Welsh food and drink producers will aim to strengthen and build ties with prospective partners and investors as they visit Qatar this month. As part of the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Wales Trade Development Visit to Doha from 9-14 November, ten food and drink companies from Wales will be given the opportunity to showcase their products to a host of distributors and retail buyers, all looking to secure new business.
This Trade Development Visit to Qatar will be the second year running that the Welsh Government has taken a trade delegation to the region, and they are hoping for continued success again this year. The goal of the visit is to leverage networking and collaboration opportunities between the producers, Welsh Government and Qatar as well as strengthening business, trade and tourism relationships.
Speaking ahead of the visit, the Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths AM, said:
“This trade visit to Qatar provides a great opportunity for Welsh food and drink producers seeking to build new contacts in overseas markets and is part of our overall drive to support Welsh exports. Exports for the sector have grown in the past decade as businesses develop relationships and explore markets around the world.
“The Qatari food and drink market has great potential and is well suited to Wales’s high quality produce.
“I am delighted we are supporting this group of producers going out to Doha to explore new markets first hand and to develop further connections with international businesses.”
Qatar is one of the richest countries in the world, importing over 90% of its food requirements. The consumer base is high income, young and urban-based, a growing expatriate population that has a preference for eating out, healthy options and premium foods.
Since the launch over a year ago of Qatar Airways flights from Cardiff, which operates up to 7 times per week between Cardiff and Doha, this has opened up the prospect of further trade and investment between the two countries.
The Welsh companies taking part in the Trade Development Visit include Frank’s Ice Cream, Prima Foods Uk, Ultrapharm, The Lobster Pot, Llanllyr Source, Gut Instinct Foods Ltd, Ferrari’s Coffee, Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales, Randell Parker Foods and Dunbia.
During the visit delegates will take part in a Market Briefing, store visit programme, a networking event, Meet the Producer event and visit the Hospitality Qatar Show.
One company looking to continue to build on recent success with a Middle East supplier is Ammanford based Frank’s Ice Cream. Commenting ahead of the visit, Dino Dallavelle said,
“We have recently secured a partnership with a Middle East supplier and we would like to continue to build relationships and seek new opportunities. We hope to develop stronger links in the region and learn any new ideas that may be attractive to this market.
“The Welsh Government has been and continues to be extremely supportive on our export targets, arranging successful meetings with buyers across several markets. Thus, allowing an opportunity to have multiple meetings, which otherwise would be costly and time consuming.”
Another company embarking on the Trade visit is The Lobster Pot, a global supplier of top quality live, sustainably sourced lobster and brown crab. Based in Holyhead, Anglesey, The Lobster Pot is a family business, established over 70 years ago.
Julie Hill, Sales & Marketing Manager at The Lobster Pot is one delegate attending the Welsh Government’s Trade Development Visit for the first time and is very much looking forward
“The Lobster Pot is a growing business with an excellent track record. We would like to demonstrate our innovative approach in meeting the demands of new customers in new markets, such as Qatar. A sign of success for us would be the development of an ongoing relationship with new customers and the supply of live shellfish on a regular basis.
“The Welsh Government has helped us by funding research to determine that Qatar is a feasible market. They have also helped us by partly funding and organising the trip and arranging meetings with previously identified potential importers which is a great help.”
Pontypool based Ultrapharm Ltd have over 25 years’ experience in Gluten Free baking in their own dedicated gluten free only sites. Iain Lewis, Commercial Director sees this visit as an exciting opportunity that could bring great potential,
“The gluten free sector remains very vibrant as more consumers become aware of and switch to gluten free diets. Research shows that the fastest growing geographical area for gluten free is EMEA with projected compound annual growth of 10.6%. We are already supplying customers in much of continental Europe and the UK, so we are now interested in expanding our reach into the Middle East. This is a really exciting region with great potential and Qatar is at its heart making it a great first step for us.”
One producer who took part in the Food and Drink Wales Trade Development Visit to Qatar last year and is looking to explore the Food Service market in Qatar is Massimo Bishop-Scotti, Head of Innovation of Prima Foods. He said,
“Taking part in the Trade Development Visit to Qatar in 2018 gave us real insight into the regional market and the opportunities available to Welsh food and drink producers. The visit was very well organised and we met a range of buyers and distributors from both retail and foodservice. I would recommend taking part in these visits as they can help prepare you for these more challenging export markets.”
The Qatari food and drink market is experiencing growth in the following categories: organic, free-from, premium private label, healthy lifestyle such as vegan and vegetarian, low carbohydrate, low sugar, high protein, convenience foods and easy to prepare foods, packaged food and meat (must be halal, and certified by an organisation recognised by the Qatari authorities).
Qatar’s hospitality sector is expected to grow by over 12% to reach US$1.4bn by 2022. Tourism is a key growth area with a target of attracting 5.6m tourists by 2023 and an expected 1.5m tourists during 2022 when Qatar hosts the FIFA World Cup.
The Welsh Government’s Trade Development Visit to Doha, Qatar takes place 9-14 November 2019.