African and Caribbean fine foods up their game in the UK
African and Caribbean artisanal food brands participated at the Speciality and Fine Food Fair in London with the aim of exploring new commercial linkages in the UK market for their growing brands.
African and Caribbean artisanal food brands enjoying local and regional success are turning to new global markets with the goal of exporting their unique value-added products to a wider group of consumers.
On 11 and 12 September, eight companies that work with the International Trade Centre (ITC) participated in the Speciality & Fine Food Fair in London.
The businesses – representing the Dominican Republic, Eswatini, Ghana, Jamaica and Senegal – came laden with hot chili sauces, fine chocolate, cocoa, tea and healthy cashew apple juices infused with local flavour notes and sustainable goals.
The UK-based event draws 10,000 people every year, making it an annual meeting point for fine food and drink buyers and sellers from around the world.
The industry event, designed as a food festival, lets established and budding brands alike to get industry experts and buyers to discover their latest products.
African and Caribbean brands break the mold
The eight brands came from across ITC’s Alliances for Action initiative.
They were amongst 200 new-to-market companies in the event, who are paving the way in sustainability by protecting the planet and their people through fresh initiatives.
ITC’s UK sales advisor for this initiative, Karen Green, helped the companies prepare with exhibition tips, sales assets, unique selling proposition, pitching and product selection for the UK market. The eight brands also met with distributors and potential buyers, including one session with Selfridges.
Black Mamba from Eswatini, who secured a distributor last year with ITC support, looked into new retail opportunities, shops and collaborations.
‘We got to meet and greet buyers in person, test our new products and get relevant market feedback, meet new potential buyers and overall strengthen our presence in the UK,’ said Claudia Castellanos, founder and managing director of Black Mamba. ‘We are grateful to ITC for providing these amazing opportunities. Trade shows are essential for the development of exports and market expertise.’
Mary Marshall from Niche Confectionary, a successful and fairly large cocoa processing operation in Ghana, leveraged this event to fine-tune the brand.
‘This year’s event gave us a great platform to present and gain critical feedback on our new products, as well as find potential sales channels both within and outside the UK. Along with that, exhibiting alongside many innovative businesses provided a good opportunity to gain inspiration.’
For Casadeliz from Senegal, this was their first UK show, at a crucial point in the company’s growth. The three cocoa processing brands Fairafric Ghana, Pure Chocolate and Definite Chocolate from the Caribbean, were able to meet with potential distributors and gain higher market exposure.
About the projects
The ACP Business-Friendly programme is funded by the European Union and the Organisation of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (OACPS) and jointly implemented by ITC’s Alliances for Action, the World Bank and UNIDO. It seeks to improve the ability of agribusiness firms in ACP countries to compete, grow and prosper in domestic, regional and international markets. Through the Alliances for Action approach, it promotes inclusive and sustainable agricultural value chains that value all stakeholders from farm to shelf.
The Netherlands Trust Fund V (NTF) (July 2021 – June 2025) is based on a partnership between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of The Netherlands and the International Trade Centre. The programme supports MSMEs in the digital technologies and agribusiness sectors. Its ambition is two-fold: to contribute to an inclusive and sustainable transformation of food systems, partially through digital solutions, and drive the internationalisation of tech start-ups and export of IT&BPO companies in selected Sub-Saharan African countries.
The 'Eswatini: Promoting growth through competitive alliances II', funded by the EU, supports job creation for small farmers, entrepreneurs and artisans. Eswatini offers the global market unique organic produce, artisan roasted coffee, handmade cultural creations and gourmet condiment lines. ITC works closely with smallholder farmers, agro-processors and artisans in Eswatini to support them in ways that are sustainable and benefit both people and the planet. In this way, ITC fosters and preserves cultural heritage, and draws on artisan skills and concepts of green growth.
The United Kingdom Trade Partnerships (UKTP) Programme, funded by the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, aims to increase trade from developing countries to the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) by maximizing the benefits of UK and EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) and the UK's Developing Countries Trading Scheme (DCTS). The UKTP Programme works in partnership with government agencies, private sector organisations, public sector institutions, small and medium-sized enterprises and other local stakeholders.