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JIS News

Jamaican companies that participated in last month’s International Food and Drink Expo in Birmingham, England, are reporting success in making new business contacts and promoting a range of local Jamaican food and drink products in the United Kingdom, European and wider international markets.
Some 10 Jamaican companies covering a range of products including beverages; sauces, spices and condiments; breads, biscuits and other baked products; and sweets and deserts, participated in the four-day exhibition from March 21 to 24.
Mr. Shaun Deer, who represented Pedro Plains Sauces from St. Elizabeth, stated that the event surpassed his expectations. “We wanted to make new contacts with established buyers, small retailers and this we did. In fact, we had interest from persons, who wanted to use our sauces as a value-added product,” he told JIS News.
He said his company received some 15 to 20 positive leads, including interest from companies in Thailand and Nigeria.
Ms. Ivy Lawson of the Mandeville-based ‘Logwood Honey’ also felt that the Food and Drink Expo was a great success. She informed that the company was already developing a market in the United States so the event was a chance to explore markets in the UK and wider Europe.
“We came to the trade show to gain exposure and to let people know that Jamaica produces very good quality honey. It was an opportunity for us to introduce ourselves to this part of the world,” she told JIS News.
Ms. Lawson said the company surveyed some 250 persons, who sampled its honey and all the reviews were positive. She added that she was also able to speak to distributors from France, Germany, Spain and Greece.
Consultant with the Jamaica Trade and Invest’s (JTI) London office,
Mrs. Enid Williams, told JIS News that the event served to give visibility to the range of Jamaican goods and products that are available. She said it also provided an opportunity for local exporters and manufacturers to meet directly with potential buyers and to test the marketplace.
“It helps the exporters to gauge who their customers could be and how to enter the marketplace. They also speak with potential importers and discuss how best to present their products to the buyers,” she noted.
Mrs. Williams said that the overall response from the Jamaican companies was that the trade show was good and they all received positive leads for follow up. “They all had a good show and received serious enquiries. Generally, it was a good show. The responses to the companies were very positive and our booth at all times received lots of visitors and interest,” she said.
Established over 18 years ago, the Food and Drink Expo, held at the National Exhibition Centre (NEC) in Birmingham, is one of the UK’s most influential food and drink industry events.
It attracts buyers from a wide range of retail, food service, manufacturing and wholesale sectors. Buyers from UK multiples and supermarkets, international decision-makers, wholesalers, owners and managers of cafes, coffee shops, sandwich bars, fast food outlets, pubs, restaurants, hotels, contract caterers, grocers, and specialist food outlets all attend this show. JTI has been participating in this show for the last five years.