Forza: Food supplements supplier looking for healthy investment

Established in 2007, Forza produces food supplements focused mainly on slimming and weight management. Its products are stocked in around 10,000 UK stores, including Boots, Lloyds Pharmacy and Holland & Barrett.

The company sees exporting as the key to future growth. It has some distribution in Malta and Cyprus but has yet to achieve mass-market penetration overseas.   

Exploring new territories

Sales Director Matt Banks sees Mexico as a good fit with Forza's product range. The country has enjoyed rapid GDP growth, feeding through to rising household incomes. Obesity levels are also on the rise (Mexico is number two in the world) so there is demand for weight management products.  

When an opportunity arose to go on a Santander Trade Mission, the company was keen to assess the market. 

Sitting down with distributors

“I met six distributors on the Trade Mission – all meetings were pre-arranged. Meeting them personally was a chance to assess their strengths and weaknesses. This wouldn't have been possible from a distance. As a result, we have singled out a potential distributor and started in depth discussions as they have a 300 strong sales force that covers every region of the Country”.

“Overall, my first Trade Mission was full on. In addition to the meetings there were plenty of networking opportunities, offering a chance to share contacts and tips.”

Matt’s Trade Mission Top Tips

  • Make a wish list 

Do your research before you go to get a clear idea of who you want to talk to. UKTI and Santander can help but you should also use your own network and sources. Once you've done that, present a wish list to the organisers and make sure the meetings are set up in advance.   

  • Assess strengths and weaknesses of potential partners  

This is not something you can easily do from a distance. A Trade Mission gives you the opportunity to have a conversation with distributors face-to-face and single out the one you feel offers the best fit with your business and its objectives.  

  • Network, network, network 

Speak to potential customers and distributors at every opportunity. 

  • Post-trip follow-up is key 

It's vital to follow up on all the meetings and keep communications going with the new contacts after you return to the UK.  

To be eligible for a subsidised Trade Mission Santander are looking for highly ambitious businesses who’ve been trading for a minimum of two years and have plans to increase their customer base, employ more people or expand to new markets in the next 12 months.

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John Carroll - Helping businesses achieve International success. Head of Product Management & International Business, Santander UK