Getting a taste for Spain!

Getting a taste for Spain!

Santander takes 12 UK food and drink manufacturers to Spain on one of our Trade Missions. Alicia Ferrero Vega in the International team explains why:

We are – naturally – passionate about Spain, and a big focus for us in 2017 is helping UK companies to export their goods and services to the country. The Spanish economy has recovered strongly since 2009 and is now one of the fastest-growing in Europe. It is the UK’s 6th largest export market, worth around £8 billion a year to the UK economy – and we would like this to grow.

In January 2017, Santander took 12 UK food and drink manufacturers – all based in Anglia – to Spain on one of our trade missions. Participating firms included the Burlington Drinks Company, Aspalls and Stoke Sauces.

The businesses going attended, among other things, a ‘Meet the Buyer’ session with Spanish distribution firms and supermarket chains – with between five to nine meetings arranged throughout the trip. The firms had one-to-one meetings with importers interested in their products, and also were given insights into the Spanish economy, foreign exchange considerations, and the country’s food and drink sector.

Helping SMEs to export is a core priority for Santander. We regularly and proactively get UK firms out to markets to meet buyers and network with key stakeholders. Previous trade missions include the US, Mexico, the United Arab Emirates and Poland.

Our Spanish trade mission ensures all the attending UK companies understand the benefits they can gain from the Spanish market. It also explored some of the local idiosyncrasies: cultural differences, such as Spain’s famous ‘last minute’ business style, can make negotiations frustrating for some, and longer payment terms and preferences for face-to-face meetings can also mean extra expenses.

With political uncertainty in Europe and concerns about the wider UK-EU relationship post-Brexit, many exporters may be wary of diving into relationships with European counterparts. We ardently believe that Spain will remain a very attractive market post-Brexit, with its recovering economy and revived household consumption. The current exchange rate is also in Britain’s favour, with UK products 15% cheaper.

The Spanish are always keen to try new products, and British produce is perceived to be of high quality. Britain has seen huge success in the market with a number of notable brands, such as Cadbury, Burberry, BT and EasyJet all making their mark, and with a strengthened economy, now is a prime time to deliver British goods.

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