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The Welsh food and drink companies looking to secure international trade links

Gulfood is recognised as one of the world’s largest food trade events that Wales has a long association with, which has helped to bring an array of Welsh produce to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region.

Supported by the Welsh Government, ten companies from across the food and drink sector in Wales will be present at Gulfood 2020 from 16-20 February, under the Wales (UK) banner, all with the aim to promote Welsh food and drink and to help the businesses achieve export success.

Daioni Organic

The Welsh companies exhibiting include Daioni Organic, Dairy Partners Cymru Wales, Rachel’s Dairy, Gut Instinct Foods, Billington Foodservice, Frank’s Ice Cream and Flawsome! Brands. Alongside these will be representatives from HCC Meat Promotion Wales, Llaeth y Llan/Village Dairy, and Calon Wen Organic Dairy will form part of the Export Visit.

Lesley Griffiths, Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, believes that it is vital for the industry to take advantage of such opportunities to continue to strengthen relationships with key priority markets such as the UAE, commenting,

“Wales has a long association with the Gulfood event that has helped bring an array of Welsh brands to the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region. Welsh food and drink exports have increased 84% since 2014 and we consider the UAE region a key market for Wales.

“We are delighted to once again be participating at Gulfood to showcase our wide range of high quality food and drink products and look forward to another successful event as Wales continues to build on its strong connection with the food and beverage industry in the GCC as a whole.”

2020 promises to be a lucrative year for Billington Foodservice, with the opening of a brand new state of the art dessert and cake facility at their site near Newport in south Wales.

Billington Foodservice was created in 2018 by the Billington Group following the acquisition of two separate, highly regarded foodservice businesses in the UK (Bar Foods & Dunkleys Ltd). The new group provides the UK’s Foodservice Market with Sauces, Soups, Pies, Bakes and Desserts.

Over the last 18 months, the market has seen a growing demand for desserts and cakes; and as a business, Billington Foodservice has seen significant growth in this category. At the south Wales factory, there is space to create a new stand-alone facility to meet the current demand and to expand the offering into new markets. This is fantastic news for the current employees and the local community as an investment in the area will aim to result in increased employment. This has already being realised in dessert NPD Skills into the business.

Paul Richards, MD of Billington Foodservice stated: “We’re delighted to be investing in the business and local community, we have reviewed the market and understand that the desire for desserts and cakes is in growth due to the coffee shop and dessert parlour culture in the UK. People want products that meet current trends but also look and taste delicious! Our new factory will have all the capabilities to meet these needs.”

Billington Foodservice will be exhibiting and showcasing the new Dessert and Cake capabilities at this year’s Gulfood.

One company exhibiting at Gulfood for the first time is south Wales fruit juice company, Flawsome! Founded by passionate duo Karina Sudenyte and Maciek Kacprzyk, the brand is inspired by their Grandmother’s tasty recipes, which saves imperfect fruit and transforms them into perfectly crafted cold-pressed drinks.

After 24 months of New Product Development, in November 2019, they launched a range of cold-fizzed lightly sparkling juice drinks in an innovative BPA-free can. The three fruit juice range are Rhubarb & Apple, Sweet & Sour Apple, and Cherry & Apple.

Flawsome! bubbly drinks are made from 60% wonky and surplus pressed fruit, completely free from any added sugar or sweeteners. The range is school compliant in the UK, BPA-free and vegan friendly. On average, one can of Flawsome! saves at least two apples.

Their other fruit juice range includes Strawberry & Apple, Superberry & Apple, Pumpkin & Apple, Orange juice, Orange & Apple, Sweet & Sour Apple, Beetroot & Apple, Mango & Apple.

“At Flawsome! we encourage consumers to reduce waste in all its forms by reimagining waste creatively. We save fruit, pay farmers’ fairer prices and donated over 22,000 portions of juice to charity. To date we have saved nearly 700 tonnes of wonky and surplus produce and avoided CO2e by equivalent of 796 return flights from Dubai to Beijing. We have also eliminated 1,065,474 plastic bottles to date, explains founder Karina Sudenyte.

“We simply blend sustainably sourced cold-pressed juice with lightly sparkling water to make natural, low calorie, vegan delicious drinks.”

Also attending will be plant-based food and drink brand Gut Instinct. Gut Instinct was born out of a desire to help consumers achieve strong physical and mental health through proper diet and nutrition and, at the same time lessening their carbon footprint. Products include Barista Oat Edition (crafted for coffee); Oatstix Dairy Free Milk Alternative (single serve 10ml portions) and Vegan Mayo (egg free & single serve 9g portions).

Founder Chris Joll explains the background to the product,

“Consumers are becoming more mindful of the environmental impact of commercial farming practices and as such, are choosing ‘alternatives’ instead. Gut Instinct has been my personal journey of discovery, having been struck down with Chronic Fatigue in my mid-twenties. I learned over several years that the route back to good health was through a better understanding of food. I believe that balance and moderation is the key ingredient to achieving good health and a diet rich in plant-based nutrition is becoming a focal point in day-to-day eating habits.”

Commenting further Chris added,

“I am looking forward to the visit to Gulfood as it will provide a fantastic opportunity to introduce Gut Instinct products to the UAE market and to have direct contact with buyers, distributors and suppliers in this region. Hopefully I’ll return to Wales with plenty of contacts and potential buyers.”

Wales has a long and proud tradition of producing outstanding food and drink, but underpinning this tradition is a growing innovation landscape, bustling with unique products, diverse flavours and exciting new developments.

Investment in innovation and new technologies, underpinned by an excellent support structure for the food and drink industry in Wales has not only generated growth for our traditional heritage brands and products, but has also attracted international players and their creations who are inspired by the Welsh landscape, climate and heritage.

Visit the Cymru/Wales stands at Gulfood 2020 in the Dairy Hall: Hall2, the International Hall: Sheikh Saeed Hall and the Meat Hall: Hall 3