With the Gulfood exhibition set to return in February 2021, we caught up with family run company Beyond the Bean, who attended the event at Dubai World Trade centre back in 2017 and again in March 2020.
Gulfood is one of the largest annual food, beverage and hospitality exhibitions and attracts food and drink professionals from around the world. Since launching in 1987, the exhibition has expanded and now promotes food and beverage trade between more than 180 countries annually.
After receiving funding to attend the show through the Department for International Trade’s (DIT) Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP), Beyond the Bean has secured significant business in the Middle East.
To find out more about the company’s success, we spoke to Conrad Whiteley, Beyond the Bean’s International Sales Manager and DIT Export Champion.
Could you introduce yourself and tell us a bit more about the company?
The business was set up in 1997 and we create and supply ingredients for the hospitality sector including syrups, ingredients for hot chocolate, frappes, and smoothies as well as barista gear and blenders. We have a full product range and part of our success with global partners is the fact that we can supply all their requirements.
We currently export to over fifty countries with the most important markets being Europe, South Korea, and the Middle East.
Why did you decide to attend Gulfood?
Gulfood is a major international food show for us. Although based in Dubai, it certainly attracts buyers from the Middle East but also companies from further afield such as Australia, China, Vietnam, and Africa. Our stand had strong visitor numbers from Africa due to the location of Dubai and the ease of travel. It therefore offers access to a wide range of lucrative overseas markets.
What success have you had from attending Gulfood?
A win from two years ago at Gulfood came from Eastern Africa. A buyer visited our stand and we introduced ourselves and told our story while offering our products to taste. Three months later they met with us and placed their first order.
Previously, we partnered with other companies to gain access to the exhibition, but this year was the first year we had a stand in our own name. We received TAP funding from DIT, which was of great benefit.
This year’s exhibition allowed us to partner with Saudi Arabia for our biggest export success yet. Saudi Arabia is part of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), an alliance of six Middle Eastern countries. This opens doors to surrounding markets where there could be future potential.
What advice would you give to companies looking to attend?
It’s a long-term plan, so don’t expect to go to Gulfood straight away and secure business. My advice is that you need to build some presence and brand awareness within the region. You will do that as being part of Gulfood, but prior to the event you should go through any prospect listing and invite people to come and visit your stand to build on those connections.
Whilst you are there you can also network with other people from the UK and find out what success they’ve had and see if you can get involved in sharing lead opportunities.
Whenever we attend an exhibition it’s all about creating theatre. When we’re on the stand we encourage visitors to taste our products and engage directly with us and our products. That really does have a positive impact on bringing people in.
Finally, what does the future hold for your company?
We have just secured our largest contract ever with a company based in Saudi Arabia, which came from Gulfood about five or six years ago. Saudi Arabia is the biggest country in the gulf, standing at around £30 million. This contract has really exceeded our expectations and we’re really looking forward to working with them in the coming months.
How to apply for funding
Businesses exporting or thinking about exporting from the UK can attend DIT's Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) selected overseas trade shows and conferences, and get grants to offset some costs. Applications for TAP must be made eight weeks before the start of the event. For more information, speak to your International Trade Adviser (ITA) or visit teh TAP webpage.
For further information on export opportunities and the support available from DIT, visit www.great.gov.uk
If you'd like to speak to one of our South West ITA's, get in touch with out team on 01275 370 944 or email DITsw@mobile.trade.gov.uk