Food from Britain was founded 21 years ago to boost exports and now helps British food and drink suppliers reach foreign markets as far away as China.
One of the original four international directors, Roy Edleston, is still heading up the industry and government funded marketing consultancy’s arm in Germany.
“We provide support services from A to Z for British food and drink companies, large and small, by acting as an extended marketing arm,” explains Edleston.
He gained his experience in the food and drink industry, first as an advertising executive and then as a marketing manager at German confectionery giant Ferrero.
The FFB German office opened in 1984 and Edleston still enjoys promoting British companies to the discounter-led market. “Germany is renowned for being one of the most competitive markets in Europe and also one of the largest – within that market we have to search for a niche where British manufacturers will have a chance.”
Edleston says the most important advice he gives to potential exporters is to invest in a substantial marketing budget and place someone in the country.
His remit has now extended to Austria, as well as Switzerland, which is not a member of the EU and has its own separate challenges.
But Edleston says: “Price levels are higher than in most other countries and Swiss consumers are less price-conscious. There are also only two quality retailers – Migros and the Co-op – so if a British company can get in there, it is definitely worth it.”
To achieve success, Edleston says that British companies must focus on what they do better than everyone else. Their strength in the increasingly important chilled convenience food and own label markets, adds Edleston, should prove beneficial.