East Anglian food and drink brands open up trade links at Amsterdam show
PUBLISHED: 01:00 22 January 2019
Lesley van Dijk
Suffolk and Norfolk food and drink producers have reaped the rewards of taking part in a trade mission to the Netherlands after gaining a host of fruitful sales leads.
A total of 18 producers say they have gained substantial interest after attending Horecava, one of Europe’s largest hospitality trade shows, held every January in Amsterdam.
Yare Valley Oils, Great British Cake Co, Quickfill, Essence, Nonsuch Shrubs (Stewart & Guild), Due Fratelli (Freshpac), Taste of Suffolk, Stokes Sauces, Bullards Sprits, Zinger (James White Drinks), Sisserou Rum, Black Shuck, Fresh Pod, Shire Foods, Breckland Orchard, Essex Garden Food, Naylor Farms and Food Enterprise Park all took part.
The companies worked closely with representatives of Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council, the Department for International trade (DIT), New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the Lively Crew on exporting, investment and business support.
Over the past year, Norfolk and Suffolk’s economic development and inward investment officers have brokered links with key Dutch partner organisations, organising trade visits to the region.
As part of strengthening trade relations with the Netherlands, officials from Norfolk and Suffolk signed a partnership agreement (MoU) with Dutch province Drenthe in September last year. The joint-working with Drenthe focuses on inward investment, export and collaboration on research and development (R&D).
Jason Salter, operations director at Freshpac (Due Fratelli) in Halesworth, said: “Everyone involved during the exhibition showed a high level of enthusiasm and pulled together to show that this region has a lot to offer. Despite the current political and economic uncertainty in the UK at the moment, the Department for International Trade and New Anglia has fully supported everyone involved and we are now making some exciting new contacts in Europe.”
Dave Steward, co-founder at Nonsuch Shrubs in Rendlesham with Henry Chevallier Guild, who up until last year owned Debenham-based Aspall cider, said: “We have secured a listing with a premium retail chain in Amsterdam and are now talking to three potential distributors for the Netherlands.”
Dominic Whyte, Sales and Marketing at Yare Valley Oils in Surlingham, said his firm was delighted with the business support it had received in targeting new potential leads. “The opportunity for us, as a small producer, to exhibit our products to a foreign market was invaluable and something we just wouldn’t have done without the support from the various organisations and departments including the LEP and DIT.”
Sarah and Edward Savage from Essence, Montys and Beetella based in Reepham, said it had been “a thoroughly fascinating and enjoyable exhibition”, while Patrick and Sarah Saunders from Black Shuck Ltd in Fakenham, said the event had been “extremely successful” for them.
Doug Field, chairman of New Anglia LEP, said: “Together with the councils and DIT we identified the Netherlands as a trade partner with major growth potential. It’s incredibly encouraging that the Dutch hospitality sector, wholesalers and supermarkets are taking such a keen interest in our products with the intention to import them.