Launch of buyer network to push East of England food and drink SME’s to new markets

Launch of buyer network to push East of England food and drink SME’s to new markets

The Department for International Trade’s (DIT) East of England team has announced the launch of ‘England’s Finest Buyer Network’, which will include measures to support the agri-tech sector and identify key food and drink export opportunities in the Nordics and Northern Europe.

The Network supports sellers in the nine English regions to export by introducing them to overseas buyers through a virtual platform. This forms part of the ‘Bounce Back’ plan, jointly announced by the DIT and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) last Monday, and will offer immediate support to help businesses in the industry grow their trade activity overseas.

As part  of the programme, DIT’s East of England team hosted a virtual ‘meet-the-buyer’ event to introduce local Craft Beer companies to a Swedish buyer, the first of many more such meetings to be set up in the coming months.

Later in the year, a larger-scale project called ‘Trade without Travel’ will be introduced. The project will be a series of virtual events designed to showcase the finest of English agri-tech products to potential buyers from the Nordics and Northern Europe.

 Thinley Topden, Acting Head of Region, East of England said, “At this unprecedented time, as we work to recover from the impact of coronavirus the Department for International Trade is using the very latest in digital technology to provide our food and drink sectors with export opportunities which would be otherwise difficult to access.

“This new food and drink platform hosted by the East of England enables companies from across England to connect directly with overseas buyers by utilising digital technology in tandem with the support DIT can offer via its network of International Advisors and overseas Trade Officers.”

The package of measures announced last week will support producers, manufacturers and agri-tech companies across the food supply chain, from farm to fork, and has been developed with insight from the devolved administrations, trade associations, businesses and DIT’s regional and international networks.

The agriculture, food and drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing industry and plays an important role in the UK’s food supply chain, which contributed £121 billion to the UK economy in 2018 – supporting around 4 million jobs. In 2019, UK food, food and drink exports were worth £23.7 billion – up 4.9% from 2018.

Further information about The Network can be found here.

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