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18/05/2015

Halen Môn’s new visitor centre set to boost tourism on Anglesey

It’s favoured by celebrity chefs and can be found on the shelves of Fortnum and Mason, Harvey Nichols and Harrods.  It was also the first Welsh product to gain the EU protected food name status, joining other protected names like Champagne, Parma ham and Roquefort cheese.

Now, visitors to Anglesey can see how Halen Môn is produced first hand at the company’s new visitor centre, which has recently opened to the public and offers guided tours and tasting sessions.
 
The centre is part of a unique new salt cote (a building to make salt by the sea)  the company has built with the backing of a £1.25m funding package from the AONB Sustainability fund, The Lottery Coastal Communities fund, Finance Wales, the Welsh Government, the Fisheries Local Action Group, the Directors as well as HSBC. This was secured in 2013 & 2014.

Located in the Anglesey Area of Outsanding Natural Beauty , the new facility went into production in February 2015, enabling Halen Mon to increase its salt yields from the waters of the Menai Strait.

David Lea-Wilson, who co-owns Anglesey Sea Salt with his wife Alison which produces Halen Môn, said: “We harvest every flake of Halen Môn by hand using an exclusive process and we secured EU protected food name status because it’s unique to Wales.  Opening our new salt cote with the backing of Finance Wales, the Welsh Government and HSBC has enabled us to keep up with growing demand.

“Our new visitor centre showcases the unique way we make Halen Môn and also gives visitors an insight into the important role salt plays in our diets as well as our history.  We’re planning that it will quickly become a tourist attraction on Anglesey and provide a real boost to the Island’s economy. We have had over 500 visitors in the first month with favourable reviews on Trip adviser”

Anglesey Sea Salt has diversified its product range over the years and today it includes flavoured salt, charcoal salt and smoked water. The company has also been recognised by the Government as one of the UK’s Top 50 Food Stars this year.
 
Edwina Hart, Minister for Business, Enterprise, Technology and Science, said: “Anglesey Sea Salt made a global mark in the food and drink sector and continues to grow and develop. Welsh Government was able to provide part of a funding package to the business, bringing direct and indirect benefits to the local economy through supply chain activity.”

“The visitors’ centre will be a destination for tourists on Anglesey. Halen Môn is such a unique product that it has generated a lot of interest.  It’s expected to increase tourism on the island in an area already noted for its outstanding natural beauty.”

Finance Wales has had a fifteen-year relationship with Anglesey Sea Salt and this is its latest investment in the company. 

Allan Jones, Portfolio Executive at Finance Wales said: “Halen Môn showcases Wales at its best and is becoming known all over the world.  Finance Wales has been backing the company for over fifteen years and David and Alison’s passion,  together with their experience and innovative approach has driven the business to new heights. 

“They’ve built market share by expanding into new markets as well as introducing new products and the new salt cote means they can keep up with demand. The new visitor centre is the latest example of this innovative company in action.  It has the potential to boost the local economy by attracting more tourists to Anglesey.”

Finance Wales’ investment came from the Wales JEREMIE Fund which is backed by the European Regional Development Fund through the Welsh Government and the European Investment Bank under the European Commission's Joint European Resources for Micro to Micro to Medium Enterprises (JEREMIE) initiative.