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Food and drink businesses open the door to European markets

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18 Jan 2018

This week, food and drink buyers from four European countries gathered in the Pavilions of Harrogate to meet over 130 ambitious Northern companies who want to increase their exports to the EU.

Businesses who came along to the event included Harrogate-based Spirit of Harrogate makers of Slingsby Gin, Thirsk-based Shepherd’s Purse Cheeses, Leeds-based North Brewing company and Bradford-based Seabrook Crisps alongside many other familiar local brands.

Kersten England Chief Executive of Bradford Council and Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) lead Chief Executive for Business, Innovation and Growth said:

“I’m delighted so many Leeds City Region businesses came along to the event today as EU countries are the biggest market by far for UK for this sector. Last year, exports of food and drink from the UK exceeded £20bn for the first time, half of which went to EU markets, up 10.5 per cent on 2015. Opening the door to international markets is all about working with the right partners and getting the right support and the LEP can help simplify that.”

Achim Helbig, CEO at BrauArt britische Biere, one of the buyers based in Düsseldorf, Germany said:

“I’ve met a number of very interesting companies and tasted good quality products, some of which I was aware some I wasn’t. Today has shown me what a wealth of great SMEs there are in Yorkshire and their personal approach to running a business, which is important for me. The story behind the brands helps me to sell these product in Germany. I’m looking forward to seeing more of Harrogate and sampling some more local products.”

Clare Whitaker, Director of Marketing at Spirit of Harrogate, makers of Slingsby gin said:"It's been great to meet buyers from Switzerland, France and Germany here in Harrogate, as well as attending useful marketing and business development workshops. The response has been extremely positive and I’m hoping these conversations lead us to new markets and help us grow our brand further afield so that more consumers can enjoy our award winning products."

The day comprised 135 one to one meetings with individual buyers, a marketplace of 54 food and drink displays and a series of workshops about marketing, business development, insights and trends in the food and drink sector.

The event has been organised by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) in partnership with, the Department for International Trade (DIT), Deliciously Yorkshire and RTC North.

The importance of overseas trade was recently highlighted in a report by HMRC. It found in the year to June 2017, the overall value of Yorkshire and Humber trade in goods exported increased significantly by 13 per cent compared with the same period to June 2016.

This forms the first of two food and drink events in Harrogate.  On 26 January, Design Network North in partnership with the LEP are hosting a monthly Rise and Design event, focusing on design in the food and drink sector. It will bring together some iconic Yorkshire food producers to share their passion for their products and creativity behind their brands. The event will be held at the Sun Pavilion, Harrogate, from 8.30am.  To book a place call 0191 516 4400.