homes and schools, colleges and universities.

Wholesaler feeds 150,000 schoolkids a week and champions Welsh produce at same time

3 November 2022
A leading food wholesaler is feeding 150,000 school pupils across North Wales every week and championing Welsh produce at the same time.

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According to Harlech Foodservice, which has bases in Criccieth, in Gwynedd and Chester, they’re keen to reduce food miles and make the most of the Welsh pound to boost the economy.

Since April 1 this year, they have provided over three million nutritious school dinners to primary and secondary schools across North Wales and into Merseyside.

Among the Welsh brands they carry are Jones Village Bakery, Edwards the Welsh Butcher, South Caernarfon Creameries, Llaeth y Llan Village Dairy, their own Bwydlyn Butchery and Radnor Hills still, sparkling and flavoured spring water.

It comes at a time when the Welsh Government have announced they are rolling out free school meals to all of Wales' approximately 272,000 primary school pupils by 2024.

The initiative has come about thanks to a deal between Plaid Cymru and the Labour Welsh government.

They say the policy will be extended to around 6,000 nursery-age children.

Harlech Commercial Director Mark Lawton said: “It’s very encouraging for us and for our policy of trying to use Welsh food producers whenever possible.

“We do this because we believe in the high quality and reputation of Welsh produce which is recognised on both sides of the border and because we make every effort to reduce food miles.”

Harlech’s expansion now sees them deliver to customers across Wales and their commitment to using Welsh producers has been an important factor in winning new contracts.

Nick Beadman, Head of Commercial at South Caernarfon Creameries, said: “We’re proud to be one of many Welsh producers supplying schools and their pupils across North Wales.

“Our award-winning cheese is a testament to itself, produced here on the Llyn Peninsula and made using only Welsh milk from our farmer co-operative members.”

Owain Roberts, Managing Director of Llaeth y Llan Village Dairy, was equally enthusiastic.

He said: “It is vitally important for children to be offered North Wales-produced food at our local primary and secondary schools.

“Harlech Foodservice have been really progressive. They’ve secured a number of long-term contracts which have provided new markets for Welsh producers like us and showcased the quality of the food we produce here.

“At the same time as parents we want to know that our children are being provided with high quality food made from fresh ingredients which is travelling the shortest possible distance from field to school canteen.”

Harlech, which celebrated its 50th anniversary this year, is also a major supplier to care homes across North and Mid Wales and has seen growth in that sector too with their customer base increasing by 55 per cent and their deliveries by 56 per cent.

Mark Lawton added: “In these days when it is important for customers to make their supply chains as sustainable as possible ensuring that products are locally produced and reducing food miles makes even more sense.

“We can help them reduce their carbon footprint by supplying them with more sustainably-sourced products and by our own efforts to be greener where we are looking at options for switching our delivery fleet to electric or hydrogen power.

“At the same time the work we are doing to cut carbon use is impressing customers and convincing them we are a company that can help them achieve their own renewable goals.”

That has been helped by the opening of their depot in Chester which means that deliveries – including next day deliveries for orders made by school head cooks – are more conveniently made for customers in North East Wales and the North West where they also supply schools in Knowsley on Merseyside.

Those reduced food miles also helped them win a contract to supply Keele University in Staffordshire and Salford Catering College, in Greater Manchester.

Harlech Charity Fund

Food giant celebrates 50 by looking for worthy causes to support in North Wales & North West England

8 September 2022
Community groups and local clubs across North Wales & North West England are being urged to bid for a slice of a new £5,000 charity fund.

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Leading food wholesaler Harlech Foodservice, which has bases in Criccieth in Gwynedd and Chester has launched a community foundation as part of the company’s 50th anniversary celebrations.

The family firm was founded in 1972 as a holiday season supplier to pubs, hotels and campsites in North West Wales and has grown into a £30 million turnover business serving Wales, the North West and West Midlands.

Now Managing Director David Cattrall is inviting community groups, projects, associations and locally based charities to pitch for some cash.

He said: “We have grown from small beginnings into a major North Wales company with bases in Criccieth and Chester and we couldn’t have done that without the support of our loyal customers across the region.

“They have helped us grow into a business employing over 200 staff which supplies not just the tourism and hospitality industry but also schools, colleges, hospitals and care homes so we want to celebrate the success we’ve had by putting something back into the communities which have supported us.

“We are asking groups across North Wales & North West England who benefit the community in some way to come forward and pitch for funding which could provide them with some vital cash for something really important to them.

“It could be a mini bus fund for a local dance troop or maybe some gardening equipment for a primary school, a new pool table for a youth club or art and craft equipment for a pensioners’ group which prevents older people feeling isolated and lonely.

“We are open to suggestions and the main criteria is that people need to show us how they are fundraising and how much they are aiming to raise.

“We are looking to give a helping hand to projects right across the region so we want to hear from the people involved and we’ll be looking to hand over up to £1,000 to the chosen deserving causes.”

Harlech Foodservices has a track record of helping out in the communities it serves and stepped up in the pandemic to make donations to food banks across Wales and into Cheshire and Shropshire.

When their delivery lorries were unable to carry stock to their usual customers they were diverted to charities from Conwy to Newport in Gwent and from their own doorstep in Pwllheli to Northwich and Telford across the English border.

Now as business reaches a peak in the busy holiday season they are looking to hear from deserving causes who can bid for a share of the £5,000 charity by sending a brief description of their organisation, what they are raising money for and what they are looking to achieve along with daytime contact details including a phone number. Bid descriptions should be sent to sales@harlech.lls.com.

The business founded by Colin and Gill Foskett above a shop in Harlech in 1972 now delivers up to 5,000 product lines to cafés, restaurants, pubs and public sector customers across North and Mid-Wales, Shropshire, the Midlands and the North West from its modern bases in Criccieth and Chester.

Colin and Gill’s sons and daughter are still on the board and the third generation of the Foskett family are now among a workforce which has grown steadily as the business has expanded to include NHS Wales, care homes and schools, colleges and universities.

Keele University on their mission to go green

15 July 2022
We’re thrilled to be working with Keele University, on their mission to go greener. Keele University, in Staffordshire, has 10,000 students on its campus and has been ranked the UK’s fifth best university by students.

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Commercial Director, Mark Lawton said: “The opening of our depot and sales office in Chester means that we’re right on the doorstep for a prestigious university like Keele where we are supplying general food and meat products. What helped us clinch the deal was that we can help them reduce their carbon footprint by supplying them with more sustainably-sourced products and by our own efforts to be greener. It’s a contract we have been able to compete for because we are now within range and able to provide prompt deliveries which also helps them reduce their carbon footprint.

The work we are doing to cut our own carbon use impressed them and convinced them we were a company they could work with and do some work on joint initiatives including carbon offsetting. What definitely helps is that we source so much of our product range from North Wales, Cheshire, Shropshire and Staffordshire which reduces their food miles.”

Emma Woodcock, Head of Business Development at Keele University, said: “We're committed to sustainability and to becoming carbon neutral by 2030 and part of that commitment is reducing our food miles and Harlech will help us do that while supplying high quality produce. Keele was one of the first UK universities to declare a ‘climate emergency’ and over the last six years we've invested over £1.2m into carbon reduction - and will be investing more every year. We're truly sector-leading in environmental education and have world-leading research in environmental sustainability so that for the fourth consecutive year we have been placed among the Top 40 universities in the world for sustainability.”

We have been able to secure the Contract through our membership of TUCO – The University Caterers Organisation – a framework which qualifies businesses to provide catering services for the public sector and are looking forward to exhibiting at their Expo, held at Keele University next week.

Celebrating 50 years in Business continues

17 June 2022
As we celebrate 50 years in Business hear what the family have to say about their memories of growing up and the business as it is today.

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Chairman Jonathan Foskett said: “It was a small seasonal business when it started but it has grown slowly and steadily over the years until now it operates year round with full-time staff and a fleet of vehicles.

“The tourism industry was 90 per cent of the original business, supplying hotels, guest houses and holiday and caravan parks across what is now Gwynedd and very much part-time in the winter.

“But once we began taking on contracts with schools and colleges it became a year-round service and we were able to keep staff on full-time and create real quality jobs which have helped the local economy.

“We have maintained the standards of quality and customer care that our parents set and have remained a firm that is very much a big family even though we have outgrown two premises and expanded on this site.

“We have been helped in that because the Welsh name, culture and reputation for quality food travel well and mean a lot to so many people.”

Laura Foskett, whose daughters, Ella and Milli both take time out from school to work in the business, added: “We were involved in the family firm from the age of 10 and we didn’t have summer holidays because it was always work, work, work then.

“Our parents certainly didn’t envisage it becoming the size it is now but it’s something to be really proud of and it’s good to see so many of the next generation involved – it’s part of their lives just as it was part of ours.”

Andrew Foskett recalls living above the shop where the business started in Harlech before it moved to Y Ffôr, near Pwllheli, before that too was outgrown and the current site at Llanystumdwy was taken on in 2010.

Like his brother and sister he was involved from a young age, going out with his dad on deliveries before graduating to a van boy and then a driver and going out with the vans and lorries.

He said: “You name it, I’ve done it but you have to do that in a family business.

“We are a Welsh company and in the summer months when holiday businesses are very busy, we were we were able to react more quickly than firms over in Manchester and the Midlands because we were on their doorstep.

“If we had a hot weekend and people needed emergency orders, we were there on the patch to deliver and no-one could match us and that helped out customers grow and helped us grow.

“It meant we were able to diversify into schools, colleges and hospitals and retain staff in the winter and opening in Chester does that as well.”

Managing director David Cattrall is now in day to day charge of the company’s ambitious new business plan which aims to increase turnover to over £50 million in the next three years.

He said: “We have used the time in lockdown to make sure we were ready for the re-opening of tourism and hospitality with a major restructuring which has included quadrupling online sales since upgrading our website and introducing an ‘order up to 10pm for next day delivery’ service.

“We have built new management teams and invested in our people’s skills to increase our delivery capacity and we are already reaping the rewards with major new contracts across Wales and into England".

“I am confident that by providing an improved range of products at transparent and competitive prices and strengthening our service more and more customers will choose Harlech Foodservice as their supplier."

Coast 2 Coast

Coast To Coast – 3 colleagues to take on the challenge!

1 June 2022
Three of our colleagues here at Harlech Foodservice are taking on the Grocery Aid Coast to Coast cycle ride from Caernarfon to Cardiff. The gruelling three day challenge kicks off on July 21st in Caernarfon, tackling some of the steepest and most scenic roads in Wales as they pedal through Snowdonia and the Brecon Beacons, climbing over 18,000ft.

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Our MD, David Cattrall, will be cycling along with Butchery Operations Manger Ben Calley and our Key Account Manager, Dave Roberts.

Please help us support the challenge through donating to our Just Giving Page: www.justgiving.com/team/HarlechFoodservice

David Cattrall said: “I have done the Grocery Aid ride before and I enjoy cycling but I need to get some serious work in over the next few weeks to make sure I’m ready for the challenge.

“Three days back-to-back tackling those kinds of climbs is something you have to be ready for because there are four big hills each day along the way and we’re talking 500-metre climbs and even in July you can never tell what the weather is going to be like.

“This is an important charity for us though and never more so than now because our sector has been very hard hit during the pandemic.

“Many people have experienced hard times and this charity helps literally hundreds of people every year, many of them on minimum wage.

“As a North Wales-based company the route is going from our heartland to the capital where we are now winning contracts and where our delivery lorries are becoming an increasingly frequent sight.”

David Roberts, Harlech’s Key Account Manager for Education, is a keen cyclist who was inspired to take up the sport by watching American star Greg Lemond win the Tour De France back in the Eighties.

He said: “He won it by eight seconds in an amazing finish and that got me hooked and I still ride a couple of times a week but I’ve always been a keen cyclist.

“It will be a great experience to ride through Wales and I’m really looking forward to it.”

The third member of the team is butchery manager Ben Calley, from Llanfair PG, on Anglesey, whose first love is mountain biking although he also enjoys riding on the roads.

He said: “I’ve been keen on bikes since I was 15 but I’ve only just got into road cycling.

Please help us support the challenge through donating to our Just Giving Page: www.justgiving.com/team/HarlechFoodservice

Grocery Aid has been providing emotional, practical and financial support for grocery colleagues since 1857. Grocery Aid can help with a wide range of topics including mental health and wellbeing support, family and relationship advice, debt management, back to work support, and counselling. Specialist counsellors are also available for those who have experienced a traumatic incident through our Workplace Critical Incident support. Find out more on their page: www.groceryaid.org.uk



We are absolutely delighted to have been awarded with the Daily Post Business of the year award.

We were immensely proud to have the opportunity to recognise and celebrate the achievements of some fantastic businesses through sponsoring the Best In Food & Drink Award and congratulate each and every business who were nominated for an award.

putting Welsh beef on the menu for Knowsley schools

We’re thrilled to be putting Welsh beef on the menu for Knowsley schools

29 March 2022
Welsh beef is on the menu for pupils on Merseyside after we have successfully won a major education authority contract worth over £500,000 a year. We are supplying Welsh beef, lamb and other meat products to 59 schools on Merseyside as part of a three year deal with Knowsley Council.

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Our Commercial Director Mark Lawton said: “We are delighted to have won this deal against stiff competition as we strengthen our presence in the North West of England.

“Knowsley is a big win for us as it’s our first schools contract in England and it is showing the benefit of us opening our new office and supply depot in Chester.

“We will be supplying them with meat products, mainly fresh produce, and including Welsh beef as well as British pork and chicken and it’s all Red Tractor quality assured.”

The Knowsley contract will see us provide school meals for 12,000 pupils a day at the Council’s six secondary schools, 47 primaries and 6 special schools – that’s approaching 2.4 million meals a year.

Mark Lawton added: “Winning contracts like these enable us to provide vital employment at a time when the pandemic has had a drastic effect on the hospitality trade and also to support local food producers”

EXPO 2022

Our Foodservice Expo certainly came back with a bang and it was an incredible feeling! We really hope you enjoyed the event as much as we did, and our Suppliers alike!

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£5000 Donation

We joined our long standing supplier to present a £5,000 donation to a fantastic organisation, The DPJ Foundation, which supports those in the agricultural sector with challenges to their mental health. As a cause close to our hearts, we nominated them for a Charity Prize Draw hosted by RH Amar.

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Kate from The DPJ Foundation explained that although they are a relatively new organisation, set up just over five years ago, they have already supported over 500 people through their #ShareTheLoad counselling service alone. By applying large impactful stickers to agricultural bales had helped spread the word and reach those in need of support.

We hope that the donation will help the vital work The DPJ Foundation does in supporting those in agriculture who need it, as well as training others to spot the signs that someone might need help and look forward to working with them this year.

Harlech Foodservice EXPO 2022

Foodservice EXPO 2022

18 January 2022
We are absolutely thrilled that we’re returning to Venue Cymru on 2nd and 3rd March to host our 43rd Harlech Foodservice Expo. As we celebrate 50 years of Harlech Foodservice this year, we’re all set for a fantastic event. With the supplier excitement building and plans being finalised, we look forward to welcoming both existing and new customers through the doors. Keep an eye on our social media pages for confirmed supplier listings and all things Expo.

2022 sees Harlech Foodservice celebrate 50 fabulous years in business!

6 January 2022
From when we were first established in 1972, we have outgrown two premises and evolved in to Harlech Foodservice as you know us today. Thank you to each and every one of you that continue to support us as we work together growing your business and ours. We’re looking ahead to an exciting year and are looking forward to having you with us along the way!

Green Dragon Environmental Standard – Level 2

Green Dragon Level 2: Understanding Environmental Responsibilities

16 December 2021

Green Dragon Level 2
Here at Harlech Foodservice, we take our environmental responsibilities seriously and are committed to the principal of continual improvement. Following a recent audit, we are thrilled to have retained our Green Dragon Award and would like to thank our Hygiene and Technical Manager, Chris Evans along with Janette Jones and the whole team for their consistent commitment to the consideration of our environmental impact. The Green Dragon Environmental Standard is awarded to organisations that can demonstrate effective environmental management and that are taking action to understand, monitor and control their impact. We have been awarded with Level Two: Understanding Environmental Responsibilities.

Matt Flynn – Head of Purchasing and Marketing

Matt Flynn – Head of Purchasing and Marketing

6 December 2021

Having joined us in May, Matt Flynn is now firmly established in his role here at Harlech Foodservice heading up a ten-strong team as our Head of Purchasing and Marketing. Matt joins us from his previous position as Purchasing Director of Green Gourmet.

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Matt has taken charge of Harlech Foodservice’s growth into the North West and Midlands from a new base in Chester.

The 41-year-old is our new Head of Purchasing and Marketing and leads a ten-strong team with an office at Chester Business Park and a distribution centre at the Chester West Employment Park, just off the city’s Sealand Road.

Matt, originally from Barrow, in Cumbria, comes with an impressive CV having worked for global mining colossus Anglo America before switching to the food sector where his job with Liverpool-based UK food giant Prince’s took him across Europe and to Mauritius in the Indian Ocean.

For the last four years he has been Purchasing Director with Cotswold-based food innovation company Green Gourmet Ltd, who develop and manufacture bespoke products for global airlines, UK foodservice and retail.

He said: “Harlech is a very different kind of business – I was managing 200 products, but this is more like 4,000, so this is a bigger enterprise and a bigger challenge.

“The most attractive thing was the idea of growing the business geography, developing a new team and launching the Chester branch.

“Despite the hospitality sector staging a strong recovery from Covid-19 lockdowns, through demand created by UK staycations, there are still a number of headwinds we are fronting into.

“In the face of a perfect storm of supply chain issues that have been well documented in the media, I’m creating a cross-business task force in collaboration with the Leadership team, to mitigate current and forecast issues in the run up to Christmas.

“My longer-term plan is to focus on providing excellent service for our customer base and to optimise our range giving people what they need, when they need it, at the right price.

“I and the new Chester/Welsh team are embarking on a number of innovative and challenging projects as part of our own build back better initiative.

“Our geography in North Wales means we are perfectly placed to service the tourism trade, who can use our website to order food right up until 10pm for next-day delivery.

“But to expand into the North West and Midlands, which forms part of our future strategy, we need a depot here in the Chester area, close to the M6 corridor.

“I’m a few months into my new tenure and am well on the way to building a world class team, perfectly located in the heart of Chester, allowing our new office to be a business hub where sales people can meet with customers and purchasing with key supply partners.

“My vision is about being long-term and strategic, rather than just short-term and operational and that’s one of the things that attracted me to the job.”

It’s a challenge but Matt takes them in his stride – he’s climbed some of the world’s highest peaks in the Himalayas, Andes, Alps and Africa’s Atlas range as part of various expeditions in his spare time.

His first job after graduating from university in Lancashire was with Anglo-American Minerals and he spent over three years with them at the UK’s second biggest granite quarry, at Coalville, in Leicestershire, which processed 20,000 tons of stone a day, shipped out on 750 lorries and two trains.

He switched to the food industry with Prince’s, first as a buyer for their multi-million-pound olive oil business, which took him to Spain, Italy and Greece, and then he moved to Port Louis, Mauritius, as Purchasing Manager at one of the world’s most technologically advanced canning operations.

There he was responsible for buying in steel for cans, olive oil, spring water and labelling for 190 million tins of tuna a year before returning to Rotterdam as Senior Buyer for European bottled and canned goods, dealing with the big Continental retailers.

Prince’s wanted him to come back to their headquarters at the Royal Liver Building in Liverpool but Matt had just met wife to be Ervie, from the Philippines, and the couple took a seven-month break there, living in a bamboo hut on the beach.

He returned to a job with Green Gourmet as Head of Purchasing and was with them for seven years, the last four as Purchasing Director, before joining Harlech.

He said: “Harlech are very ambitious and as we build back better and further strengthen our growing team, everything is heading in the right direction and I think the time is right for a company like this.”

Ian Evans

Ian Evans – Operations Manager

17 November 2021
We are delighted to announce the appointment of Ian Evans as our Operations Manager. Growing up locally to our Head Office and residing in Trefor, Ian attended Glan Y Mor secondary school in Pwllheli. Ian brings with him a wealth of experience to help shape the future of the operational side of Harlech Foodservice and is already making significant impact on improving our service levels. From a Store Manager of Kwiksave, to Deputy Manager of Tesco Bangor also responsible for Project Managing the opening of new stores, Ian has spent his most recent years as Store Manager of Lidl in Porthmadog. Ian sees his role within Harlech as a new challenge and it was the excitement of strengthening our delivery service that really attracted Ian to the role having previously managed the Tesco home delivery service. We are thrilled to have Ian on board, and we wish him all the best.

Go North Wales Tourism Awards

10 November 2021

We’re delighted to be the Headline Sponsor of The Go North Wales Tourism Award as they celebrate their 30th Anniversary this year.

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The heroes of the tourism and hospitality industry in North Wales are to be honoured for their “grit and determination” in surviving the pandemic.

The judges have announced the finalists who will take centre stage at prestigious Go North Wales Tourism Awards at Venue Cymru in Llandudno on Thursday, November 25.

The 48 tourism champions of North Wales shortlisted for top awards - North Wales Live (dailypost.co.uk)

HGV Training

10 November 2021
Training within to help battle HGV driver shortage as we plan ahead to next year

Our Managing Director David Cattrall said: “We have always had a policy of recruiting from within whenever and wherever possible and that’s been true of our van drivers.

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“The current situation in the transport sector makes this more important than ever and we believe it is better if we can train our existing staff to fill any gaps rather than getting into a recruiting war.

“In response we ask them to agree to stay with the business for two years after they qualify and all have been happy to do so and we look forward to them working for us for many years into the future.

“We know the worth of our own people and we value their loyalty and believe it is better to offer them a career path through training which at the same time enables us to ensure we can continue to provide our customers with the deliveries they need when they need them.”

A major Welsh food distribution company is fast-tracking drivers through their HGV tests to beat delivery shortages caused by the pandemic and Brexit.

Harlech Foodservice has seven drivers at their depots in Gwynedd and Chester on course to complete their HGV Class C tests this January.

It will take their total number of Class C drivers up to 38 from 31 and it will mean they are fully staffed for the Spring when the demand from hospitality and tourism starts to step up again.

Transport Supervisor Morgan Jones, who joined the company four years ago as a driver and completed the training course himself, said: “It’s something we have been doing for a few years but we’ve stepped it up.

“This is the first time we have done this mass training to ensure we have enough delivery drivers to meet our customers’ needs.

“We had six new van drivers who started this year and they had all done a great job this summer and they have all accepted our offer for them to be trained as HGV drivers by Caernarfon company Carmel Training.

“There is a cost which Harlech cover and it includes the necessary eyesight and medical checks as well as two theory and two practical tests after an intensive three-day course with Carmel in Caernarfon.

“The actual cost is about £1500 each but we reimburse them for that and in return they sign a form committing themselves to the company which they have been happy to do.

“It’s really good to know they’re aware of this and are keen to stay with us at Harlech.”

Among the intake is 23-year-old Rhys Burgess, from Porthmadog, who joined Harlech in June as a van driver and has been enrolled on the HGV course.

He said: “The firm must think I’m good enough to go on to take my HGV and it’s a great opportunity for me and something I’ve always wanted to do.

“It’s not really about the money. It’s about a good opportunity to make more of myself.

“It’s an opportunity for a young driver like me to move up the ladder and the firm are paying for it which is big help because it’s not cheap and for them to do that is really good.

“It’s about upskilling their staff and while I’m enjoying driving the vans, I’m really looking forward to getting on the lorries.”

Rhys joined Harlech after his job as a kitchen porter at a hotel fell victim to lockdown and he added: “I really needed the work because of lockdown and there aren’t a lot of jobs around here.

“For Harlech to help local people move up the ladder rather than bringing in drivers is really great.”

The Class C licence allows the drivers to take the wheel of any vehicle up to 32 tonnes which isn’t articulated, and covers most of Harlech’s fleet of 35 lorries.

It’s the same course that Morgan took himself when he joined the company full time over four years ago and he added: “We want to get them through this as quickly as we can so they can get used to the vehicles and the routes before business starts to pick up.

“It’s a really good opportunity for them. I trained with the same company and it worked really well for me and it’s good that we are using a local provider to make this great offer to upskill our staff.”

Harlech Managing Director David Cattrall said: “We have always had a policy of recruiting from within whenever and wherever possible and that’s been true of our van drivers.

“The current situation in the transport sector makes this more important than ever and we believe it is better if we can train our existing staff to fill any gaps rather than getting into a recruiting war.

“In response we ask them to agree to stay with the business for two years after they qualify and all have been happy to do so and we look forward to them working for us for many years into the future.

“We know the worth of our own people and we value their loyalty and believe it is better to offer them a career path through training which at the same time enables us to ensure we can continue to provide our customers with the deliveries they need when they need them.”

EXPO 2022

4 October 2021
We’re excited to confirm our Expo will return in 2022, on March 2nd and 3rd at Venue Cymru, Llandudno. We missed it last year and it’s evident our customers and suppliers did too! Not only is the Expo back we will be celebrating 50 years of Harlech Foodservice and we can’t wait for you to share it with us.

With our new Head of Purchasing and Category Managers in place you can be sure to see an array of the very best suppliers fit for purpose for your business requirements. Our Team are working hard to ensure we are providing you with the very best offering at our transparent and competitive pricing, coupled with our 50 year anniversary it’s sure to be a good one!

New Appointments

New Appointments

02 August 2021
We are delighted to welcome Claire Campbell and Clare Hulme to Harlech Foodservice Ltd. Our ambitious expansion plan has seen the recruitment of two new category managers and create the new role of customer experience manager to boost customer relations.

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Managing director David Cattrall said: “We wanted the new team to be in place in readiness for when tourism and hospitality starts to reopen as lockdown restrictions are eased.

“It is part of a major restructuring which has included quadrupling online sales since upgrading our website and helping customers manage unpredictable demand by introducing an ‘order up to 10pm for next day delivery’ service.

“These appointments are essentially investing in future expansion.

Claire Campbell, who has paraglided in Turkey and climbed Sydney Harbour Bridge, said: “I’m all for pushing boundaries and expanding my comfort zone. That’s why I can’t wait to get to grips with my role here at Harlech Foodservices.”

Claire, 47, from Mold, joined from Iceland frozen foods and added: “I liked my job immensely but a new challenge beckoned and I was impressed by what I was hearing about Harlech Foodservice and its ambitions to expand into the North West.”

Claire, who has also worked for supermarket giant Tesco, said: “The idea really appealed to me of starting a new project almost from zero with a dedicated team of co-workers taking the company significantly forward. It is a perfect step up for me in my career.

“We’re all really chomping at the bit now to make a positive difference for our customers.”

Claire will oversee the ambient products, including dry goods, hygiene products, and PPE materials, with the aim of developing the category, reviewing the range, reducing costs, nurturing new and existing customer relations and ensuring a smooth-running supply chain.

She will work alongside Clare Hulme, 53, from Wallasey, who joins Harlech Foodservice from multi-retailer product provider The Appreciate Group and whose career roles have included working with the Co-op and Park Hampers.

Clare, who has a business studies degree from Liverpool John Moores University, will take charge of the frozen foods, ice creams and chilled goods categories and her focus will also be on developing the range while minimising costs and driving the Harlech Foodservice reputation into the North West.

The new customer experiences manager is Leah Adams, 39, who moves from her role as territory account manager after joining the company in 2016 after returning to North Wales from Oxfordshire.

Leah, from Nefyn, said: “It is a new role but an extremely important one as happy customers are vital to the success of the company.

“My role is to be the voice of the customer within the business and ensure colleagues provide an excellent service.

“I will ensure we never forget their needs and always listen carefully to their feedback. I look forward to developing some long-lasting working relationships, keeping customers fully informed and implementing a successful two-way communications policy with all our existing customers and potential new clients.”

Green kids plant trees at Harlech HQ

Green-fingered schoolchildren help food distribution firm plant more than 500 trees
A GREEN-FINGERED group of schoolchildren have helped a growing food distribution firm plant more than 500 trees as part of an ongoing commitment to reduce the company’s carbon footprint.

Harlech Foodservice, which has its headquarters on Parc Bwyd, Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth, enlisted the skills of 10 youngsters, aged between seven and 11 from nearby Ysgol Llanystumdwy to help with the green project to transform a narrow piece of waste ground on the edge of its main site.

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The growing firm, which employs around 200 people and has a satellite base in Chester, ordered in more than 500 trees and shrubs, which included a variety of species such as hazel, hawthorn, apple, hazelnut, rowan, dogwood, dog rose, blackthorn and common crab apple.

Gill Blease, Harlech Foodservice Marketing Manager, was one of those leading the project and joined in the morning’s planting activities.

She said: “We are one of the region’s biggest employers and take our green responsibilities very seriously and so we have been working hard for some time now to look at ways of reducing our carbon footprint.

“This has included installing solar panels on the roof of the main offices here and replacing all our rep’s company cars with hybrid models.

“The tree planting is part of our ongoing commitment to reducing our carbon footprint and the impact we are having on the environment around us but it has other useful benefits too.

“It is great for the team here, for both mental and physical wellbeing. Any staff member was welcome to come down and help with the tree planting and make the most of getting out of the office and into the fresh air for the morning.

“It is also transforming what is currently a piece of waste land into something which is much more visually appealing, attracting wildlife and creating spaces for our staff to go and enjoy during their breaks from work.”

Gill’s colleague Crofton Davey, HR Manager for Harlech Foodservice, said the tree planting project was also great for having the opportunity to strengthen their links with the local primary school and wider community.

Crofton, whose wife Cathryn is headteacher of Ysgol Llanystumdwy, said: “We all live and work together in this beautiful region and so it makes sense for us to look at ways of engaging with the local community and joining forces together to look after it.

“It’s been lovely to team up with the children, who are literally down the road from us, and work on this project together. We are supporting them by providing the chance to take part in a project outside of school and they are helping us by coming and planting the trees and making the whole thing a lot of fun.”

One of those enjoying making the most of the tree planting project was 10-year-old Ela Bentley who is in year six at Ysgol Llanystumdwy.

Ela, who is a member of the school gardening club, said: “I have really enjoyed coming here today to help with the planting because it is a chance to get outside and do something fun.

“I really like gardening at school and now I am getting to use the things I have learned there to help plant the trees here.

“I think it will look a lot prettier once the trees and plants have grown and I am looking forward to coming back and seeing what it looks like. Hopefully it will be a better place for wildlife to come too.”

Cathryn Davey, Headteacher of Ysgol Llanystumdwy, said the planting with Harlech Foodservice had been a great opportunity for the children.

She added: “This fits in so well with a lot of things we are trying to encourage the children to think about and enjoy – getting outside more, helping others in the community and being aware of our environmental impact and how we might improve this.

“What’s also nice is that we will be able to come back and see how the trees and shrubs they have worked hard to plant this morning have grown and improved the area.

“It’s been a lovely project for us all to be involved in and we are thankful to Harlech Foodservice for inviting us along.”

Recruitment plan beats the 'ping-demic' staffing problem

Recruitment plan beats the 'ping-demic' staffing problem

02 August 2021
Many supermarkets and wholesalers have been forced to reduce deliveries or even shut down and big gaps have appeared on the shelves as staff are forced to self-isolate after being pinged by NHS Track and Trace.

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We had already geared up our delivery service by taking on an extra 15 drivers and also taking on more warehouse staff to meet demand.

Managing Director David Cattrall said: “We have successfully recruited 15 drivers and our deliveries are rolling out as usual – we are even going out to pick up stock from suppliers who normally deliver to us.

“We are collecting 100 pallets a day that would normally be delivered to us and today that will include 26 pallets of ice to get our customers through this summer heatwave.

“This is a really busy time of the year for us here in North Wales as the schools have broken up and people are heading for the tourist spots across Mid and North Wales so it’s important to reassure our customers that they can rely on us for deliveries.

“It’s one of our busiest times of the year and it was something we had planned for so thankfully we have been able to cope and keep our customers supplied at their busiest time of the year.”

We also continue with our late night ordering service allowing our customers to order up to 10pm on our website for next day delivery, with our night staff working through the small hours to pick the orders for delivery the next morning.

It has proved very popular as hotels, guesthouses, caravans and campsites fill up in the sunshine and demand rockets. David Cattrall said: “The 10pm order cut off has proved very popular with our customers as it allows them to place and increase orders at the end of service and that’s why we are looking to recruit at least 20 more warehouse nightshift staff at £10.69 an hour and with a £500 bonus if they stay with us to the end of September.

He added: “We’ve been able to afford these rises is because we have worked on improving our systems and working practices during lockdown, for example by improving our e-commerce website which makes it easier for customer to search for products and see our transparent prices.”

Training within to protect our service

Following on from our update around developing our van drivers to become HGV drivers, take a look at the below link to see what some of our team have to say about the driver shortage and how we’re combating it here at Harlech Foodservice in preparation for the coming year.... read more

Harlech secure exclusive partnership with Brongain Farm

Growing food company beefs up range
A growing food distribution company is championing Welsh beef with the launch of a new range of products that have just secured protected European status.

Harlech Foodservice, which has its headquarters in Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth in Gwynedd, and a satellite base in Chester, has sealed a deal to sell “top quality, succulent” steaks, roasting joints, diced beef and minced beef under the Brongain Farm brand.

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The 680-acre Brongain Farm, in Llanfechain in Powys, is owned by the Pickstock family who have recently completed all the necessary Welsh Government audits to qualify for European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) accreditation for their Welsh beef.

PGI status covers regional and traditional foods whose origins can be guaranteed.

Securing the status European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) will give the Brongain Farm brand greater prominence and provides consumers with greater confidence about its provenance.

As a result, Pickstocks are aiming to increase the size of their Aberdeen Angus herd from 800 to 1,000 cattle.

As demand grows, Brongain Farm will be buying livestock from other approved farms who meet their “high environmental, sustainability and welfare standards”.

Gareth Evans, National Account Manager of the beef processing parent company, Pickstock Telford, said: “Pickstock and Harlech Foodservice are leading the way to help support the Welsh beef industry.

“Brongain Farm will be the flagship brand with Harlech Foodservice going forward.

“Pickstock Telford has recently achieved its Welsh PGI status and looks forward to growing the partnership with Harlech by supplying top quality prime Welsh beef.

“We have an integrated supply chain, controlled all the way from the farm to when it arrives with the customer, essentially all the way from field to fork.


Why buying British is important?

3 June 2021
When we buy British, everything we do - from purchasing local-based produce, to combining these into satisfying and tasty meals; is beneficial for the British food industry as a whole.

With a ‘Buy British’ campaign from McCain Foodservice Solutions, we thought now was a great time to highlight why backing the British food industry is a great idea.

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McCain’s British heritage dates back to their arrival in Scarborough back in 1968 and no has five manufacturing sites across the UK. The company works alongside 250 Red Tractor-assured UK potato farmers and growers to ensure kitchens everywhere are well-stocked with high-quality produce.

Offering British produce has many merits including:

Customers want it
Foodservice is driven by customer demand, and from a recent study, McCain revealed that 60% of consumers said they find British produce to be more appealing now than prior to the COVID-19 outbreak.

A further 31% of survey respondents said they would now pay more for ingredients from their local area, with 28% being willing to pay more for British produce.

Highlighting ‘trust’ as one of the strongest factors for consumers today – and in the future – these findings show just how important a role chefs play in consumers’ choices. It isn’t just about making delicious meals but ensuring what goes into them is top quality too.

It instils trust
McCain has found that fries and sides are often the first go-to taste of the meal for consumers, so it’s important they impress when they’re placed in front of diners.

We know that British food instils trust, but it has to be cooked well too and displayed in a tantalising way. Consumers’ expectations are going to be high – especially after an extended break from their usual establishments – so now would be your chance to get it right the first time.

Collaborating with consumer research specialists (Catalyx) McCain UK discovered that customers experience a heightened state of emotion while waiting for their food to reach their table and if the food isn’t up to scratch, this severely heightens the disappointment.

McCain found it to be essential that customers are pleased with the contents of their meal and delivery service. Being ‘hangry’ and disappointed, they found, can cause a knee-jerk reaction to a negative review or complaint online.

Reduces carbon footprint
As British food doesn’t travel as far it has a lower carbon footprint than most foods that are imported, highlights LoveBritishFood.

Meat produced in Britain is also made to some of the highest welfare standards globally, which means you’ll be doing good in all kinds of ways.

Supports the economy
When you buy British you’re not just supporting the farmers you’re buying the produce from, you are also supporting the economy as a whole.

You’ll have the assurance of knowing what you’re buying – and cooking – and your customers will have that same assurance when enjoying their favourite meals.


Accredited Member of the Cleaning and Hygiene Suppliers Association

5 May 2021
We are proud to have become a member of the Cleaning and Hygiene Suppliers Association. As a member of the Accreditation Scheme for Distributors we offer our customers only those products accredited by the Scheme for Manufacturers of cleaning and hygiene chemicals, paper-based and woven products, plastic-based products and cotton-based products, or those that conform to the relevant standards. You can view our full range of cleaning and hygiene products online. Log in to your account here.

personal protective equipment


29 March 2021
We are delighted to have added personal protective equipment (PPE) to our range, and be an accredited supplier, having clinched a share of a Welsh Government contract to supply care homes with protective equipment and cleaning materials.

Our Commercial Director Mark Lawton said: “This does represent a diversification for us but it makes very good sense because we already supply lots of care homes and care organisations with a range of food.

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“We have now added PPE and a range of cleaning materials to the menu of products we provide and it makes good sense for a care home to deal with one supplier rather than several. We can guarantee security of supply which is absolutely vital, especially when care home staff are guarding their vulnerable residents’ lives against Covid. It’s also important that they know their supplier’s products are subject to stringent testing and has the correct certification as a recognised supplier.”

Among the increasing number of care organisations we supply is the Pendine Park which employs over 800 staff at homes in Wrexham and Caernarfon. It is headed by Mario Kreft MBE, who is also chairman of Care Forum Wales which represents over 500 private care organisations across Wales.

Pendine Park Safety Officer Kevin Jones said: “We’re delighted with the service we get from Harlech because they provide us with what we need when we need it. This is literally a matter of life and death for us, not just for our clients but also for the carers and for the wider community because most of our staff are on the care side. We see ourselves as a part of that community because it’s not just about our employees but also about their families and friends and the wider public and we have a duty to keep them all safe.”

Mark Lawton added: “We are a North Wales company and very much part of the local community and we also offer a bilingual service which is important in an area like this so that orders can be taken in Welsh. Winning a contract like this enables us to provide vital employment at a time when the pandemic is having a drastic effect and it helps to ensure that some of the most vulnerable in society and their dedicated carers are being well looked after.”

Adult Mental Health First Aid (Wales) Course

Mental Health

15 March 2021
Here at Harlech Foodservice we understand that Mental Health is a huge part of wellbeing and it’s crucial our employees have a support mechanism available to them. Having invested in employees on site, three of our colleagues have recently completed the Adult Mental Health First Aid (Wales) Course enabling safe, confidential on or off-site support across the business. Pictured are Katie Benton-Hughes and Mags Evans who kindly volunteered to step up and complete the course to help others.

North Wales food wholesaler

Mission of mercy – Harlech Foodservice driver Tadek Jones and their fleet of vehicles ready to deliver to various Food Projects across the region.

5 February 2021
A North Wales food wholesaler is ramping up aid to struggling families with three mercy missions a week.

Harlech Foodservice have sent 10 truckloads of supplies worth £60,000, including bread, eggs and dairy products and even salmon and steak.

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Their latest drops to food banks across North Wales and in Cheshire and Shropshire include 180 boxes of bread, over 10,000 eggs, 79 trays of yoghurts and 98 catering-size cooking sauces as well as bread roll and sponge cake mix.

If it’s not quite feeding the 5,000, it’s not far short after the expanding company, whose customers include schools, pubs, restaurants and care homes, was left with a warehouse full of fresh, frozen, chilled, tinned and non-perishable goods at their headquarters near Criccieth.

Ten of the company’s fleet of delivery trucks are now busy keeping food banks stocked up including at Pwllheli, Colwyn Bay, Northwich and Winsford in Cheshire and Telford and Newport in Shropshire.

Harlech’s Digital Project Manager Ceri Brown works with the team to coordinate the supply chain and she said: “Lockdowns have of course resulted in excess stock with last minute Government decisions resulting in additional wasted stock bought in to satisfy school contracts.

“We had to be prepared for the new school term in January but of course when schools were closed we were left with a huge amount of food which we needed to use.

“We are working closely with some incredible organisations to help people hit hardest by the pandemic and we wanted to share it out across our area of operation.

“As the lockdowns continue, it’s a real struggle for our purchasing team managing stock levels, ensuring we have enough stock to meet demand for those customers that are open, but not over buying.”

Among those they supply is the Telford Food Share Project in Shropshire where project founder Lea Beven said: “We’re really grateful to Harlech who make such a huge contribution to our efforts.

“We are subsidising between 100 and 200 families a day. Not all of them are in absolute crisis but many are struggling and would not be able to make ends meet without us.

“Without us the town just wouldn’t manage. It’s been absolutely vital that we are here because there’s no let up at all now that we are in the middle of winter.”

Harlech Foodservice truck

Eight trucks of food donated to foodbanks in the last two weeks

29 January2021
Over the last two weeks Harlech Foodservice have delivered eight trucks of food to various food projects across North Wales, the North West and Shropshire as the lockdown restrictions continue to have a huge impact across wholesale businesses. Last minute decisions from the Government surrounding the re opening of schools meant stock had already been bought in to satisfy contracts, only for schools not to be permitted to reopen.

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Work continues with the foodbanks, such as Food Share UK and Cheshire Food Hub, who undertake some really incredible work in their communities and it’s crucial this work is supported and continues to help those in need.

Cheshire Food Hub

Business makes generous food donation to Cheshire Food Hub

11 January 2021
A local business has made a generous food bank donation to a Northwich food hub.

Taking inspiration from footballer Marcus Rashford, Harlech Foodservices, a wholesaler with a base in Chester, dropped off a haul of provisions at the Cheshire Food Hub in Northwich.

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The Food Hub serves food banks across the county from Chester to Macclesfield.

The donation included 80 bumper boxes of 96 Weetabix, enough for several thousands of breakfasts, 63 packets of Chilli Con Carne sauce, over £200 worth of bread roll mix, hot chocolate, and other non-perishable items.

Last month, CheshireLive reported that reliance on food banks had soared across Cheshire during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jo Garner, of the charity Changing Lives Together, which co-ordinates the Food Hub, said: "We're really grateful to Harlech because we realised there was going to be a huge demand for food banks across the county.

"During the summer we were feeding about 5,000 children with food boxes, mainly in Cheshire West but we've now moved to a bigger long-term base in Northwich which means we can look to buy in bulk and take donations of food from many sources.

"We can then ship it out to food banks from Chester in the west to Macclesfield in the east of the county and altogether we supply over 20 food banks in the sort of quantities they can use.

"It is quite a logistical exercise and we are looking for more vehicles before for the fleet of vans we run because demand is growing at a faster rate than we had expected.

"We're now packing the Christmas boxes and we plan to do between two and three thousand of them while pin-pointing those who are in most desperate need so we can ship them out in the week before Christmas.

"That's where items like Weetabix family packs donated by Harlech will be going."

The delivery was organised by Ceri Brown, Harlech Foodservices Digital Project Manager, who said: "We have often donated to food banks but with the pandemic the need is so great and inspired by Marcus Rashford we wanted to do more.

"The effect of the recent lockdown was to leave us with plenty of stock so we have made arrangements and delivered to the Cheshire Food Hub at Northwich.

"There they were providing 1,000 Christmas boxes but with lockdown in England, that has now gone up to 10,000 and with our new depot in Chester we are hoping to help out a lot more in that area.

"We'd like to work with more food banks across our area of operation across North and Mid Wales and into Shropshire and the North West but we feel this was a good start and maintains our relationship with these three.

"But it is an ongoing project because a lot of people out there are facing really tough times and we'd like to carry on doing our bit to help them."

Jo Garner added: "The idea of the food hub is that we take the pressure off the individual food banks who are busy enough without having to manage deliveries from various sources so instead we can co-ordinate them from here.

"But things are starting to go through the roof now with the number of referrals to food banks twice as high in November as they were in October so the plan is for us to supplement the food they already have.

"We can act as storage for them and I see myself as the facilitator making sure the supplies get out to the food banks who are on the front line.

"We can identify things that have a short shelf life and get them out as quickly as possible and if things are going to waste then we can pass them on quickly.

"At the same time we are trying to carry out a survey to find how many people the food banks are supporting and how they have arrived there because these food banks are all run by volunteers and they are exhausted."

Jo volunteered herself because she wanted to help out in rural areas where there is an often unseen need for food banks.

She said: "Changing Lives Together is good at logistics and the food has to come in and then it's got to go out.

"That's especially true as next year look as if it's going to be catastrophic.

"It was busy in April but it's going through the roof now.

"It's not just about Christmas, it's about January and beyond. It's going to be critical because there's a huge upsurge in the numbers of people coming into food banks."

Harlech Foodservice depot

Six key recruits will turbo-charge food firm’s
growth to become £50m company

15 February 2021
A food company has hired a team of head-hunters to recruit six key staff to turbo-charge ambitious expansion plans.

Harlech Foodservice, based in Criccieth and Chester, wants to strengthen the management team, to increase turnover to more than £50 million over the next three years.

Read more

Part of the strategy includes finding bigger premises in the Chester area as a staging post for further growth in the North West. Managing director David Cattrall wants the new members of the team to be in place in readiness for when the tourism and hospitality industry starts to reopen when Covid lockdown restrictions are eased.

When that happens Harlech plans to start delivering seven days a week with the introduction of a new Sunday service.

Mr Cattrall, who previously worked in a high-powered role with Booker Wholesale, has embarked on a major restructuring of the company since he was appointed last year.

He said the introduction of “transparent and competitive” pricing on a range of core products had proved popular.

Meanwhile, online sales quadrupled after the website was upgraded and a new app was launched, allied to extending the order window to 10pm. According to Mr Cattrall, the quintet of new appointments were the next step on the journey to drive up turnover and profits.

Among the personnel they want to recruit are a head of purchasing based in Chester, a key account manager for health, care and education, operation managers for the warehouse and butchery in Criccieth, along with a new shift manager for the butchery.

Mr Cattrall said: “To support our growth we have appointed Zachary Daniels Recruitment because it is vitally important that we find the right people for these key roles.

"It might appear counter-intuitive to be recruiting people in the middle of a pandemic but we are essentially investing in future expansion.

“We may not have the same pattern initially but I'm expecting Spring/Summer to probably give us our 2019 business back and provide a springboard for growth.

“We want to continue to look after our customers in our North Wales heartland who helped create Harlech Foodservice.

“We have also seen strong growth in the North West of England and North East Wales through companies like Hickory’s Smokehouse, Frederic Robinson pubs and Denbighshire schools.

“As a result, we are currently looking to add a new full service depot in that area as our Gwynedd base is approaching capacity.

“It’s come about because of our improved core range, transparent and competitive prices, backed up by providing exceptional service.

“We have been working hard through lockdown to ensure we offer an excellent choice of quality products that meet our customer requirements.

“Our core range has an excellent choice of own-label Fairway products and well known foodservice brands.

“For example, in 2019 we introduced Brongain Farm beef to our butchery offer. Based in the heart of mid Wales. it produces up to 1,000 grass and grain fed Aberdeen Angus cattle a year.

“Developing a sustainable system of beef production is one of their top priorities and this is why they have established Brongain Farm as a research unit and a centre of excellence.

“Following the growth in our care home business we have strengthened our range of specialist meals for our clients in the social care sector, including ones for people who have difficulty swallowing.

“We now benchmark against national foodservice companies to ensure we always offer great value to our customers.

“We have also introduced ‘Save by the Case’ so customers can get better prices when buying a whole case of our best-selling lines.

“This year we are introducing a new quality assurance policy. For example, scooping ice cream is a massive sector for Harlech and our customers told us they want certainty their fragile cones arrive unbroken.

“In March we will launch Quality Assurance for Cones with a no quibble guarantee to replace cases for free within 24 hours.

“We asked our customers how we could improve our service even further and the biggest request was for Sunday deliveries during the Spring/Summer season.

“We currently provide deliveries six days a week and from April to September we will be offering a Sunday service to our busiest customers to help them manage their busy and unpredictable weekends.

“I am confident there is a lot of pent up demand out there and, with the help of our new high level recruits, we are going to be ready, willing and able to meet that demand so we can fulfil our ambition to be a £50 million company.”

Food allergens

Are you compliant

Nutritional information on over 20,000 foodservice product lines. Click image to view video

While the new legislation aims to help consumers and the general public gain a better understanding of the content of the food that they eat; we understand that it is a challenge for businesses throughout the catering and foodservice industry to meet the requirements. Erudus provides caterers with comprehensive nutritional breakdowns, dietary advice and allergen information on over 20,000 products that caterers are purchasing through one data source. It aims to make it easier for caterers to access the information they will need to provide to their customers. Great news for Harlech customers; we are able to offer you this data source completely FREE of charge, email service@harlech.lls.com for more information and get you started.

Director Mark Lawton with cook Louise Roberts at Ysgol Brynhyfryd

Denbighshire school meals contracts won by Gwynedd food firm promising more Welsh produce

25 November 2020
Welsh beef is on the menu for pupils across Denbighshire now a leading North Wales food distribution company has won the contract to supply over a million school meals a year for the county.

Harlech Foodservice won the three-year contract from a US-owned multi-national and have pledged that wherever possible the county’s seven secondary and 48 primary schools will receive food sourced in North Wales.

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Harlech commercial director Mark Lawton said: “This is a hugely important contract for us to win against competition from one of the biggest wholesalers in the UK. “It shows we have the quality and the capacity to supply and deliver high quality food, including beef sourced from farms in North and Mid Wales, for well over a million meals a year. .

“Pupils in Denbighshire eat 7,500 meals a day and each week the head cooks in each of the 55 schools in Denbighshire place their orders for some 35,000 meals and we have the capacity to guarantee delivery for that through our fleet of lorries and vans. “It extends the service we provide for schools in North Wales where we already supply similar numbers of school meals for Gwynedd and Conwy which makes for over 100,000 school meals a month.” .

Cllr Huw Hilditch-Roberts, Denbighshire County Council’s Lead Member for Education, Children’s Services and Public Engagement, said: “We’re very pleased to have been able to award this contract to a North Wales company because it is important that we support the regional economy wherever possible. “Ensuring pupils at Denbighshire schools get healthy, varied and nutritious meals to improve learning and development is a priority for the council and this partnership helps ensure our School Meals Service can provide that. .

“We know that the majority of their meat comes from their own farms and is prepared by their own butchers and that is another box we can tick. “The contract has started and is going very well and Harlech have gone out of their way to adapt their systems to match with ours and it’s good to know there is always someone on the end of the phone we can speak to. “All the schools operate the same menu for the week and Harlech have that as well but it is still the head cook who orders for each school.” Ysgol Brynhyfryd head cook Louise Roberts places her orders twice a week and she said: “It works really well and the people we deal with at Harlech are very friendly and helpful.” Harlech Foodservices bid for the contract through their membership of TUCO – The University Caterers Organisation – a framework which qualifies businesses to provide catering services for the public sector. .

They have bases at Criccieth, Gwynedd, and Chester and between the two locations, the company employs around 200 staff. Mark Lawton added: “We are a North Wales company and we believe it is important that we supply schools in North Wales with food from North Wales to support the local community and we also offer a bilingual service which is important in an area like this so that orders can be taken in Welsh. “Winning a contract like this enables us to provide vital employment at a time when the pandemic is having a drastic effect on the hospitality trade.” .

Hickory’s Smokehouse

Food firm clinches smokin’ £3.5m deal

7 October 2020
A food distribution company has clinched a £3.5 million a year deal to supply fast-growing US-style BBQ restaurant chain Hickory’s Smokehouse with a sizzling selection of beef, pork and chicken.

The announcement comes hot on the heels of news that Harlech Foodservice, based in Criccieth, in Gwynedd, and Chester, had created 16 new jobs after achieving record sales over the summer.

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Hickory’s, who have 11 outlets including their newest right on the River Severn at Shrewsbury, have successfully brought the taste of America’s Deep South to diners from Southport to Worcester.

Harlech Foodservice are now helping them do that by delivering the meat for their burgers, pork ribs, chicken wings, butt steaks and brisket, including over a ton of beef every month.

Since lockdown ended in July, 1,000 diners have celebrated Saturdays at each of the Hickory’s restaurants.

The company opened their first restaurant alongside the River Dee at Chester in 2010 and who now employ 871 staff, 70 of them at Shrewsbury, including 363 trained BBQ chefs.

Appropriately, they re-opened on the Fourth of July, American Independence Day, and the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out also gave them a boost and so has the style of their premises, according to Executive Chef Director Rob Bacon, who helped set up Hickory’s in Chester 10 years ago.

He said: “We have been looking for a supplier to help us grow the business and Harlech Foodservices have been on our radar for a while and they fitted the bill because we need the right quality of meat and Harlech can supply that.

“They can also take orders late at night and it will be here at our restaurant, whether it’s in Southport, Worcester or Rhos on Sea, at 10am the next morning with the right product at the right quality.

“We cook our beef brisket for 14 hours in the smoker so the beef needs to be grain-fed rather than grass-fed because the meat will stay moist and tender rather than drying out.”

Mark Lawton, Commercial Director of Harlech Foodservice, said: “Hickory’s are a fantastic brand and they’ve done a lot of work to get their offer just right and it’s paying off for them.

“Part of that is making sure they have the right meat when and where they need it and we have the capacity to guarantee that. We’ve got the size and scale to deliver six days a week and cater for late ordering using our online ordering and app.

“They have struck a chord with their customers and that’s shown by their success but they don’t compromise on quality and their approach to doing what they do is very thorough and professional.”

Rob Bacon, a trained chef who spent years in high end restaurants in North Wales and the North West including St David’s Park Hotel in Ewloe, added: “We have done a lot of research and made many visits to America and spoken to their top pitmasters, the best BBQ chefs in the world.

“They’ve been really helpful, especially when they realised we were from the UK, and given us plenty of advice on how to make this a really authentic experience.

“We cook just about everything on the premises and we even make our own coleslaw and we have our own secret Magic Dust we have developed to sprinkle on our meat.

“I know when we opened our first restaurant 10 years ago we were expecting about 70 or 80 covers but we had over 300 and had to shut the restaurant early because we’d run out of food and the same thing happened the next night.

“This year we actually locked down before the Government announcement but we kept our staff busy and we maintained our involvement with the local community which is very important to us.

“We’ve raised over £190,000 for the Cash for Kids charity and provided meals for vulnerable families from our restaurants in Chester and Poynton which has kept out teams involved during lockdown.

“But if you had wanted to design a restaurant best suited to the current crisis then ours pretty much fit the bill – they are large and spacious and they all have outdoor areas.

“So a lot has gone for us but we have also taken the anti-covid measures very seriously so that we have closed the kids’ cinemas we have in every restaurant and observed all the regulations and recommendations to keep our staff and customers safe.”

For more on Hickory’s go to hickorys.co.uk

Food company creates 16 new jobs after sizzling summer with 385 per cent increase in burger sales

15 September 2020
A food distribution company has created 16 jobs after achieving record sales over the summer with demand for burgers going through the roof.

Harlech Food Service, based in Criccieth and Chester, say easier online purchasing, fixed pricing with competitive prices on key lines and the UK Government’s Eat Out To Help Out scheme all played a part in the increase.

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Overall, turnover by the end of August was 4.7 per cent higher than last year while there was a meaty 385 per cent growth in demand for burgers with 130,000 of them being sold.

At the same time there was a dramatic increase in online ordering via the company’s website and app – up from 15 per cent to 44 per cent of the overall total.

According to Harlech Foodservice, customers who order digitally spend £74 more on average than when they buy by calling the telesales team.

The good news was announced by new managing director David Cattrall who is aiming to add another £20 million to the turnover over the next five years.

The reversal of fortune is dramatic after the company suffered a massive drop in business earlier this year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Cattrall, who is approaching his first 100 days in charge, said: “By the end of the school holidays we saw sales exceeding last year by 4.7 per cent.

“We knew it would be a difficult time for our customers to predict sales and what they need to order and most would incur additional costs ensuring they complied with social distancing guidelines, so we asked ourselves how we could help our customers.

“Whilst many other suppliers chose to reduce services to cut their own costs we decided to support our customers through this unpredictable period by improving our service.

“We introduced fixed and transparent pricing – which is unusual in our sector - so customers could browse our entire range without having to contact their sales rep.

“Something else that has gone down well was out decision to reduce the prices on key lines for our customers, for example 5kg of 7-8oz chicken fillets are now just £19.99.

“We also increased the delivery service to all our customers, offering every day Monday to Saturday, as well as introducing later order times so all customers can now order up to 10pm via our website and app. This allows chefs to place orders after evening service.

“Our customers really bought into our digital platforms - we saw a massive increase from just 15 per cent of customers buying via web or app pre- Covid to 44 per cent by the end August.

“Customers really like our later cut off time with half of all orders placed between 8pm and 10pm - a service we didn’t offer pre-Covid. It’s completely changed how we work.”

Head of sales Chris Gregson said: “We have been blown away by the customer transition to our web and app. Chefs keep telling me how much easier it is to order after service when they know what they need, full of confidence they will receive their Harlech delivery the following day.

“What has surprised us is how much more customers are ordering digitally. They spent on average £74 more using our web or app compared to telesales. Our customers tell us they find it easier to browse our range and compare prices.

“We have seen the biggest take up in our Bwydlyn butchery and had to recruit butchers to cope with demand. For example our popular 6oz Gourmet Steak burger is made fresh by our butchers each day – in August our butchers made a record breaking 130,000 fresh burgers. That really is some going.”

Mr Cattrall added: “Just a few weeks ago we thought we might have to consider warehouse redundancies.

“However, we have now had to recruit additional drivers, warehouse operatives and butchers to cope with demand - in all we have employed an additional 16 people on permanent, full time contracts in our Criccieth and Chester distribution centres. “Whilst sales will slow with Eat Out To Help Out ending, we expect sales to continue above last year.”

Nick Burns, Food Development Manager for Robinsons Brewery, is delighted with the improved service and better pricing structure.

He said: “It has been an extremely difficult and challenging time for hospitality with many suppliers struggling to turn back on foodservice manufacturing to cope with the Eat Out to Help Out demand in August.

“Harlech Foodservice deliver to all our managed estate across North Wales & NW England and have been excellent. They quickly put in place systems and processes ensuring that we received good availability so that we could look after our own customers. We value the care and adaptability of a regional business like Harlech.”

How doing “simple” things right will lead to exciting future for food distribution firm

14 August 2020
A food industry big hitter who started out as a Saturday boy at Iceland Frozen Foods has taken the helm at another iconic North Wales company

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David Cattrall, 49, a former pupil of Ysgol Friars, in Bangor, is already looking beyond the coronavirus crisis after being appointed managing director at distribution company Harlech Foodservice which has its HQ in Criccieth, and a base in Chester.

He has high hopes for growth and is aiming to add another £20 million to the turnover over the next five years.

The secret, he says, will be concentrating on what customers want with fixed, transparent and competitive pricing on a core range of products, making it simpler to search and order online and strengthening the “exceptional customer service” already provided by the team.

After being brought up in Liverpool and North Wales, he rejected the idea of going to university in favour of a career in retail.

He was offered a trainee manager’s job at Flintshire-based Iceland after working weekends for them and earning extra pocket money while in school.

It was the first rung on the corporate ladder which saw a meteoric rise, including roles with Marks and Spencer and Booker Wholesale with whom he ended up as sales director of their catering division where turnover was measured in billions.

Mr Cattrall, who lives in Beddgelert, has known the Foskett family who own Harlech Foodservice for a number of years and more recently did some consultancy work for them.

Then in January of this year he was appointed as a non-executive director with a view to him becoming MD at the end of 2020 but Covid-19 has accelerated the process.

As a company whose business revolves around the hospitality industry, the pandemic saw a massive drop in orders – something that has resulted in the painful decision to consult over the expected loss of 16 jobs.

The challenge now, according to Mr Cattrall, is to restructure the business so that it is well placed to prosper in the post-pandemic world, with the North West and Midlands being targeted as growth areas.

He said: “Our aim is to change the focus of the business to allow us to grow. The current crisis is forcing us to adapt and we are aiming to make changes with the future in mind.

“One important thing we are introducing is transparent, fixed pricing for our all customers, rather than the norm in the industry of inflated list prices that require negotiating line by line. For example, at Harlech Foodservice 5kg of chicken fillets is now £19.99 for every customer.

“We want to make it much easier for people to buy from us so we’ll move to a modern website and app to enable customers to search more easily, just like Amazon, so you can compare range, price and product information and make an instant decision.

“Also, our customers work at very different hours. So again, if they want to place an order after service or build up a basket during the day, it’s easy to do that in the digital world.

“We’re extending our order window until 10pm for next day delivery when ordering via digital means. However, we still offer a telesales service for those customers that prefer the personal touch.

“We’re very strong in North Wales and we want to continue to expand further and faster in the North West of England and the Midlands. There is also scope to grow our business in the education and healthcare sectors.

“At the moment we’re a £33 million pound business and we hope to grow to at least £50 million over the next five years.

“My job is to make Harlech simpler so that we do the important things well – sourcing at a good price so we can provide our customers with competitive prices on their core range of products.

“In the short term, we’re trying to be optimistic around what happens to the business. We have seen some foodservice companies raise prices just when the hospitality sector needs help and support. We have done the opposite and invested in staples like oil, chicken, milk and chips.”

Director Andrew Foskett, who was previously joint managing director with brother Jonathan, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to appoint David to take Harlech Foodservice to the next level.

“Current circumstances have dictated that he has taken the reins sooner than we originally envisaged but David is the right person to help us navigate this difficult period and lay the foundations for the future.

“He has a hugely successful track record in the food industry and his vast experience and drive will help us grow, develop and prosper as a business.”

Company statement

25 June 2020

No individual, community or business has escaped the battles faced throughout the Covid-19 crisis. It has had an overwhelming impact on everyone, including the foodservice and hospitality sectors. With the closure of most food and leisure sites, at a time when the industry should have been heading into its peak season, these closures resulted in a significant overnight drop in sales.

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We utilised the generous furlough scheme for a number of employees, operating with only skeleton staff to manage the business’ daily needs. With no clear road map offered by the Welsh Assembly on the planned re-opening of hospitality, the business has been under severe stress.

In order to secure both short and long-term future success, we have needed to review our entire business operating procedures and proposed a number of changes. We do understand that these proposed changes will have a significant impact on our employees and we aim to keep any disruption to a minimum.

Regrettably, we have entered into a period of consultation with our employees which will unfortunately result in redundancies, expected in the region of 15 job losses across the business.

We expect a lengthy and uncertain recovery period over the next 12 months, however we remain confident about the future of Harlech Foodservice continuing to provide a great range of products at competitive prices whilst continuing to deliver excellent customer service; we have strong cash flow and will weather the storm.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff and customers for their cooperation, loyalty and hard work over these difficult times.

Coronavirus statement

Coronavirus statement

18 March 2020

The board have reviewed the current coronavirus situation and the impact on its staff, customers and general business
One of our main priorities is to safeguard staff jobs. After consultation with our employees, reduced working hours have been agreed and implemented across the board.

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We are also trying to keep the impact on our customers to a minimum. Normal customers credit facilities and the £60 minimum order spend remain unaffected.

We have taken the decision to reduce customers delivery schedule down to a 3 day week until the situation improves. Most customers order 3 or fewer times a week so we hope for minimal disruption. Our team will inform you of new delivery days by end of week.

We will continue to accept orders via the usual channels i.e. App, website and telephone. To Register for online ordering and log-in details please email sales@harlech.lls.com or speak to your telesales.

We are working hard to maintain service level, however, as I’m sure you can appreciate, we will inevitably experience supplier short deliveries and may need to offer substitutes.

If you wish to discuss any of the above points in more detail, then please get in touch with your usual Telesales or Account Manager

We will continue to adopt best practices throughout the business and follow advice from the relevant authorities and monitor the ongoing situation closely.

We wish all our customers well over this difficult, unprecedented situation that we find ourselves in and hope this is only a short-term problem.

Best wishes
Jonathan, Andrew and Laura Foskett

Record breaking deals of almost £500,000 secured at
two-day trade expo led by growing food distribution firm

6 March 2020
RECORD breaking deals of almost £500,000 were secured at a high-profile two-day trade expo led by a growing food distribution firm.

Pictured, from left to right, are Andrew, Laura and Jonathan Foskett of Harlech Foodservice.

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The Harlech Foodservice Food and Drink Expo 2020, now in its 42nd year, welcomed almost 2,000 visitors to the event in Venue Cymru, Llandudno which saw around 165 UK-wide suppliers showcase their produce.

Sales generated by the event were up by more than 30 per cent from close to £350,000 in 2019 to almost £460,000 in 2020. There were an additional 30 new businesses showcasing their produce this year.

The expo aims to allow Harlech Foodservice suppliers to talk directly to the customer, giving them a chance to tell the story behind their product and offer free taster to representatives from the leisure, education and health industries across Britain.

Andrew Foskett is Joint Managing Director of Harlech Foodservice which has its headquarters in in Llanystumdwy, near Criccieth, Gwynedd. The firm, which has a satellite base in Chester, employs around 200 people, and was founded by his mother and father, Colin and Gill.

Andrew, who runs the firm with his brother Jonathan and sister Laura, said: “The event just keeps on getting bigger and bigger every year and we had people queuing up outside before the doors opened.

“Visitors were just so keen to get in because there is a lot to see and some great deals to be had.

“There are many benefits to both our customers and our suppliers. The customers are able to come and see, taste and feel the products for themselves and there’s no substitute for that.

“They have a chance to talk to the supplier and find out more about the story behind the particular product, which can be very important, and find out how best it can be used.

“It helps them to find out the latest food trends and to stay on top of the changing patterns in the industry. We have suppliers here specialising in vegan produce, allergen free products, and other things which our customers need to be aware of and thinking about all the time if they want to stay on top of their game.

“It’s a really important event for all concerned and we are proud to be at the fore of driving it forward.”

Global giants such as Heinz and Unilever were present at the event along with a whole host of varying size businesses including Seabrook crisps, Fentimans and Deli France.

At the heart of the event is Welsh Street, created by Harlech Foodservice to champion the wealth of quality food being produced across the country and particularly in the North Wales region.

As part of this, Harlech Foodservice had its new range of Brongain Farm Welsh beef products which have just secured European Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status.

It is a new partnership struck up with the Pickstock family and their 680-acre farm, in Llanfechain, Powys, which sees Harlech Foodservice selling top quality steaks, roasting joints, diced beef and mince under the Brongain Farm brand.

Laura Jones, Marketing Manager for Edwards of Conwy, was manning a stall on Welsh Street, giving out free tasters for the butchery firm which is famous for its top quality sausages, burgers and other meat products.

Founded by Master Butcher, Ieuan Edwards, who was one of three sons born on a family farm in Llanrwst, the company has gone from a one-shop operation on Conwy high street to a thriving meat production business supplying major supermarkets, wholesale and foodservice firms. It has always stood steadfastly by its belief of supplying the best quality product which customers will come back for ‘again and again’, no matter how large the food production operation.

Laura said: “The expo is great because it gives us the face to face contact to interact with new and existing customers and to connect with them in a way which is just not possible through a catalogue.

“It gives us a chance to understand better what they need, ensuring we have the right products to match and we simply couldn’t do this without the forum of an event like this.

“The quality of our products is king for us and the event allows us to show people this. It’s also a chance for us to tell the story behind the business which is very important to people these days.

“It’s great and so busy which gives us a chance to reach a lot of people in a relatively short space of time.”

The Welsh Government were also in attendance on Welsh Street represented jointly by Food & Drink Wales and Visit Wales.

Among the thousands of visitors attending the event were Michelle Casmore and Melissa Williams of Y Pantri café in Caernarfon.

Michelle, Manager of Y Pantri, said: “We bake a lot of things ourselves and this event is really useful for coming and getting inspiration and fresh ideas.

“We buy from Harlech Foodservice and like to keep things as local as possible so the event is great for coming and seeing the products, trying them, seeing which might work best for us.”

Her colleague and assistant manager, Melissa, added: “When we come across a good product locally, such as the Dragon cheese, then we will always use that in our own baking and let our customers know that we do.”

Melissa added that discussing allergy awareness with the expo producers had also been very helpful.

She said: “It is about being able to find out which products are suitable for everybody and speaking to the producers themselves to understand how best to use them and recommend them to our own customers.”

Llyr Williams


February 2020

A BUTCHER with a big appetite for the great outdoors is raising money for vulnerable children by walking to the top of Snowdon every week for the entire year.

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That means keen walker Llyr Williams, who works for growing food distribution firm Harlech Foodservice, will have climbed the equivalent of Everest five times, trekked more than 400 miles and scaled more than 150,000 feet when he successfully completes his gruelling 52-week challenge in aid of Action for Children.

The 32-year-old will be heading to the summit come rain or shine, or even ice and snow, with the aim of beating his current personal best time of one hour and 27 minutes tackling the strenuous Rhy Ddu Path.

Llyr, who lives in Llannor near Pwllheli and is a former student of Ysgol Y Moelwyn in Blaenau Ffestiniog, has worked as a butcher at Harlech Foodservice which has its headquarters on Parc Bwyd, Llanystumdwy,near Criccieth, for more than two years.

The company, which employs around 200 people and has a satellite base in Chester, has named Action for Children as its chosen charity during 2020. It’s a UK-wide charity that protects and supports vulnerable children and young people by providing practical and emotional care.

Llyr said: "I go walking every week anyway and having just achieved my personal best time walking up Snowdon, I thought there must be a way of doing this for charity and making it a proper challenge.

"My personal best is 87 minutes to the summit. There are four or five paths you can take but I prefer the Rhy Ddu Path as I think it's more rewarding and challenging than the others, and the views are stunning.

"I usually walk up to the summit of Snowdon six or seven times a year so to do it every week will be challenging. The changing weather will obviously make things difficult.

"I intend to do the Rhy Ddu Path for them all but it depends on the weather. It's just the snow and ice that would require me changing the path for safety reasons. I'd go through Llanberis as it has a wider track.

"I've only ever climbed Snowdon once at peak time in the summer. Since then I've always done early morning walks before sunrise which is what I'll do for the challenge.

"Not only is it less hot, it's also less busy and you get to see the sunrise which is spectacular. It's like the Lion King - honestly that's the best way of describing it! The changing colours on the mountains and surroundings are just incredible."

Llyr, who has a two year old son called Ianto, says the biggest reward from completing the challenge will be knowing that his efforts will go towards helping children that need it the most.

Last year, Action for Children helped more than 387,000 children and families across the UK - that could be protecting them from neglect or abuse, or supporting those who are homeless.

Nikki Booth, Action for Children’s North Wales Community Fundraiser, said: ‘What Llyr is doing is incredible and unique.

“Going up Snowdon once is no mean feat but every week for a year is amazing and some of the photos I’ve seen already have been beautiful.

“It was wonderful to be chosen by Harlech Foodservice in the first place but Llyr’s challenge is really setting the tone for a brilliant year’s fundraising with a team of five also already signed up for a 10K race in Anglesey in the Spring.

“This is all to help the children, young people and their families who need it most in our communities and Action for Children is really grateful for all Harlech’s staff endeavours.”

Llyr added: "The support I've had from my colleagues at Harlech Foodservice has been brilliant especially considering I only mentioned the idea of the challenge two weeks before Christmas.

"I've had one lad in my team come out on the first walk with me. It was his first time doing it and he thoroughly enjoyed it. Hopefully I'll get a few more involved in it over the course of the year.

"If you can go up in just under three hours you're doing well. I'll be aiming to try and beat my personal best at some point, it would be nice to do that, but at the end of the day I'll be achieving something anyway just by going up every week.

"I'm using my hobby to raise money for charity. Walking is my exercise, I'm not a sports fan. This is what I've enjoyed doing since I can remember.

"As a dad myself it's really rewarding to support a children's charity such as Action For Children. It doesn't matter what you do, just a small thing will make a massive difference.

"Sadly not every child's upbringing is brilliant so it's nice to support the charity and know it could be helping make a child's life more comfortable."

To support Llyr and donate to Action For Children via Harlech Foodservice, go to www.justgiving.com/fundraising/harlech-foo...

To find out more about Action For Children, go to www.actionforchildren.org.uk