Popular South West food and drink companies bound for China to boost online sales

Zoe Bagnall
Content and PR Executive | Business West
14th October 2020

The Great British Food Programme, an initiative delivered by Business West, is partnering up with Regroup China, a digital marketing agency which specialises in driving Chinese cross-border eCommerce sales, to launch the Great British Food Store.

The Great British Food Programme aims to connect UK food and drink producers with a host of Chinese buyers and consumers who are hungry to buy high quality British produce. 

The Great British Food Store will be launched in early 2021 on the social media platform, WeChat, as a specialist mini-program and will give sought-after food and drink producers in the South West of England the opportunity to showcase and sell their products to a user base of 1.2 billion. According to Tencent, in 2019, WeChat users spent $115 billion through mini-programs, equivalent to £88 billion. 

A report published by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), showed that while exports of food and drink to the UK’s top markets fell in the first half of 2020, value sales increased by 0.3% to China. 

Joining Regroup China as strategic partners in this initiative will be Elanders, an award-winning logistics company with expertise in getting products safely into China, who will be on hand to cover all the documentation, consolidation and logistical aspects of the store. Intellectual Property specialists, NJ Akers, will also provide advice on IP and other legalities that a business may encounter when launching a product in the Chinese Market.

Lee Hamber, Senior Sales Executive at Lilley’s Cider in Somerset has signed up to the WeChat opportunity and said:

“Lilley’s see a huge potential in China for our products, including the sheer size of the population. There is also a growing interest in cider as well as English products, so being involved in the program is a great opportunity.

“Business West’s support has been so important as the WeChat program will allow us to tap into large audience of Chinese WeChat users and grow our brand internationally.” 

Paul Rostand, founder of Great British Biscotti based in Dorset said:

“China has been a target market for us since founding the brand because of the vast potential in both retail and food service. 

“By being part of the WeChat program, we hope to get the awareness and brand exposure to help us grow our exports in the Chinese market.”

Lex Thornley, Director of Blue Goose, producer of compostable coffee capsules, based in Pitton in Wiltshire, said: 

“Every lesson, webinar and blog post about launching in China and overseas talks about the need to understand the way those countries do business and all the pitfalls you might face. 

“So, as a micro business, to work with Business West and the expert team overseeing the marketing campaigns in China means we have the best possible chance of success without costing us time, money and stress that we can’t afford.”

James Monk, Director of Commercial Services at Business West said:

“In 2019, China was the UK's sixth largest export market, so this program is a fantastic opportunity for South West food and drink companies looking to expand their company in a lucrative market."

"Food and drink in the UK and the South West are recognised globally for its high quality and demand for authentic British food products from China has been soaring in recent years."

"I would encourage businesses in the region looking to grow their brand internationally, to get in touch to discuss the opportunity or apply today to be part of the exciting program.”

Businesses can apply online by following this link and applications to join the Great British Food Store in China close on 16th November.

To learn more about this exciting opportunity and to meet the team behind the store, interested businesses are encouraged to join a free webinar taking place on 11th November. More information can be found here.

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  • Take a look a the process involved

    Drill down on the 8-step process of selling your goods via the WeChat store.