Organised by the Welsh Government, the Food & Drink Wales Export Club webinar allowed producers to make deals with buyers, distributors and importers without face-to-face meetings – a vital plus during the global coronavirus pandemic.
Ed Moore, director of Henllan Bread, said: “Joining an Export Club’s virtual webinar means that producers like us are still able to connect and start conversations with buyers all over the world. On this occasion I was able to connect with the general manager of a major supermarket chain after the webinar, which has led to us securing an order – and that is great news.
“Now, our cakes, the Welsh Collaboration Cake range and our popular sandwich range, will be in store in Qatar from this Saturday. It will be a 12-week trial, but we are hoping to secure more in the Middle East region going forward.”
Apart from its regular deliveries of cakes, bread and pies, Henllan has previously exported its products to the US. Moore joined his first Export Club webinar in June this year.
With face-to-face meetings a no-go in the light of the pandemic, the number of producers sitting on the webinars has continued to rise.
Welsh Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs Lesley Griffiths added: “The Henllan Bakery case is a great example of how to use the webinars to your advantage and connect with international buyers across the world. Even though we cannot take our producers internationally, we are still delivering opportunities for them.
‘Virtual trade visits’
“During the global COVID-19 pandemic, international travel has become less of a practical option for our exporters. However, virtual trade visits such as these have posed an increasingly attractive alternative for large companies that may have to physically stay in their home countries, but are still determined to highlight their products to international audiences.”
Despite the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID-19, food and drink manufacturers have still been able to secure export deals.
Essex-based bacon processor Wicks Manor has seen a massive boost to export sales, despite the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic.
Food and drink exports bucked the wider downturn in UK international manufacturing sales caused by coronavirus’ impact, softening market declines from January to March 2020, Lloyds Bank International Trade Index has claimed.