Connecting Welsh Food Producers with International Buyers and Distributors via a Virtual Trade Mission
In our years of experience helping companies succeed in international markets, we know that exporters who visit the market (ideally more than once) are more successful. They develop a better understanding of the local market, establish and build relationships with in-country partners and win export orders faster.
With international business travel on hold for now - A virtual trade mission is a great opportunity to “test” and "pre-qualify" the market ahead of a physical visit . The intelligence gathered as part of these programs can help exporters prepare/adjust before launching into the market.
Program Overview - Welsh Food & Beverage Virtual Trade Mission
Foley & Associates in partnership with BIC Innovation were commissioned by Food & Drink Wales , a division of Business Wales, to deliver a virtual trade mission programme in Australia and New Zealand for members of the Food & Drink Wales Export Club in June 2020.
The virtual program was a unique opportunity for producers to meet, via video conference facilities, prospective Australia and New Zealand-based buyers, distributors, and importers without having to commit significant time and financial resources which a full Trade Development Visit entails.
This program was targeted at more experienced exporters and companies who could devote time and resources needed to be successful in this market.
Participants from Wales included:
· Brand Hatchers: Global kids sour candy brand 'Brain Blasterz' & creator of 'Nopla' vegan, natural chewing gum;
· Halen Mon - Anglesey Sea Salt Company : 100% natural, organic sea salt products;
· Penderyn Distillery: Award-winning single malt whiskies and spirits;
· Purple Moose Brewery: Award-winning 40-barrel micro-brewery;
· Volac: Dairy nutrition, whey protein and lactose products; and
· Wholebake / Nine Bar : Protein, vegan snack bars.
Foley & Associates Role
- Submission of recommendations on food and drink opportunities (specific categories) to support recruitment of appropriate Welsh producers
- 1- 1 workshops with companies to discuss their objectives for their participation
- Development and submission of individualized lists of prospective meeting targets for each participant
- Out-reach to buyers, importers and distributors to invite them to take part in the virtual trade visit
- Co-ordination of meeting schedules, logistics and sending/receiving of product samples (Zoom meetings)
- Delivery of group market briefing for participating companies and Welsh Government representative on Food and Beverage Sector 1 week ahead of the mission. Topics included:
Market Overview – Food & Drinks Sector (Australia and New Zealand)
Interview with local industry expert – tips on doing business and building relationships with local distributors covering pricing, margins, labelling etc
Business culture & practices
Hosting and participation in the Zoom meetings with exporting companies
Post Event Support
- Debrief workshops with companies to discuss next steps
- Debrief workshop with Welsh Government to discuss potential outcomes
- Ongoing assistance for companies with follow up etc.
- Participation in radio interview on the program with BBC Wales to discuss the program
Outcomes and Results
- 29 meetings successfully conducted in week of 22- 26 June ( 100% of schedule meetings took place)
- All of the companies are in follow up and on-going discussions with a short list of prospective distribution partners
- The Welsh Government is in preliminary discussions about a possible physical visit to the region once travel is an option again
"The Foley’s team have been excellent throughout, better than I even thought you were going to be. Not only very responsive, proactive, engaged, clearly experienced, supportive, generated qualified meetings, more importantly genuine, honest, real and good fun to work with. The producers are delighted and excited about their future business prospects in Australia and New Zealand. You have set a high bar for others in future Virtual and Physical Trade Visits.” Welsh Project Management Team
The Future and Importance of Virtual Trade Missions
In the BBC Wales radio interview aired on 12 July about how/why Welsh companies are participating in virtual trade mission programs now that physical visits to trade shows are not an option:
- Alison Lea-Wilson, Director, Halen Mon advised that in the current environment they need to look after their domestic markets and also “have to keep looking for new markets” so the virtual trade missions are a great platform for connecting with prospective distributors in international markets.
- Holden Frisoli, General Manager F&A , discussed how the sending of samples ahead of scheduled meetings and video technology is enabling producers and buyers to taste/feel and discuss the products on offer in a face to face environment and that virtual missions of this nature will only grow in importance and popularity.
To listen to the interviews with Alison and Holden, skip to 12:55 in the radio link above.
Listen to the interview
Benefits of a Virtual Mission
- Reduced cost and less time out of the office when compared to a physical mission
- Opportunity to conduct initial meetings face-to face meetings via video platforms and conduct virtual tastings/ demos etc
- Ability to have multiple representatives from a company participate from multiple locations is a plus
- Access to all of Australia and New Zealand. Being such a large country, it is often hard to visit all states and both countries in a single physical visit
- It allows you to test the market before committing further resources (to a physical mission)
- And importantly Virtual Mission are a good platform to lay the foundations for future more comprehensive discussions in 2021 and beyond when, hopefully, companies can make the visit to our shores
About this Case Study
|Industry||Food & Beverage|