Welsh food and drink companies are preparing to attend one of the world’s largest food trade events in Dubai, United Arab Emirates from 18-22 February. Held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, Gulfood will attract over 97,000 visitors over the five days, welcoming more than 5,000 exhibitors from 120 countries showcasing products across 8 primary market sectors.

14 Welsh companies from across the food and drink sector in Wales will be present under the Welsh Government’s Cymru/Wales banner. The Welsh participating companies will include Dairy Partners, Fayrefields Foods, Daioni, Calon Wen, Hilltop Honey, Hybu Cig Cymru, Radnor Hills, The Cake Crew, Llaeth y Llan, Eat my Flowers and Coco Pzazz.

Lesley Griffiths, Cabinet Secretary for Energy, Planning and Rural Affairs, believes that it is vital for the industry to continue to develop global markets,

“In recent years Welsh food and drink has gained a growing and well-deserved reputation for high quality. However, it is important that we maintain our visibility and showcase our innovative products at key global trade events. Having a presence at events such as Gulfood contributes to our ongoing targets of growing the industry by 30% to 7bn by 2020 for the sector which plays an increasingly important role in the Welsh economy.”

One north Wales based company - The Cake Crew company is hoping that Gulfood will open new opportunities in the Middle East. As the largest independent manufacturer of private label cupcakes in the UK, it produces a wide range of bakery products, including cupcakes, tray bakes, loaf cakes and muffins.

Sales Development Director Bill Smith-Coats commented,

“With a 25,000 square foot bakery situated in Bala, north Wales and employing around 300 staff, The Cake Crew is one of the biggest employers in the area. In recent years, the company has experienced sustained growth which has led to expansion into the branded cupcake category with our ‘Beautifully Crafted’ range. We believe we have created some outstanding recipes and are proud of this premium hand finished cupcake range. With high swirl topping and premium gold decorations they offer consumers a real indulgent treat.

We are very much looking forward to this trip and hope it will create new opportunities for us in the Middle East as we are keen to expand into the global market.”

Currently going through a major expansion to accommodate requests for their highly sought after cheese products is Mozzarella producer Dairy partners, a long established family owned cheese marker. Producing Mozzarella and Pizza cheese as well as fat-filled Mozzarella, cheese has been produced on the same site in West Wales since 1938. Sourcing milk from within a 50 mile radius of the Carmarthenshire site, Dairy Partners works together with local farmers to ensure supply.

In June last year, Dairy Partners purchased land to build a new processing plant. The new site will double the production and have the room to grow as demand increases, especially from overseas markets.

Commenting ahead of the visit to Gulfood, Director Will Bennett,

“We have seen high growth in the overseas markets in the past couple of years, particularly from the Middle East and Asia. We see this expansion as well as our presence at Gulfood, as a great opportunity to enter growing markets and to invest in our existing relationships. We are the only fully integrated Pizza cheese, mozzarella and string cheese manufacturing, shredding and processing business in Northern Europe and we are continually expanding!”

There are a number of new products being launched by Welsh producers at Gulfood. Llaeth y Llan / Village Dairy will be showcasing two new lines - a Fat Free Natural yogurt and a Natural with Honey yogurt, working alongside Hilltop Honey to develop a product which gained a Great Taste Golden Fork in 2016.

The award winning Mid Wales honey producer, Hilltop Honey, also exhibiting at Gulfood, has this month secured three new product listings with Sainsbury’s. The new range of honey products include Lavender Honey, Orange Blossom Honey and Thyme Honey and will be available across 343 Sainsbury’s stores.

Radnor Hills will be showcasing their recently relaunched popular Heartease Farm Premium Pressé range with brand new labels and sugar reduced recipes.

Commenting on the relaunch Marketing Executive Holly Sparrow,

“We are sticking to the brand’s main heritage and ethos by only using all natural ingredients as well as utilising our own lightly sparkling spring water from the farm in Powys, Mid Wales. The new recipes will be sweetened with Stevia – an all-natural plant based sweetener that contains almost no calories! Each bottle will still have the same amount of real delicious fruit juices which are expertly blended into traditional British recipes but the new ‘light’ approach will mean that some flavours could contain around 50% less sugar.”

One producer attending looking to make an impression at Gulfood is Sarah Hughes of Eat My Flowers, who produces hand crystallised ‘edible’ flowers that are used to decorate desserts, chocolates, cakes and lollipops. Sarah supplies her lollipops and flowers to Harrods, The Dorchester and The Berkeley Hotels in London.

Eat My Flowers products will also feature in the new Gulfood Discover Zone at the Show, an opportunity for a limited number of new and innovative products to be showcased in an exclusive and interactive lounge.

Owner Sarah Hughes sees Gulfood as a great opportunity to promote her products to an international audience,

“I am very excited about the trip to Dubai next month. Events such as this are fantastic for any business, and with the support of the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Wales I am able to showcase my products direct to buyers and suppliers in the Middle East. I am hoping this visit will open up at least one potential lead.”

Gulfood, now in its 23rd year will bring together a series of insights and activities to help the global food and beverage community to make informed business decisions, discover new products and suppliers, unveil new business opportunities and find solutions to new and evolving global challenges.

Visit the Cymru/Wales stands SN18 & SP17 in the World Food Sheikh Saeed Hall I, stands A2-18 and A2-26 in the Dairy Hall at Gulfood 2018.

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