Food and beverage firms from the North West embarked on a trade mission to Shanghai recently to secure export opportunities at China’s largest trade show for the food and hospitality industry.
Four companies, including Cheshire chocolate manufacturer Chocolat Madagascar, and Manchester’s healthy eating supply chain managers Russell Food Group, exhibited at Food & Hotel China (FHC) under the Northern Powerhouse banner.
The businesses were among a trade mission of 23 British firms organised as part of the Food is GREAT campaign – the UK Government’s initiative to showcase food and drink overseas by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), and the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Food is GREAT hosted an exclusive event at the show where 50 companies exhibited products to 300 attendees, including Chinese distributors and e-commerce buyers, industry buyers for hotels, restaurants and supermarkets, key opinion leaders and representatives from Chinese trade media and associations.
It also hosted sessions highlighting the strength of the UK’s food and drink market, and a networking event that was broadcast via WeChat, China’s popular social media and messaging app, featuring tours of the UK pavilion and interviews with UK businesses.
Other North West firms exhibiting at the show included international logistics specialist Kerry Logistics, based at Trafford Park, and dairy farm management firm Grasslands Farming, from Macclesfield.
Paul Stowers, Head of regions-North West, at DIT, said: “Events like FHC highlight the extent of the opportunities available to North West firms overseas.
“In the year to June 2018, local exports of food and drink products to China grew by an impressive 31%, and it’s not just our goods that are in demand, but our services, too.
“Attending the FHC show not only gave North West businesses the chance to directly network with potential new partners, but it also provided opportunity to experience and understand the tastes and preferences of the Chinese market.
“Our team is ready to help any business keen to start or grow their export activity, and I’d encourage anyone interested to get in touch.”
Minister David Rutley, said: “From Scottish salmon and whisky, to tea, pork and beer, UK exports of food and drink to China have more than doubled in the past three years, making it one of our most significant export markets, worth over £564m.
“This is great news for our food and drink industry, but as the appetite for quality British produce continues to grow across the globe, I want to see even more trade, and collaboration on agri-technology, innovation and skills, between China and the UK.”