UK companies bring British cuisine and drink to China

Source:Global Times Published: 2018/11/19 18:48:40

Food is great

A city view of London Photo: VCG

A seminar, showcasing and live broadcasting British speakers from various industries in the UK to discuss the business environment in China was held at World Expo Museum in Shanghai recently. Over 75 British companies and 500 products were also on display at an exhibition to showcase UK food and beverages.

The "Food is Great" event was hosted by the British government's Department for International Trade and attracted many importers, distributors, retailers and buyers.

"I am hoping to get the distributors here," said Leanne Crowther, the co-founder and commercial director of Flower and White, a British company producing handmade meringues.

"We are bringing our products to China for the first time," said Dean Harris, the sales director of British biscuits company Christie International, adding that it will be very important for British companies to work with Chinese companies and Chinese consumers.

Harris said that he would like every Chinese consumer to have the British tradition of eating biscuits when they drink tea. He hopes that Chinese consumers will think of the UK and its biscuits at the same time.

"We are selling our product in the US, Dubai, Australia and Canada, but not in China yet," Crowther said. His ambition for the Chinese market is to work with local KOLs to help them understand and promote British products.

Seeking opportunities

R. Les Smith, the director of Baijiu Beer, relabeled their products for the Chinese market. "It's the third time we've actually been to China with our product." Smith said they are not actually selling it in China yet and their expectation is to start in China maybe early next year. "In the beginning, we will target Shanghai. Once we start to develop a decent market in Shanghai, then we can move to other cities," Smith said.

Zhang Jing, the head of a trading company in Shanghai, said that Harrogate Spring Water, a British bottled water brand that his company represents, entered the Chinese market in 2013 and there were less than 20 bottled water companies in China at that time.

"But now, competition between mineral water enterprises in China is very fierce. They are all trying to survive in the Chinese market," Zhang said, adding that his company hopes to expand in the Chinese market to 30 percent by 2020.

Charles Yang, a local distributor for Whittard, a British tea brand, told the Global Times that Whittard entered China in 2017 through cross-border e-commerce. This year, Whittard achieved first place on Tmall with sales reaching 20 million yuan ($2.88 million). "Through online testing, we found that the female market is very huge for reconcile tea, which is different from other traditional tea markets," Yang said.

"I want to understand the right channels for us to sell our products. I need to work for an online brand for China and make sure people can buy it quickly," Crowther said.

This story was written by Yao Jiaying.

Products from British companies on display Photo: Yao Jiaying


R.Les Smith (right), director of Baijiu Beer, and a colleague showcase their alcohol at the event Photo: Yao Jiaying

Leanne Crowther (left), co-founder and commercial director of Flower and White, introduces her products to visitors. Photo: Yao Jiaying


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