UKIBC 2019 Food and Drink Trade Mission to India

By UK India Business Council (UKIBC)

The UKIBC will be taking its very first Food and Drink Trade Mission to India between 4th – 8th February 2019.

Involving ten delegates representing some of the UK’s biggest companies and organisations in the sector, this Mission is all about advocating what the UK can offer a £193 billion, and growing, food and drink industry in India.

Led by renowned champion of UK food and drink and Chief Executive of the UK Food and Drink Federation, Ian Wright, delegates will be attending the India Food Forum 2019 in Mumbai, as well as meeting with the Food Safety and Standards Authority, the Ministry of Food Processing Industries, YES Bank, and Invest India in Delhi.

Our Mission comes at a time when there is ample opportunity to shape India’s emerging food and drink regulatory landscape and engender best practice. Currently UK-India food and drink trade is under-developed. We believe ease of doing business reform could deliver huge opportunity for investment and innovation with the adoption of global best practice for food standards having the potential to not only increase government revenues, but ultimately improve consumer choice in India.

The Indian food and drink industry, currently valued at £193 billion, is poised for strong growth with a projected CAGR of 19% between 2017 and 2020. The strong domestic demand can be attributed to favourable demographics, a growing disposable income, urbanisation, organisation of the retail industry, changing consumer tastes and preferences, and an increasing spend on value-added products.

Indeed, Chief Executive of the UK Food and Drink FederationIan Wright, shared that:

“For UK Food and Drinks companies looking to succeed globally, India is a market that simply cannot be ignored. So I am delighted to lead the UK India Business Council’s Trade Mission of dynamic, outward-looking UK food and drink companies to the India Food Forum 2019. Our visit could not come at better time. It’s imperative to step-up advocacy for UK Food and Drink in key markets across the world and India is one of the most exciting opportunities.”

This Mission is therefore an excellent opportunity to meet with key importers, distributors, and retailers as well as interacting with leading Government officials to improve the ease of doing business environment. As such we’re proud the UK will be represented by leading brands Randall Parker Foods, Greene King Brewing, Ramsden International, MangaJo UK Ltd, Matugga Distillers, Farmison & Co, Worsley Gin, and Booker Wholesale, as well as being supported by the Department for International Trade (DIT).

So please join us as our UKIBC Food and Drink specialist, Mita Chopra, sends us daily updates from the heart of the Mission on this blog page.


Day 1:

Our first update from the Trade Mission comes as our delegates arrive from the UK over the course of today and early tomorrow morning.

This arrivals day gave perfect opportunity for the delegates who have made it here so far to meet informally at the hotel bar and strategise for the days ahead.

No doubt about it, tomorrow will be busy but incredibly productive.

The India Food Forum will kick off in the morning with contributions from our very own lead delegate and Chief Executive of the UK Food and Drink Federation, Ian Wright. With UKIBC’s stall ready and waiting on the Forum floor, our delegates are clearly eager to get going and showcase the best of British food and drink they represent.

Finding opportunities and understanding both market access and the regulatory environment will be high on the list of priorities for our delegates as they network across the hall in between a series of pre-arranged B2B meetings tomorrow.

So a huge welcome to our delegates, and to our friends following the delegation from across the UK and India, stay tuned for our updates from the main event….


Day 2

It is safe to say that the India Food Forum 2019 is well under way!

Delegates at the UKIBC Food Forum Stall

After Ian Wright, Chief Executive of the UK Food and Drink Federation, took part in the opening inaugural session of the Forum this morning, our Delegates have been flat out across the floor of the Forum.

UKIBC are proud to have a beautiful stall at the Forum showcasing our Delegate’s companies. Visitors from across India and the world have been popping in for one-to-ones and chancing a glance at the beautiful displays of Greene King’s IPA, Worsley Gin, and Matugga Rum.

Not only have our Delegates shown off the best of UK products, but Ian showed off the strength of UK food and drink innovation and expertise.

As a panellist at the ‘Food and Grocery Retailing in the Phygital Era’ panel he contributed insightful comments on the future of blending digital which physical experienced when grocery shopping alongside eminent panelisits including Albinder Dhinsa, Founder of Grofers, Arvind Varchaswi, Managing Director of Sri Sri Tattva, Sudhir Sitapati, Executive Director of Food and Refreshments HUL, Samir Modi, Vice Chair of Modi Enterprises, and Sadashiv Nayak, CEO of FutureRetail.

Co-Founder of Matugga Rum, Jacine Rutasikwa, at the UKIBC stall

The day didn’t end with the closing of the floor however. That evening we all came back together for the Coca Cola Golden Spoon Awards night – a more relaxed occasion celebrating food and drink success in India. Ian was kindly invited to present the award for the ‘Best Food Start-up of the Year’ Awards which went to Poshn, The Mumum Company, and the Good Life Company.

So far the reception has been extremely positive to say the least – there is clearly a lot of interest in UK food and drink. The Department for International Trade have been fantastic support for both UKIBC and the Delegates all throughout this exciting Mission and we are all looking forward to making the most of the last day of the India Food Forum tomorrow.

Day 3

Delegates meet with key Indian Food and Drink Stakeholders

The second, and last, day of the India Food Forum was no less busy than the first.

In a bespoke UKIBC food and drink conclave organised exclusively for our delegates at the fringes of the Forum, we had the chance to talk face-to-face with the Co-Founder of the Forum for Indian Food Importers, Managing Director of the Maharashtra Cooperative Development Corporation, Head of Global Regulation at Marico, and Senior Officials from the Food Safety and Standards Authority.

The breadth of experience and insight around the table enabled our delegates to have excellent in-depth discussions with key people. Consequently good progress was made on ease of doing business issues faced when entering the Indian market, and we secured helpful offers to maintain a long-term dialogue to better resolve food and drink blockages in the future.

Booker Wholesale delegate, Soumen Bose, said:

“the UKIBC conclave with food regulators, industry bodies, and the delegation was helpful both in content and outcome. We definitely have more clarity on some key regulatory markers and markets, and the approach to addressing them both from the industry perspective with officials. I loved the proactive approach and eagerness of the Food Departments to sort out trade and transaction and I look forward to engaging more with the forum.”

Enjoying the KODE kitchen tour

Following the conclave, delegates got the chance to meet with the fabulous team from ‘Nature’s Basket’ including a store tour before enjoying a tailored night, including a kitchen tour, with the Chief from KODE, an impressive freestyle modern bar, who very kindly curated a special menu for our delegates using ingredients from across the world.

Not a bad way to end an incredibly busy day ensuring the voices of UK Food and Drinks companies are heard by key stakeholders in the India market.

Tomorrow we look forward to a full day of pitching and networking the best of British food and drink. Just because the India Food Forum has drawn to a close doesn’t mean this delegation has – far from it!


Day 4

Touring the Delhi Foodhall

With the India Food Forum now over, the pace certainly hasn’t let up. Today was long and productive as we ended the fourth day of the Food and Drink Trade Mission.

Despite first flying from Mumbai to Delhi in the morning, we managed to fit in a jam-packed schedule of market and store tours across the city.

When we got into Delhi, we visited and interacted with premium food and wine stores across the Delhi Foodhall including Le Marche, Modern Bazaar, Madira – The Liquor Boutique, and 24seven covering everything from fresh produce to alcoholic beverages.

After a full day of networking, showcasing, discussing opportunities and barriers, and just getting to experience the Indian food and drink market first-hand outside the forum floor, UKIBC Managing Director, Richard McCallum, joined the delegates for an informal dinner at fusion Indian restaurant, Farzi Café.

Unfortunately tomorrow will be the last day of the Trade Mission here in India, but it is becoming very clear that this is the start of something much bigger for many of our Delegates.


Day 5

Delegates meeting with Invest India

Day five and the final full day of our incredible Trade Mission that has taken us from the India Food Forum in Mumbai, to innovative shops in Delhi, and round the table with stakeholder’s key to opening food and drink business between the UK and India.

Today was all about forging and strengthening those links with key stakeholders. Meeting the senior team from the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India, our delegation was joined for an impactful meeting also attended by Invest India and UKIBC’s Strategic Partners, Diageo.

This was a fantastic opportunity to create much needed links with regulators and investors alike. These institutions are keen to see high-quality, world-renowned UK food and drink on the shelves and available to Indian consumers just as we were.

This meant discussions were from the off positive, constructive, and looking to maximise opportunity whilst minimising barriers. Invest India outlined how they could support UK businesses entering and operating in India in navigating the regulatory landscape whilst the FSAR team from YES Bank joined Delegates to ensure support was at hand in managing investment and finance.

The food and drinks trade between the UK and India is currently under-developed, and meeting with key government, industry, and financial stakeholders such as these are vital to ensuring ease of doing business reform is targeted and useful to both sides.

Just as important as forging links with Indian authorities and stakeholders, are strengthening our links with UK High Commission and Department for International Trade (DIT) colleagues already at work on the ground in India, and to whom we are very thankful for all the support have they provided our delegation.

Ian Wright addresses the UKIBC Reception

As such we found ourselves bringing our Mission to a close at a UKIBC lawn reception with UK Director of Trade & Innovation for South Asia, Rhiannon Harris, as well as 70 other people from the world of importing, retail, service provision, and hospitality who came to interact specially with the delegation.

At the reception, attendees were treated to a minute-long elevated pitch by all the delegates followed by some fine select samples courtesy of our Matugga Rum, Greene King, and Worsley Gin delegates.

With that, brought the end of the UKIBC Food and Drink Trade Mission, but hopefully the start of new opportunity for our delegates and any UK food and drink company looking to follow in their steps.


For more details about the Trade Mission and how to engage with UKIBC’s work supporting food and drink success, email our dedicated Food and Drink Specialist, Mita Chopra, at

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