The Barbados Investment and Development Corporation’s Taste of Barbados summer event in the UK recently kicked off with an expanded range of food, beverage, art and craft.
Consumers are being treated to the full portfolio of products currently available in the UK under the BIDC Market Development Programme.
Starting at the Foodies Festival in Cheshire, a show which attracted over 30,000 people over a three-day period, the Taste of Barbados stand proved a real hit with the hundreds of food and drink fanatics from the North of England, many of whom were past visitors to Barbados. Festival attendees were keen to seek out brands with a point of difference and were particularly interested in new varieties of Barbados chocolate, sauces, and rum cakes.
The Birmingham Festival, which followed on May 26, proved to be equally popular, although it attracted a completely contrasting visitor profile. The UK Bajan and Caribbean communities came out in large numbers to enjoy a day of music, cricket, culture and the very best in traditional Bajan Fare.
Barbados beer, fruit juices, syrups, seasonings and cou cou mix were highly sought after among the crowds, who also expressed interest in a range of local art and craft on display.
Peter Martin of International Brands, who continues to implement the BIDC activity programme in the UK noted: “These two shows provided us with great encouragement, as we entered into new geographical areas in the UK, and introduced new brands to a wide variety of potential consumers.
“Barbados as a brand continues to attract attention at every event and we would encourage the manufacturer base to take advantage of all opportunities that clearly exist in the UK despite the economic challenges. Striving for quality, competitiveness, and a point of difference are still key points to consider when exporting.”
The Taste of Barbados showcase not only highlights new brands and allows for test marketing of product samples, but provides an excellent feedback channel for producers keen on entering the market. Consumer response suggests that there is a desire for a wider range of traditional Barbados products in the UK.
Exports under the UK Market Development Programme have been steadily growing over the past four years, moving from $744,353 at the end of 2009 to $1.2 million at the end of 2012.
The UK show schedule continues throughout the summer.