Chance for food and drink firms to sell to Chinese buyers with a taste for made-in-Britain products

October 16, 2020

A scheme to connect West of England food and drink producers with Chinese consumers with an appetite for high-quality British produce has been launched by Business West.

The Great British Food Programme, in which Business West is partnering with Regroup China, a digital marketing agency which specialises in driving Chinese cross-border eCommerce sales, will also allow food and drink producers to promote themselves via the social media platform WeChat, China’s equivalent of Facebook with a user base of 1.2bn people. 

Called The Great British Food Store, this specialist mini-program will be launched next month  with the aim of grabbing a slice of the £88bn that WeChat users spent through mini-programs last year.

According to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), while exports of food and drink to the UK’s top markets fell in the first half of this year, sales by value to China edge ahead by 0.3%.

Joining London-based Regroup China as strategic partners in the programme will be Elanders, an award-winning international logistics company with expertise in getting products safely into China, which will be on hand to cover all the documentation, consolidation, and logistical aspects of the store.

Cornwall-based patent and trade mark attorneys NJ Akers will also provide advice on IP (intellectual property) and other legalities that businesses may encounter when launching a product in the China

One business to have already signed up to the WeChat opportunity is Lilley’s Cider, based near Frome.

Its senior sales executive Lee Hamber said: “Lilley’s see a huge potential in China for our products, including the sheer size of the population. There is also a growing interest in cider as well as English products, so being involved in the program is a great opportunity.

“Business West’s support has been so important as the WeChat program will allow us to tap into large audience of Chinese WeChat users and grow our brand internationally.”

Business West Commercial Services director James Monk said:  “In 2019, China was the UK’s sixth largest export market, so this program is a fantastic opportunity for South West food and drink companies looking to expand their company in a lucrative market.

“Food and drink in the UK and the South West are recognised globally for its high quality and demand for authentic British food products from China has been soaring in recent years.

“I would encourage businesses in the region looking to grow their brand internationally, to get in touch to discuss the opportunity or apply today to be part of the exciting program.”

Businesses can apply online here. Applications to join the Great British Food Store in China close on November 16.

A free webinar on November 11 will offer more information and allow potential participants to meet the team behind the store. For more information click here

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