160 UK food and drink producers showcased their products to 50 buyers in the Middle East and Pakistan at the first virtual Gulfood Meet the Buyer event in early February, with all buyers receiving personalised hampers containing food items to sample prior to the meetings.
The event, organised by The Department for International Trade (DIT), Scottish Enterprise, Invest NI and Business Wales in conjunction with the Great British Food Programme, was the largest ever virtual Meet the Buyer event to be hosted by DIT.
Over 536 meetings took place across the two-day event, with a further 150 sales meetings/introductions scheduled over the coming weeks.
Maciek Kacpryzyk, Managing Director of Flawsome Drinks based in Cardiff said:
“This virtual event enabled us to benefit from great meetings all whilst staying home and reducing our carbon footprint.
It streamlined the process of searching for buyers into two action-packed days – saving businesses valuable time, money, and effort. This is especially prevalent as the food service has taken such a hit due to COVID-19.”
According to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), the Gulf region accounts for almost 60% of the UK's food and drink exports to the Middle East and have been highlighted as priority markets by FDF members.
Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf region saw significant growth in branded goods exports from the UK in 2019 (48% and 12% respectively).1
Tony Colley, Director of Tacct Global, a food and drink buyer based in Dubai, said:
“The standout moment for us was meeting so many talented and dynamic British business owners and feeling the passion and love they have for their brands.
We now have over 30 U.K manufacturers that we are continuing conversations with.”
Paul Shand, Head of Trade for DIT in the South West said:
“The South West is home to producers of high-quality food and drink and this event has given those companies the opportunity to grow and expand to lucrative markets during challenging times.
“International trade will play an important role in getting our economy back on track and I would encourage food and drink firms in the region to stay abreast of opportunities such as this by keeping in touch with DIT.”
For further information on DIT’s export support and international opportunities, visit www.great.gov.uk.