With the government encouraging UK
businesses to expand their horizons and look to overseas markets to grow their
businesses a group of Norfolk businesses, with complementary businesses
products and services and supplying the agriculture and food processing
industry, have recently returned from a market visit to Warsaw, Poland.
The businesses are at different stages of developing their
overseas offerings. The idea of sending over a group with the same target
audience was to not only assist UKTI’s team at the Warsaw Embassy in
identifying potential customers for the group (by focusing on a specific
business category) but to also to give the Norfolk businesses an opportunity to
get to know each other with a view to working together longer term.
Poland had been identified as a country which is easily
accessible and is part of the European Union. It is growing fast as a country,
exporting food produce and is buying in technology to improve processes.
The Norfolk visitors included a diverse range of products
and services with a common goal. They all supplied into the food production
Companies on the trip
Redpack Manufacturers of
flow wrap machines (Rackheath)
Fresh Pod Ethylene removers
from fresh fruit and vegetable stores (Thetford)
KMS Hot melt
manufacturers and suppliers to the food processing companies (Watton)
Training Health and Safety
training and consultancy services to the food industry (Wymondham)
Enviro-Pod Transport and storage
material technology to reduce energy consumption (Norwich)
Installation Solutions Electrical Installations Solutions Ltd (Downham
Poland is one of nine Emerging European
Countries and identified by UKTI as a good target for UK companies looking to
trade globally. Poland is one of several with strong Norfolk links, with Poland
supplying a high proportion of workers into the agricultural sector in the
county. It is also easily accessible with daily flights from Stanstead.
The group was supported by UKTI and
local overseas advisor Alan Highet. Alan works with local businesses to
identify markets and supply support services to get businesses exporting. The
Poland trip was a diversion from the usual way UKTI work with businesses and it
was appreciated that the regional UKTI team were able to “try something
A reception was held at the British
Embassy in Warsaw. The local Polish Chamber of Commerce presented facts and
figures on the country’s food industry and offered support to the group moving
forward. The UKTI staff at the Embassy arranged an afternoon session of “meet
the buyers” where retailers, growers, processors, recruitment companies and
others attended to learn more about the UK product and services available from
the Norfolk firms. A reception late afternoon presented a networking event with
local chamber members.
“Poland is an exciting market
with a wealth of opportunities across all the sectors. Food and drink has a strong manufacturing base in Poland and there
are numerous opportunities around food health and safety, technologically
advanced equipment and supply change management. Whilst
this was just an initial visit, the companies found out how easy it is to get
to Poland and arrange another visit to follow up on the contacts they made”. Ewa van Veenendaal-Rawicz, Deputy Director,
UK Trade & Investment, British Embassy,
Returning from the mission the
companies are currently following up contacts made. The group will also be
swapping contact details of anyone they met who others may not have had time to
meet on the day. It is hoped working like this each company will be able to
make full use of the trip and contacts made. Ongoing, and should there be
sufficient interest and based on the Polish experience, then it is hoped that
similar overseas trips can be set up.
“For a relatively
short visit, UKTI and the British Embassy set up a constructive presentation
and reception for the small trade delegation. Although the numbers of
potential buyers attending were modest in numbers, the quality was good.
We came away with a much clearer understanding of the business culture and
business potential in Poland as a result. Suffice to say that a follow up
visit is currently being planned to look specifically at a couple of potential
projects” Steve Neeves, MD, Electrical Installation Solutions Ltd.
“Thousands of Polish people live and work in the UK with a
high concentration of agricultural workers in the Eastern counties. Whilst to
date we have delivered food hygiene, first aid and other training requirements
solely into the UK food sector, we believe there is an opportunity to work with
recruitment companies and others in Poland to ensure migrant workers heading
for the UK have the relevant safety accreditations to start work immediately on
arrival. Making the recruitment and training process much simpler for UK
companies employing overseas staff. The trip was useful with recruitment
connections made as well as meeting several members of the local Chamber and
Embassy willing to assist my business”. Colin Wright, MD, Britannia Training.
“Poland is the third biggest apple growing nation in
the world and a preliminary meeting with some Polish growers at Fruit Logistica
in February suggested that Poland would be a good place to expand into. Having
met with several growers at the Embassy it was clear that they are looking for
technology to help them manage their storage and logistics better. The Polish
growers were knowledgeable, receptive and keen to implement new technology into
their businesses. I am currently in follow up talks with both growers and
Producer Organisations which I hope will result in new export business for us”.
Mike Brown, Fresh Pod.
The group will look to work closer together exploring other
potential overseas opportunities, sharing thoughts and other information closer
to home and proving that businesses can make the most of public sector
To find out more on how the food
sector supply group work together contact Mike Brown on 01603 702374 for more
information on UKTI support contact Alan Highet on 07545 020351.