Boost for region’s food producers as they reap rewards from European trade show

Bea Taylor (left) with Florence Cherruault of the Pickle House at Horecava Picture: LESLEY VAN DIJK

Bea Taylor (left) with Florence Cherruault of the Pickle House at Horecava Picture: LESLEY VAN DIJK - Credit: Archant

Food and drink producers are celebrating after clinching post-Brexit deals as a result of a trade mission to continental Europe.

Norfolk & Suffolk Unlimited trade mission to Horecava 2020 Picture: LESLEY VAN DIJK

Norfolk & Suffolk Unlimited trade mission to Horecava 2020 Picture: LESLEY VAN DIJK - Credit: Archant

A total of 14 producers across Suffolk and Norfolk decided to begin the UK’s new trading era on the front foot by taking part in Horecava – one of Europe’s largest hospitality trade shows attracting 65,000 visitors.

They attended the event in the Netherlands under the banner of Norfolk & Suffolk Unlimited, a new regional brand promoting the area as a unique business location with investment opportunities.

MORE – Pubs giant ‘takes coffee seriously’ as it partners up with local supplierFlorence Cherruault, founder of The Pickle House, based at Red House Barn, Stowmarket, was among several of its producers to strike deals at the show. The company makes pickle juices specifically designed to enjoy with cocktails and smoothies.

“We had an absolutely great time at the show and met some really fantastic representatives from bars, restaurants and hotels. We now have a distributor in the Netherlands which is our first step into export,” she said.

Hunter and Gather at Horecava 2020 Picture: LESLEY VAN DIJK

Hunter and Gather at Horecava 2020 Picture: LESLEY VAN DIJK - Credit: Archant

The companies which attended ranged from gin distillers to chocolate producers. They received advice on trading with the Netherlands and growth support from the Department for International Trade (DIT), Norfolk County Council, Suffolk County Council and New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Jason Salter, operations director at Halesworth-based Freshpac – which produces Due Fratelli coffee and related products as well as Hunter and Gather, which specialises in “nutrient rich” avocado oil mayonnaise and health supplements – said the show was “a great place” to market its products.

“The support offered by New Anglia LEP and the council has been superb,” he said. “Normally, the investment in time and money to exhibit at such a large exhibition makes overseas quite a risky hit-and-miss affair. However, with the support the council have provided alongside the UK Embassy in the Netherlands has created more of an opportunity.

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“Exhibiting with other similar companies presented a stronger offering with more credence and thus engaged more potential customers. Putting aside any political feeling towards Brexit we feel that we need to use every opportunity to grow and the Netherlands is a great place to start.”

Due Fratelli co-founders Jason Salter (left) and Graham Salter at Horecava Picture: LESLEY VAN DIJK

Due Fratelli co-founders Jason Salter (left) and Graham Salter at Horecava Picture: LESLEY VAN DIJK - Credit: Archant

Norfolk and Suffolk’s food and drink sector is a significant contributor to the UK economy with trade in food, drink and agriculture worth £3.5bn. Although the counties contain just 2% of the UK’s population, they produce 11% of its food and drink, making it the UK’s most productive and profitable farming area.

The trade mission was part-funded through the European Regional Development Fund and also supported by Invest East’s investor-led programme for businesses in Norfolk and Suffolk.