Two North East food and drink companies sought out new international trade ties in Dubai this week at the world’s largest food and drink trade show, Gulfood (17-21 Feb).

Now in its 24th year, the five-day international exhibition attracts more than 100,000 visitors each year and features 5,000 food & drink exhibitors from around the world.

Middlesbrough-based Greco Brothers, manufacturers of ice cream cones and wafers and distributors of ice cream packaging and flavourings, joined South Shields-based Super U, manufacturers of superfood powders, to exhibit as part of a Northern Powerhouse delegation organised by the Food is GREAT campaign.

Food is GREAT is a cross-departmental initiative between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) that aims to showcase UK food and drink overseas, and to help businesses to export.

International Trade Advisers (ITAs) from DIT helped the companies connect with international distributors and retailers at the event. These one-to-one meetings enabled the businesses to showcase their products and capabilities to potential overseas partners.

David Coppock, Head of Region – North East, at the Department for International Trade, said: “The world has a taste for the North East’s food and drink, with exports totalling £244.9 million in the year to September 2018.

“We know that finding new partners and buyers can sometimes be a hurdle for firms looking to start or grow their exports, which is why we offer our support through regular trade missions to major industry trade shows like Gulfood.

“We also have a network of ITAs based across the North East who are on hand to help businesses navigate the export process from start to finish, and can offer expert, one-to-one guidance on everything from tax to language and logistics. Exporting can help boost profitability and increase resilience, and I’d encourage anyone interested to get in touch with our team and see how they can benefit.”

Businesses looking for support from an ITA to begin or grow their exporting should contact 0345 136 0169 or email northeast@mobile.trade.gov.uk. They can also visit great.gov.uk, which has a number of live export opportunities currently listed, including general information on exporting and events.