Two Welsh bakery businesses are rising to the challenge of meeting new market opportunities following their expansion and relocation to purpose-built facilities.

With the move, Welsh Gluten Free Bakery Products, and MamGu Welshcakes - which is located in Pembrokeshire - have upped their production and increased their staff.

Both enterprises have worked with Cywain – a project which supports the development of new markets for growth orientated businesses in the agri-food sector.

Cywain development manager Nia Môn said: “For small companies, expanding and moving premises can be a daunting, but exciting experience and we are delighted to have helped Welsh Gluten Free Bakery Products, and MamGu Welshcakes, grow their markets and customer bases.”

Only a few weeks ago MamGu Welshcakes opened its coffee shop and production unit in Solva, and already the enterprise is boosting the local Pembrokeshire economy by employing five new members of staff.

Founded by Becky Hood and Thea Noble, who met while working in a café in St Davids, MamGu Welshcakes uses exciting flavour combinations, to give the iconic tea-time favourite a modern and continental twist.

Inspired by their international travels, Becky and Thea’s friendship was founded on a mutual love of Welsh culture and international outlook – which they bring to their baking.

Initially selling at farmers markets, food festivals and events MamGu's customer base has grown, culminating in the business’s new welshcake themed coffee shop which features traditional Welsh dishes too.

There they make and serve traditional and different Welsh cake varieties such as cherry Bakewell, dark chocolate and orange, dark chocolate and coconut, cinnamon, ginger, lemon, chilli chocolate, triple chocolate, and even cheese and leek.

Says Thea: “Moving into a purpose-built kitchen has allowed us to increase production and take on more customers, as well as expand our flavours and ways to serve Welsh cakes.

“For example, we can serve them hot with Upton Farm ice cream, and we use lots of local products in the café from companies such as the Pembrokeshire Chilli Co, Capital Roasters, Pembrokeshire Sea Salt, and Farmers Food at Home whose chutney we serve with our leek and cheese Welsh cakes.”

Cywain’s input, says Thea, has made all the difference to the enterprise. “They have been fantastic telling us about courses, trade shows and helping us with our branding. Cywain showed us where to go next and gave us direction and have supported us in taking our business to the next level."

When Joyce Harvey-Dunton was diagnosed as coeliac, with total wheat intolerance, she found her choice of bakery products to be limited.

So, she and her husband Andrew decided to set-up a bakery - Welsh Gluten Free Bakery Products (WGF) - with Joyce, a trained cook, supplying the hands-on baking experience producing a large range of speciality products which are suitable for Coeliacs.

The business, which recently moved to Food Centre Wales at Horeb near Llandysul, has gone from strength to strength and supplies independent stores and cafes throughout south and west Wales.

Now, having recently taken the big step of moving into new premises, the business looks forward to expanding its customer base to the whole of Wales.

Continually developing new ranges, Joyce has honed her recipes over a number of years, perfecting the taste and texture of WGF’s bread, flapjacks, cakes, Welshcakes, shortbread, scones, kraft boxed finger cakes, tartlets and sweet pastries, as well as two varieties of quiche - Leek & Cheese, and Red Onion & Red Pepper. In addition, WGF produce vegan gluten-free baked products.

Their skill and invention have paid off, and last year WGF received a coveted Great Taste Award for its bread and rolls – putting the bakery among an elite group of producers.

WGF’s recent move to a new production unit at the Food Centre Wales in Horeb, will says Andrew give them the space and equipment to grow the family-run business.

Says Andrew, “We are also going for SALSA (safe and local supplier approval) accreditation which is required by many wholesalers. We’ve taken on part-time members of staff which enables us to concentrate on other areas of the business such as packaging and how we can reduce our ‘foot-print’ and the amount of plastic used.”

Through its links with Cywain, WGF has been able to tap into a wide range of business training and advice, and through trade events make contacts and display their products to a wider audience.

Says Andrew, “The support we’ve had – and continue to have - from Cywain has been tremendous, they have helped us to move forward as a growing business in the big wide world of the competitive marketplace.”

“We’re thrilled to see WGF make this investment and take this great step to grow their company and markets,” says Nia Môn. “Joyce and Andrew have worked very hard developing their business and we look forward to seeing their products being available across the country in the near future.”