Sixteen food and drink producers from the South East met prospective buyers from as far afield as Asia and South America at the latest Global Food Forum event hosted by the Department for International Trade.
Hosted at Newmarket Racecourse Conference Centre last week, 36 international buyers - including Soriana Supermarkets, one of the largest supermarket chains in Mexico - sampled some of the UK’s best ready meals, gourmet snacks, healthy offerings and alcoholic drinks.
Food manufacturers from across the region were invited to join the full-day event where they had the opportunity to book one-to-one meetings with buyers. This year’s event attracted 89 sellers from across the UK, with more than 500 meetings taking place.
To help businesses understand how they could expand their international footprint, experts from the Enterprise Europe Network, DIT and Santander were available to offer guidance throughout the day.
As part of DIT’s Exporting is GREAT campaign, the Global Food Forum event was organised by DIT in the East of England on behalf of the English regions to help more UK firms take the first step on their exporting journey.
One South East producer who attended the show was Fernhurst-based Cheeky Boy Sauces.
Kaye Foong, founder and CEO, Cheeky Boy Sauces, said: “We’ve been exporting our sauces for a few years now, but there are few key markets where we’d like to develop our export sales – specifically in North America and Europe.
“The Global Food Forum event gave me the chance to speak directly to buyers from these markets, and to hear their feedback on our products, which was overwhelmingly positive.
"As a result of these meetings, we’re now exploring possible new export partnerships with buyers from Spain and Canada.
“We’ve had a three-year relationship with DIT, and they’ve done nothing but bend over backwards to help us secure export success. I’d encourage any business looking to grow their exports to get in touch and see how they can help – if we can do it, there’s no reason others can’t too.”
Ben Raby, DIT’s Head of the South East of England, said: “Many food and drink producers across the South East are already capitalising on the overwhelming demand for our produce overseas.
"In fact, in the year to June 2018, South East firms exported a significant £1.6bn of produce. This is up 7% on the previous 12 months.
“Although we know that exporting can drive profitability and increase resilience, we also know that the process isn’t without its challenges.
"Events such as the Global Food Forum are an invaluable opportunity for local firms to be able to meet buyers from around the world face-to-face and gain first-hand market insight from government trade experts.
“Outside of events such as this, DIT remains on hand to support businesses at different stages of the export process. We have a network of International Trade Advisers based across the South East who are ready to help firms navigate everything from overseas legal and tax requirements to issues of logistics.
"I’m encouraging all local producers interested in seeing what exports can do for to get in touch with the DIT team – the demand is out there, and you could be too.”
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement