The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, visited the free-from producer Welsh Hills Bakery factory in Aberdare.

The trip marks 60 years since founders of the company, Ernest Rule and wife Ruby went into business. Welsh Hills has produced products for companies including Harrods, Selfridges, Tesco, Asda, Waitrose, Co-op, Holland & Barrett and the NHS.

Managing director Peter Douglass showed Griffiths around the factory, where £100,000 was recently invested in new machinery.

Douglass, who is Ernest and Ruby’s son-in-law, said: “It was a pleasure to show Ms Griffiths around our factory and explain exactly how we operate a totally free-from site.”

Welsh Hills represents 12% of the UK gluten-free cakes and desserts market, with the overall UK free-from foods market valued at £532m.

He added: “I believe there is huge scope for us to grow even further, in particular our export trade. As a company, we’re extremely optimistic about what the future holds and are looking forward to the next 60 years.”

In May, Welsh Hills Bakery celebrated the appearance of its chocolate sponge cake in a Morrisons TV advert.