Last week, UKTI hosted 280 people, 200 one-to-one meetings, 14 nations and 13 first-time exporters at UK House in Central Milan, Italy for GREAT Week Food and Drink.
Global food and drink names such as Tesco, Diageo, Coca Cola and Alpro Soya joined the mission to discuss topics such as innovation and early globalisation of brands, as well as the wider theme of Milan Expo 2015; Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. Rosie Boycott from the Mayor of London’s office also joined the debate, sharing her thoughts and ideas on the importance of urban farming.
We were also joined by Michelin-starred chefs Tom Aikens and Ken Hom, who hosted the GREAT Week and championed the UK Pavilion at Milan Expo 2015. Across the month of May, Tom Aikens has created signature dishes featuring on the menu at the UK Pavilion. These will be served by Royal Warrant Holder and caterer, Mosimann’s. Tom is the first in a long line of world-class British chefs who will curate a monthly menu for visitors to the UK Pavilion.
Other activity that took place during the GREAT Week included Ken Hom hosting an inward investment roundtable lunch with Michael Boyd, Managing Director for Investment at UKTI. Joined by 15 potential inward investors, Ken shared his positive experience of investing in the UK himself.
Chief Executives from British food and drink companies including Cobra Beer, Burton’s Biscuits, Fever Tree and Ella’s Kitchen also attended the GREAT Week and spoke on the help they have received from UKTI over the years. Ben Clarke, CEO of Burton’s Biscuits said: ‘We have had great support from UKTI on finding international partners’ whilst Tim Warrilow, CEO of Fever-Tree, added: ‘I have to thank UK Trade & Investment – with their help we were able to sell Indian Tonic Water to India!’
And wins for UK food and drink companies didn’t stop at UK House. Mosiman’s recently announced that off the back of their contract with the UK pavilion, they have already secured contracts with three other Expo pavilions. The UK Pavilion also doubled as a space for 55 Welsh food and drink brands to exhibit to visitors. One of the exhibitors - Neil Burchell, Chairman of Penderyn Whisky, said: “Our stand at the UK Pavilion has been a cost effective way for us to promote our products to over 8,000 international, well-educated, informed consumers every day.”
GREAT Week Delegates have also shared a number of business announcements off the back of attending the UKTI organised mission. Hepworth & Company Brewers are building a new brewery in West Sussex, while The Fruit Tree forecast a doubling of turnover in 2016. Another delegate, Kent Crisps, have also secured contracts with Waitrose, British Airways and P&O Ferries.
We look forward to welcoming more UK companies to join us at UK House in Milan, become members of the UK Business Club, and gain help in expanding their business overseas with UKTI support. Congratulations to all the companies that recently attended and we look forward to meeting the next wave of British talent at future GREAT Weeks! Register your interest and find out more here