After joining their first virtual trade webinar during lockdown a Denbighshire bakery, Henllan Bread, has struck gold securing a three month contract to supply a supermarket chain in Qatar with high hopes of moving into other regions.
Virtual webinars, instead of face to face meetings, have become the new norm during the Covid-19 pandemic, and with the help of the Welsh Government food and drink companies have been exploring new ways of expanding their export markets.
Located in Denbigh, with deliveries of bread, cakes and pies six days a week around North and Mid Wales, the Shropshire borders and the Wirral, Henllan Bread has also exported products across the Atlantic to the USA and as far as the Middle East.
Having had products already listed in the Qatar region Ed Moore, Director of Henllan Bread joined his first Food & Drink Wales Export Club webinar in June said:
“The Qatar webinar was my first as part of the Export club. The speakers were knowledgeable and for any business with an export plan these events are a well worth exercise.
“Joining an Export Club’s virtual webinar means that producers like us are still able to connect and start conversations with buyers all over the world. It is a great tool as I can join calls wherever or whenever I want.
“On this occasion I was able to connect with the General Manager of a major supermarket chain after the webinar which has led to securing an order which is great news.
“Now our cakes, the Welsh Collaboration Cake range and our popular Sandwich range, will be in store in Qatar from this Saturday. It will be a 12 week trial but we are hoping to secure more in the Middle East region going forward.”
Lately the Export Club webinars have seen numbers continue to rise since the pandemic broke in March. The webinars offer a unique opportunity to meet with prospective buyers, distributors and importers via video conference facilities in order to develop and strengthen business, trade and export relationships.
The Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths said:
“This is a wonderful way for many of our food and drink companies to showcase their products and capabilities, whilst sharing information in a format that is suited to the current climate.
“In these uncertain times it has been crucial to think of different ways to connect people, and our webinars have given businesses the platform to communicate with buyers and suppliers from all over the world.
“Wales is open for business and with our programme of events supporting the Food and Drink sector, they can look at different markets and channels available.
“Our aim is to support those businesses who are exporting, and help them understand the obstacles, inspire them and make the most of all the possible markets available so businesses are in a better place after lockdown.
“The Henllan Bakery case is a great example of how to use the webinars to your advantage and connect with international buyers across the world. Even though we can’t take our producers internationally we are still delivering opportunities for them.
“During the global Covid-19 pandemic, international travel has become less of a practical option for our exporters, however, virtual trade visits such as these have posed an increasingly attractive alternative for large companies who may have to physically stay in their home countries, but are still determined to highlight their products to international audiences.”