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Last Updated: Monday, 14 August 2006, 12:09 GMT 13:09 UK
Welsh for a week eating challenge
Hywel Griffith
By Hywel Griffith
BBC Wales health correspondent

Hywel Griffith

Where does our food come from?

It sounds a simple question - but if you look through the average Welsh household's shopping basket - you'd see a United Nations of produce.

Whether it's bananas from Costa Rica, apples from South Africa, or coffee from Columbia, modern appetites are truly global - but how much food comes from Wales?

The food and drinks industry contributes around 900m a year to the Welsh economy.

That's what Welsh Assembly Government figures say - but according to dietician Nia Rees Williams, the average shopper may not know if they're eating local food, or produce sourced thousands of miles away.

"Because there's so much choice in supermarkets people get confused about what's available" she said.

"Maybe because we're so preoccupied with the bill and the variety, people don't look at the label and realise that there are local foods."

The Brice family
The Brice family are also taking on the Welsh food challenge

But supermarkets such as Tesco defend their record on local produce.

"We sell an awful lot of Welsh lines, starting with potatoes, tomatoes, swedes and carrots" says Ashley West from Tesco Extra in Cardiff.

"The selection of meats for Welsh lines is fantastic - we've got Welsh mince and joints like sirloins and braising steaks - that are all obviously labelled as Welsh."

Local food producers also have a strong interest in promoting Welsh brands.

The Welsh Pantry, from Treforest near Pontypridd, is in the middle of re-branding its whole range of pizzas, pies and ready meals such cawl [a Welsh soup or broth], in order to appeal to a wider market.

"I think there's a Welsh market that isn't just in Wales," says Paul Anzani from the company.

Bacon sandwich
Both parties can eat what they like as long it is all Welsh produce

"Before these things were deemed to be just very local, but now there is a national, or international even, Welsh quality product."

But is there enough choice to go without food from elsewhere?

To find out, I'm planning to Eat Welsh for a Week - sticking solely to food and drink made in Wales.

I'm going to be joined in the challenge by the Brice family from Hensol in the Vale of Glamorgan - who'll have to stick to the same rules, whilst staying within their normal shopping budget.

"As a proud Welsh family we like to support local butchers, grocers and markets to ensure their existence for years to come," says Richard Brice.

"My wife, Jules, is a teacher and as a keen cook finds that the school holidays are a perfect time to source, create and cook properly with the children."

Throughout the week I'll be keeping a special food diary online, and we welcome your comments on the Welsh food industry - plus any advice on what to eat!

You can get in touch by e-mailing us at newonline.wales@bbc.co.uk

"We'll get back to basics and eat truly Welsh food"

Towns amble toward slow food race
18 Mar 06 |  South West Wales

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