Welsh food and drink producers will be turning their sights to the important export market of the USA next month in search of new and competitive export trading opportunities.
As part of the Welsh Government’s commitment to raising Wales’s business profile on the global stage, it is supporting fifteen Welsh food and drink companies on a visit to New York and New Jersey from 17-20 September.
The Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM, said:
“Our country’s reputation for producing high quality food and drink is well known and we recognise the enormous value it brings to our economy. 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.
“Exports for the sector have grown in the past decade and continue to grow. I am delighted we are supporting this group of producers to go to the USA to explore new markets first hand and develop further connections with international businesses.”
The producers range from meat, cheese, seaweed and laverbread to water and brewing companies.
The USA is the largest, most competitive and technologically advanced economy in the world, and as Wales’s largest export market across all sectors, it is worth £2.7 billion to the Welsh economy. With the value of speciality food sales in the USA worth $110 billion, this visit to New York and New Jersey is an ideal opportunity for Welsh producers to gain a foothold in this vast market. Minimal language barriers and access to global supply chains, which can lead to exports to other markets, also makes the USA market highly attractive to exporters.
The USA is also one of the largest global markets of dairy, free from products and craft beer producers.
Castle Dairies is a well-known south Wales dairy brand looking to re-engage with the American export market. The butter manufacturing company, which was established in 1966, used to export to the USA in the 1990s and early 2000s and now want to further build on their export business.
Castle Dairies’ Nigel Lloyd said:
“We welcome the support given to us by the Welsh Government to expand and start exporting our products into America. It is a perfect stepping stone to help us gain some experience in this area. 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.”
Ahead of the visit, Mark Roberts of Wrexham Lager said:
“Having attended three previous trade development visits, I can say that, as a company, it is an invaluable way of getting your products sampled/tasted and meeting the right people in that country. To hopefully do future business in the export market, even if orders are not forthcoming immediately, chances are they will down the line.”
John Rodger of US food importer Atalanta Corporation will be meeting with the delegates following his participation in the recent TasteWales event organised by the Welsh Government, which showcased over 800 Welsh food and drink products to buyers from all over the world.
Commenting on the success of TasteWales, as well as the impending visit, John Rodger said:
“I experienced a very successful trade visit to Wales earlier this year at the first ever TasteWales event, at which I was able to meet many interesting Welsh food producers and trade officials. I am looking forward to reciprocating this in September, when we at Atalanta (the USA’s largest private food importer) will host a select group representing food and trade from Wales. We already import some very fine Welsh products and this will continue our dialogue with producers that have very good potential.”
During the four day visit, companies will have an opportunity to showcase products to selected buyers, importers and distributors from the retail and food service markets and develop new business through a series of market briefing workshops, store visits and meet the buyer opportunities. An industry networking event celebrating Welsh Food and Drink is also being organised, in conjunction with the Welsh Government’s North America office, entitled ‘A Taste of Wales in New York’ and will provide further opportunity to showcase food and drink produce from Wales in the North America market.