Looking to build on the investment already made in the Middle East region over recent years, the latest Welsh Government virtual trade development visit is covering not just one country but four, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Oman and Bahrain.

As part of the Welsh Government’s strategy for the food and drink sector to develop and access new markets in new ways overseas, this is the first Welsh food and drink trade development visit in the Middle East outside of the UAE and Qatar.

Taking part in the virtual trade development visits are eight Welsh producers which include experienced exporters such as Rachel’s Organic Dairy, Halen Môn and The Lobster Pot, as well as new exporters including The Old Coach House Distillery and Good Carma Foods.

Based in Monmouth, The Old Coach House Distillery is the world’s first alcohol free distillery producing an award winning distilled botanical drink, STILLERS. The family business employs 10 people and produces the drink by traditional copper pot distillation of organic herbs and spices blended with the finest Welsh spring water.

Cameron Mackay, Sales and Marketing Director said: “We feel there is a need for a sophisticated, premium alcohol free beverage for social inclusion, and as an alternative to sugary soft drinks. We are currently increasing the awareness of our brand and exporting to certain markets such as the Middle East is key to this. We feel that the Middle East offers significant potential for STILLERS as it is largely an untapped market for premium calorie free drinks with no added sugar. 

“The Welsh Government support has been excellent with each participating company taking part in a virtual market briefing where we’ve had the chance to hear from a regional distributor, understand the regulatory environment and the key food and drinks trends, and lastly gain insights about doing business in the region.

“We are very excited to be taking our drinks to the Middle East market and hope they enjoy the experience of the STILLERS portfolio.”

Another company embarking on the Gulf virtual trade development visit is The Lobster Pot, a family run business on Anglesey specialising in supplying the finest live shellfish to customers in the UK, Europe and further afield.

Julie Hill, The Lobster Pot’s Project Manager, said: With over 70 years of passion for our live, sustainably sourced quality shellfish we offer our customers year round wholesale and retail supplies of live lobsters and brown crab that are sustainably sourced from experienced and trusted boats from the coastlines of Wales and the UK.

“We are experienced exporters and we are particularly interested in widening our export field into these Gulf countries therefore these trade development visits are invaluable.

“The Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Export programmes supports companies who are interested in exporting, and setting them up with buyers and distributors by product category in order to develop and strengthen business, trade and export relationships.

“We are very grateful for all the help as targeting new streams of revenue and export is key to our business plan.”

Commenting further Clydach Farm – Food for Dogs are looking to expand further into the Middle East market. Callum Griffiths, Founder and Managing Director of Clydach Farm said,

 “We began our export journey, initially supplying dog enthusiasts in France and Germany. Clydach was quickly the word with many of our European neighbours, which saw us supplying garden centres, pet shops and supermarkets in Romania, Finland, Czechia, Spain, Portugal and Cyprus.

“Now armed with new products of not only dry foods and treats for dogs but wet dog food we are looking to expand further into the Middle East.”

Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd Lesley Griffiths MS believes there is a strong platform for further growth which can benefit everyone.

The Minister said: “Our food and drink industry has built a reputation for quality and authenticity and we are committed to helping Welsh businesses capitalise on new and existing global markets. 

“Our export programme is available to all food and drink businesses who are considering their export journey. We have led the way on virtual trade visits and they are a great way for many of Wales’ food and drink companies to showcase their excellent products and capabilities to international audiences in a format which is suited to the current climate.”

For more information on the Welsh Government Export and Trade Development Programme visit https://businesswales.gov.wales/foodanddrink/growing-your-business/exporting

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