Scots food and drink firms aiming to springboard Asian growth at major Singapore trade show

Top Scottish food and drink is going in front of significant buyers at what is described as one of the world’s biggest trade events that gets under way in Singapore todaynote-0.

Scottish Development International (SDI), the international arm of Scottish Enterprise, is leading a delegation of 13 companies at Food & Hotel Asia (FHA), which is billed as the continent’s largest food and drink trade event.

About 35,000 attendees from more than 50 countries and regions are expected to attend the showcase, which will give participating Scottish firms access to the likes of distributors, importers, manufacturers, and retailers.

SDI is hosting the Scottish producers, ranging from whisky distillers and craft brewers to plant-based snack manufacturers and soft-fruit growers, on the Scotland pavilion at FHA, and it is co-hosting a networking reception for buyers at the British High Commissioner's Residence. Additionally, FHA coincides with Scottish Food and Drink Fortnight, which started on Friday.

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Neil McInnes, head of south-east Asia and Asia Pacific lead for consumer industries at SDI, said Scotland “is renowned overseas as a land of food and drink, particularly here in the Asia Pacific region”, while he added that FHA is “the first major trade show in Asia that Scottish companies will have travelled out to post-Covid”.

One of the Scottish firms exhibiting at FHA is Edinburgh-based Bellfield Brewery. Its sales manager Elliot Lamb, who is travelling out to Singapore, said: “We’re already seeing good export growth in the European market, but exhibiting at [FHA] gives us an opportunity to showcase our fantastic range of craft beers – all gluten-free and vegan – to a new audience.

“We’ve identified Asia, and specifically Singapore, as a priority for our export business in the future and we are hoping to meet with importers and distributors from multiple markets across Southeast Asia and the wider [Asia-Pacific] market.”

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Scottish Development International is leading a delegation of 13 companies at Food & Hotel Asia in Singapore. Picture: contributed.

Scotland’s presence at FHA follows a trade mission led by Seafood Scotland at the Japan Seafood Show last month, and precedes a “learning journey” to Singapore by Seafood Scotland and SDI later this month where a further six relevant firms will be meeting trade buyers.

SDI said that in FY21/22 there was a near year-on-year doubling of trade opportunities delivered to Scottish firms in the Asia Pacific region.

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Mr McInnes added: “We’re seeing an increasing appetite from Scottish companies to explore new market opportunities here in the region. Our intelligence also suggests that Scottish companies expect to see their export levels increase during 2022/23.

“That’s why we are strengthening our engagement with exporters and enhancing our presence in key markets, including here in Singapore, as well as in new markets like Indonesia, where we’ve recently recruited SDI’s first dedicated food and drink specialist based in Jakarta.”

John Davidson, interim chief executive at Scotland Food & Drink, said global exports of Scottish food and drink were valued at £6.2 billion in 2021, up £738 million from 2020, and jumping more than 14 per cent for the Asia Pacific region.

He also stated: “Whilst our producers continue to face challenges in the face of rising costs, there does continue to be significant market opportunities for our food and drink companies, and our activity is designed to help them take advantage of these opportunities, including raising their profile at the [FHA] event."

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