The International Festival for Business 2014 (IFB), the largest international commerce event for 2014, took place in Liverpool in June and July this year.
The festival was a resounding success: more than 100 events took place across 50 days and hundreds of British and international companies and organisations showcased their products and services.
Food and drink was among the many sectors represented at IFB events – hardly surprising given the tremendous international demand for products and services in this area. As part of our mission to help businesses connect, learn and talk about exporting, we asked several attendees for their perspectives and top tips on food and drink trade.
Service providers and suppliers
Wendela Meijer from Ashbury Labelling
Support and advice to ensure food and drink products comply with international labelling regulations
“There’s new legislation in Europe: as of December 2014, all labels have to be compliant and quite a few amendments have to be made – so it’s a booming business and there’s a lot going on. Make sure you understand the consumer culture of the specific country you’re exporting to – even in the EU there can be significant cultural differences and differences in legislation.”
James Scott from UKTI Germany
The British government’s department for helping businesses succeed abroad
“My advice to exporters in Germany? It’s absolutely essential, if you’re a smaller company, to go via importers and wholesalers as the buyers in Germany always listen to their partners.”
Chris Place from Waitrose’s International Sales Team
The food retail division of the John Lewis Partnership with more than 300 stores in the UK and several international locations
“The UKTI and the Food and Drink Export Association can be a great source for finding distributors, which is often the best way for small companies with limited resource to reach out to foreign markets. For relatively little resource one can get good feedback about whether your product is best suited and possibly it could end up being not just a minority but even the majority of your trade, which it has done for some other UK producers.”
Food and drinks exporters
Julie from Bonds Confectionary
Confectionary sold in old-fashioned jars, gift jars and traditional bags
“I’ve never been involved in export before – after the event I got a company interested in our products and we’ve now got a meeting in the diary for September!”
Louisa and Charlotte from Café Pod http://www.cafepod.com/
Coffee capsules with blends sourced from the Americas, Asia and Africa
“We’re relatively new to export but we’ve had some great conversations with some buyers from all over, including France and Spain, and fingers crossed you’ll see us there somewhere in the future. “
Tricia from Cocomojo
Coconut water based healthy beverages
“We are based in the UK but we do see ourselves as an international company – we’re exporting to Finland and also producing there. We are also talking to Sweden and Norway. We’ve had a lot of good contacts from today, and we’ve actually got one buyer ordering from us out of today’s events.”