On 6th June 2013 the First Minister, Carwyn Jones officially launched Taste Trail Ceredigion in Llanerchaeron, a National Trust owned site near Aberaeron.
An initial consultation using social media took place January 2013 to gauge the level of interest in the Taste Trail Ceredigion project. There was a great deal of enthusiasm for the project, which brought together 27 local food producers, from whisky distillers and cheese makers to chocolate producers and vegetable growers, and promotes local produce to visitors and residents alike through traditional methods as well as innovative social media techniques.
A discussion with Cynnal y Cardi, Axis 4 LEADER project funded by the Wales Rural Development Programme with support from the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development took place to develop the new cluster and a food trail that utilises new social media techniques to market a group of Ceredigion businesses. The project is testing how new media can aid the marketing of specialty Welsh food and drink. Many of the producers are also opening their doors for the first time for visitors to see them in action as food tourism destinations.
The future aims of the project are to develop food related tourism activity. There is considerable evidence to show that the quality of local food offered to visitors, increases visitor satisfaction and eventually improves the area’s recognition as a prominent holiday destination. The group will develop “Pick-up-a-picnic” with coastal path and other walks and suggestions for accessing different parts of the trail in mind.
Feedback on the Taste Trail project from food producers .
“Taste Trail Ceredigion has been very successful for us; we have seen increased sales through visits from tourists (particularly in July, August and September). The tourists are quite happy to see and hear how we make chocolates, through demonstrations, talks, have a go themselves, tasting and buying etc. Many of them told us how much they had enjoyed visiting various producers/businesses of the Taste Trail and intend to do so next year. We have also received an increased number of bookings for chocolate making classes, demo/talks and visits from other groups, individuals, businesses and organisations. In addition, we have had some collaboration with other businesses within the Taste Trail including taking part in food fairs, producing new products using produce from other producers (Da Mhile and New Quay Honey), supporting chocolate tasting conducted by Llwynhelyg Farm Shop, recommending others to visit businesses within the Taste Trail and distributing leaflets. Overall we are very happy with the way Taste Trail Ceredigion is working for us and it’s also invaluable to build up a network/contacts with other members, we had lots of fun and enjoyed very much taking part in the Taste Trail.” – Kitty – Chocolate Fusion.
The Taste Trail worked very well for us this summer, every day people were coming down the lane to visit the farm and distillery. Often we were told they had picked up a Taste Trail leaflet from Llwynhelyg Farm Shop or elsewhere. Tourists have come from all over the UK and in some cases for example visitors from Manchester have said they will visit our stall at the Manchester Christmas Market, so there is a knock-on effect as well. John – Da Mhile Distillery
I have been very glad to be a part of the project. I can’t really tell if we’ve been busier because of it as when it all started we hadn’t had a full year having reopened the café the previous August. There is definitely strength in numbers and working as a group and having the leaflet, website and social networking up and running is a huge plus. I would say it has been a definite plus in just belonging to it and to be able to take the model and use it again as a template to develop other things within our own communities. – Rhian – Cwtch Coffi
It’s been great being a part of the Taste Trail Ceredigion group. It’s made us more aware of the producers around us working together as a group has helped us to make a bigger impact than the sum of our parts which is important. Knowing how many good producers there are in Ceredigion has made us want to start a weekly producers market in 2014. We’ve definitely had increased business as a result of being a part of the Taste Trail Ceredigion. Our sales box scheme is steadily increasing in particular. We also had a rise in the number of holiday lettings in our holiday cottages from May-October 2013. The profile that the Taste Trail gives helps more people to find out about us. Alicia – Troedyrhiw Organics.
The Taste Trail Leaflet has bought new customers to the shop here – mainly visitors who have found the leaflet in their cottage rental or hotel. Wendy – Wendy Brandon Preserves
Visitors were certainly very impressed with the lay out and ease of use of the leaflet. Many visitors left the Beach Hut with a visit to a local producer in mind and a welcome day out that wasn’t over commercialised. Jane- The Beach Hut
We found the Taste Trail excellent for working together with other businesses, and it raised our profile locally and some increased business through sales to visitors. Penny – Penlon Brewery
A leaflet has been produced and distributed across Wales promoting the project, Cynnal Y Cardi also funded the production of the Taste Trail Ceredigion website* Taste Trail Ceredigion (pdf) which is a wealth of information about each of the producers and a map, so why don’t you ” take the trail and taste the difference”.