Food & Drink
Taking Wales to the World in a virtual way
Welsh food and drink companies are still very much open for business and are even looking for new exporting markets as they undertake a virtual trade development visit to Australia and New Zealand this week (22-26 June).
The Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Wales is supporting food and drink producers by offering them a unique opportunity to meet with prospective buyers, distributors and importers via video conference facilities in order to develop and strengthen business, trade and export relationships.
The participating companies have a detailed itinerary of scheduled appointments for the week which include presenting to international distributors and leading retailers. Samples of products from the respective companies have already been sent overseas and during the week’s planned video conferencing call meetings there will be an opportunity to sample the products.
The Welsh companies participating are Brand Hatchers Ltd, The Anglesey Sea Salt Company-Halen Mon, Wholebake, Purple Moose Brewery Ltd, Penderyn Distillery and Volac International Ltd.
Alison Lea-Wilson of Halen Mon is one producer taking part in this virtual visit,
“This is the second virtual Trade Mission Halen Mon has taken part in. The first one, to Singapore, has resulted in a new partnership and pallet order.
“We love the fact that in-country consultants can clearly focus on our products’ USPs and match us to potential distributors and importers.
“This week is a first for us in that we are doing an online presentation and a tutored tasting, having already sent out boxes of samples to all our meeting attendees.
“We are grateful to the Welsh Government and its partners for finding an innovative, exciting and safe way to engage with buyers and we look forward to the results.”
Dan Rush, International Sales Manager of Wholebake added,
“We are thankful to the Welsh Government for giving us this opportunity, and for the many and varied appointments they have managed to arrange for us.
“I am very excited to see how it will work and look forward to dialling in next week to the market briefings and talking with potential buyers – and hopefully making some deals.”
Previously Welsh food and drink companies, with the support of the Welsh Government, would have travelled to these countries to meet face to face with buyers and distributors for market briefings, sampling, networking opportunities and store visits.
Unlocking new markets brings even greater opportunities for these businesses to not only showcase their quality produce around the world, but also generate more revenue and increase profits.
Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths believes that with Wales’s reputation and provenance, there is a strong platform for further growth that will benefit everyone.
She said: “This is a wonderful way for many of our food and drink companies to showcase their products and capabilities, whilst sharing information in a format that is suited to the current climate.
“During the global Covid-19 pandemic, international travel has become less and less of a practical option for our exporters – however, virtual trade visits such as these have posed an increasingly attractive alternative for large companies who may have to physically stay in their home countries, but are still determined to highlight their products to international audiences.”
Eluned Morgan, the Minister for International Relations and Welsh Language, said: “Exports for this sector have grown in the past decade and continue to grow.
“I am delighted we are supporting this group of producers to explore new markets first hand and develop further connections with international businesses in this way.”
In 2019, Australia was the 10th largest export market for UK food and drink exports, while we also exported £1.5 billion in goods and services to New Zealand. In 2018, along with Singapore, Australia was the fastest growth market for UK food and drink exports, with sales of gin and soft drinks leading the way.
The Australian food and drink sector is mature and well established, with the largest proportion being in the commercial foodservice, consisting of more than 70,000 outlets.
This is the second virtual Trade Development Visit that the Welsh Government has supported. It follows on from a very positive first one to Singapore recently, which generated interest but more importantly partnerships and sales for Welsh food and drink companies.