Food and drink companies from Kent have broadened their trade with a visit to Belgium to display their wares.
Kent County Council was one of a number of successful applications to benefit from The £2m GREAT UK Challenge Fund, part of the Government’s GREAT Britain Campaign.
The money is being used for a project which aims to increase exports among Kent food and drink companies.
As part of the project, 12 Kent companies exhibited their goods at the three-day trade fair Tavola which had more than 17,000 purchasing managers from more than 25 countries.
Attending from Kent were AMC Foods based in Ramsgate; Canterbury’s Fudge Kitchen; Nim’s Fruit Crisps based in Sittingbourne; Anno Distillers in Tonbridge; Chapel Down, Tenterden; juice producer Chegworth Valley in Harrietsham; Guard Top in Sevenoaks; Asian food producers Karimix in Selling; Nims Fruit Crisps, Sittingbourne; Tunbridge Wells brewers Pig and Porter; Nook’s Kitchen (Simply Ice Cream) in Bonnington; nutrition company Miracle Matcha from Smarden; Indian food producers Vini & Bal’s
It is hoped the project will enable up to 50 companies to identify potential business contacts in overseas markets.
Many of the county’s businesses have significant export potential but can face barriers when seeking to expand their work overseas.
At the same time, the GREAT UK Challenge Fund, looks to promote Kent’s food and drink heritage to boost tourism.
KCC Cabinet Member for Economic Development Mark Dance said: “This was the second trip abroad for our Kent companies and another great opportunity for the county’s food and drink businesses to make some international contacts and broaden their business horizons with a view to the export market.”
Total food and drink exports from the UK (including alcoholic drinks) stood at £12.8 billion in 2014, 2.3% up on 2013 and Kent, as the Garden of England, is well placed to take advantage of overseas opportunities.
Each year the UK food and drink industry invests more than £1 billion in research and development and introduces around 16,000 new products.
GREAT Food Kent from Kent County Council on Vimeo.
Food and drink is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, accounting for 18.3% of output.
It is made up of 7,000 businesses employing more than 400,000 people and is worth £24 billion to the economy.
If you would like to get involved in the project, visit www.kentinternationalbusiness.co.uk or email email@example.com