UK and India Long and Enduring Friendship Takes a Food-Full Step Forward

Business Wire India
Food and beverage stakeholders are awakening to the growing likelihood of better international trade ties. It is motivating to note that, amidst unprecedented time where the sectorial economy has seen massive disruptive influences; how players in this sphere are finding ways to deal with the existing atmosphere, while also tapping into outlooks that presented themselves in this turbulent period. Recognizing the sanguineness of industry peer’s Department of International Trade (DIT) in conjunction with the Great Britain Food Program (GBFP), UK India Business Council (UKIBC), and Forum of Indian Food Importers (FIFI) hosted the largest virtual contingent of the UK F&B companies to India.

The virtual pre-AAHAR B2B engagement, 22-25 March 2021, turned out to a platform for over 110 UK’s leading food and drink producers, participating in the Meet the Buyer event where over 450 pre-selected buyer-sellers virtual meetings were organized. Ahead of the virtual Meet the Buyer event a knowledge day session was organized offering an opportunity platform for the food and beverage companies from both the countries to learn, understand and engage with the key officials from the DIT, UKIBC, FIFI GBFP, and the Government of India’s food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India.

The key partner to the event Forum of Indian Food Importer (FIFI), a non-government, and a not for profit entity that works primarily to enhance food and beverage business in India, played an instrumental part in curating the event. Mr. Amit Lohani, Founder and Director, Forum of Indian Food Importer was quoted saying, “I take pride to be a part of this industry and that businesses in the sector have reengineered their operations to accommodate the shifting trade and consumer outlook and are continuously working on preparing for future course.” He also highlighted that, “The deepening of the UK – India trade relationship was emphasised recently during the meeting between the UK’s International Trade Secretary Ms. Liz Truss, with India’s Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Mr. Piyush Goyal. While both the governments are working together, we as industry have taken the burden of advancing the narrative of better trade ties at our end. This is a step in this direction and displays our contribution towards the doctrine of mutual trade relationships.”

UK India Business Council (UKIBC), which apart from being an advocacy and strategic advisory, works as a partner of Department of International Trade and is responsible for the day to day delivery of activities for the food and drink sector in India. Mr. Kevin McCole, Managing Director, UKIBC upon being asked about the Indian F&D sector said, “The Indian food and drink industry is extremely dynamic – it’s big, getting bigger, and is rich in innovation and value addition. With the world’s second largest consumer base and the ever-improving regulatory environment, India has become a hot market for UK food and drink exporters. The on-going virtual pre-AAHAR 2021 B2B event, followed by AAHAR trade show are fantastic opportunities to learn about this market and to find partners and buyers to help you enter and expand in India.”

Mr. Paul Abley, International Innovation and Delivery Manager for Department of International Trade, upon being asked about their commitment towards Indian market said, “We are really pleased to partner with both UKIBC and FIFI to deliver our programme of engagement for the Indian market. The market is becoming increasingly attractive to UK food and drink producers and identifying the right partners to navigate what can be a complex market is essential, in UKIBC and FIFI we have these partners.
With more than 100 UK food and drink producers having participated in the virtual meet the buyer this week we have managed to reach importers/distributors and retailers as well as hoteliers, purchase managers, and chefs that we wouldn’t have had a chance to without the reach and credibility of both UKIBC and FIFI.
Information provided by both UKIBC and FIFI has helped companies prepare, an example of this is the transparency of breaking down how pricing is structured from manufacture to consumer and the different costs in between provides a level of detail producers sometimes don’t see in other markets and allows them to work on pricing strategies.
Next in our programme of engagement is the AAHAR tradeshow where we will be exhibiting within the International pavilion space, this will be followed up with other activities and initiatives as we fully appreciate India is a market we need to commit to for the mutual benefit of all concerned.”

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