Roaming the halls at this year’s Summer Fancy Food show, high numbers of Canadian buyers were in the market to do business with British food and drink companies. Recognising the importance of this market to British food and drink exporters, Food from Britain North America (FFB NA) has appointed Ross Southwell as a dedicated consultant. Southwell will be located near Ottawa, Canada, while the rest of the FFB NA team will be based in Manhattan, New York.
Southwell arrives at FFB NA after a career spanning more than 30 years initially in the import world then in food manufacturing where he redesigned the marketing strategy for SPAM, resulting in the reverse of its long-term sales decline, launched SPAM variants and four ready to heat jacket potatoes toppers with major British retailers and ran a successful mustard and sauce company – Taylor’s Speciality Foods Ltd. A native of Southampton, and having lived in Cheshire for a number of years, Southwell has been in Canada since 2003.
With first-hand experience of the issues facing British producers, Southwell will provide supply chain and sales and marketing advice for suppliers interested in expanding their business in the Canadian market. However, this is no mean feat logistically. After all, Canada is 38 times the size of the UK.
Southwell explains, “There is a robust market for British foods in Canada due, in part, to the large number of ex-pats here, even if many are now third, fourth of fifth generation Canadians and also to the general connection to the Commonwealth. There is a wide and rapidly growing ethnic diversity here and UK food producers are very experienced in this field. However producers must look before they leap into this market.
There is a common misconception that Canada and America are one and the same when it comes to food exporting. Discounting the fact that Canada is a bi-lingual nation and packaging must be in both French and English, that many US health declarations are illegal in Canada and we also have a different nutritional declaration standard, Canadians also have different tastes.”
FFB is happy to add another sting to its bow with a specialisation in the Canadian market. This offering will reinforce its already wide-reaching international network.