Twelve companies representing the Welsh food and drink industry are preparing to visit Belgium and the Netherlands next month looking to develop new export trading opportunities.

Supported by the Welsh Government, a Trade Development Visit to Brussels and Utrecht will be taking place from the 6-9 February 2017.

Commenting ahead of the visit, Welsh Government Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM, said:

“We have a rich and diverse food and drink industry here in Wales with a proliferation of producers, large and small, ranging from traditional artisan producers who’ve been making their living from the land for generations, joined by lots of newcomers full of bright ideas.

“The country’s reputation for producing innovative products of the highest quality is now becoming well established, both at home and abroad. We have a clear ambition to grow the industry in Wales by 30% to £7 billion by the year 2020 by working in partnership with the industry.

“We are delighted to be able to showcase some of the most exciting Welsh speciality food and drink this February when a group of producers will be experiencing new markets at first hand and building further connections with international businesses.”

Twelve delegates will be visiting Belgium and the Netherlands ranging from meat, confectionery, and dairy to vegetarian, free-from foods and brewing companies.

The aim of the trade visit is to help both new and existing exporters with first hand insight and commercial contacts in the Belgian and Dutch markets in two important and easy to access markets.

KK Fine Foods Plc and Thew Arnott & Co Ltd are both first timers on a Welsh Government Trade Development Visit.

Jeremy Flashman, Business Development Manager of KK Fine Foods, manufacturers of high quality meat, fish and vegetarian meal solutions, sees this trade visit as a perfect opportunity to expand their business into the export market,

 “We are very much looking forward to going on this Trade Development Visit to Belgium and the Netherlands thanks to the support given to us by the Welsh Government. We are keen to expand and start exporting our products and the Belgium and the Netherlands export markets are a perfect stepping stone to help us gain some experience in this field. It provides us with a wonderful opportunity to meet with key buyers and to pick up advice along the way in order to establish solid contracts to boost confidence and sales.”

Nick Hewitt, European Sales Manufacturer, of Thew Arnott & Co Ltd, suppliers of a range of specialist ingredients for confectionery and food added,

We welcome the support given by the Welsh Government which has assisted us in increasing the company’s foresight of the potential for export market for confectionery products. From this help we are able to go on trade visits such as this one and have an opportunity to promote our products to another audience, and an international one at that. It’s a great opportunity and one we are very excited about.”

Belgium and the Netherlands both rank in the Top 5 export markets for Welsh food and drink. They offer excellent opportunities, especially for snacks, dairy, convenience foods and gourmet foodservice products, with notable interest in craft beer and cider in The Netherlands. The healthy eating and drinking, free-from and natural sectors in both markets are particularly strong.

The award winning north Wales sea salt company, Halen Môn, is a well-known global brand and is also participating in the trade visit. Director, Alison Lea-Wilson knows the value of looking at new export markets,

“Halen Môn is an established iconic brand around the world, but we still believe in expanding into new markets. The trade visit to Belgium and the Netherlands next month gives us the opportunity to meet potential buyers and promote the significant unique selling points of Welsh food and drink to a new audience.”

During the four day visit the companies will also have an opportunity to showcase products to selected buyers in both countries as well as develop new business through a series of market briefings, store visits, and meet the buyer/showcasing and a trade networking reception at the British Ambassador’s Residence in Brussels.

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