A group of West Midland food and drink companies are hoping to take a bite into the Polish market, after starring at a food extravaganza in the Eastern European country organised by UK Trade & Investment.

Fifteen high-end food companies – including ten from the region – took part in the two-day “Taste of Britain in Poland 2008” exhibition, to show off the best of local food products to the Polish.

UKTI organised the event to showcase their products to more than 30 leading Polish buyers, importers, distributors and trade press. It was jointly funded by UKTI and Advantage West Midlands’ food and drink cluster.

Commercial officers from the British Embassy in Warsaw, as well as advisers specialising in food and drink from the West Midlands, were on hand to help the delegates, and all the companies were featured in a catalogue specially designed for the buyers.

The organisers also arranged for the company representatives to visit leading supermarkets and delicatessens, to improve their understanding of the market before embarking on their meetings with buyers.

The ten West Midlands firms that took part were:

* Beacon Confectionery, of Bedworth, which markets chocolate assortments, bars and novelties;

* Central Supplies, of Brierley Hill, which is a chilled food wholesaler to the catering and retail trades;

* Chase Distillery, of Hereford, which is the first and only company to produce an English potato vodka;

* Cornpoppers, of Wednesbury, which produces various flavours of popcorn;

* Frank’s Luxury Biscuits, of Hereford, which is a family-run bakery that provides an international delivery service of biscuits and cakes;

* Oakland International, of Redditch, which is a multi-temperature supply chain solutions provider;

* Red Mill Snack Foods, of Wednesbury, which manufactures crisps, fried snacks and pork scratchings;

* Sai Products, of Sparkhill, Birmingham, which produces traditional Indian food such as poppadums, savoury snacks, nuts, chutneys, sweets and ready meals;

* Westons Cider and Perry, of Ledbury, which has produced cider and perry in Much Marcle for more than 125 years;

* Yearsley Group, of Coleshill, which provides a complete frozen food service for retail and food service customers.

Mark Wrathall, of Frank’s Luxury Biscuits, said: “As well as being a cost-effective way to check out a foreign market, both with the store visits and the actual exhibition, it is also a good way of networking with like-minded individuals and companies. I would definitely recommend it as an initial means to export.”

UKTI’s regional international trade adviser for food and drink, Helen Bethell, based at Herefordshire and Worcestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “The event was a great success, with excellent feedback from the companies on the quality of the meetings. They all had serious inquiries, which are expected to lead to firm orders.”