British Food is Great at Foodex 2016

Find out about the British companies exhibiting at Foodex 2016 and see if you could be doing business in Japan. 

Successful Showcase for UK Companies at Foodex Japan 2016

British food is going from strength to strength in Japan, throwing off the long-held perception that it is unappetising and tasteless.

There was double the number of UK companies present at Foodex 2016 as compared with the 2015 exhibition.

Japanese consumers are known to favour products that are ‘Made in Britain,’ that are beautifully packaged, and that are heritage products, ones that have a story behind them. 

Churchill’s Confectionery returned to the exhibition with their range of iconic, beautifully embossed gift tins containing confectionary and shortbread. The Silver Crane Company was also present with their offerings of gift tins.

Other companies exhibiting this year included Avlaki Superb Organic Olive Oils, Champion and Reeves premium confectionery, Snowdonia Cheese, Camellia’s Tea House, Williamson Teas, Keith Spicer Ltd and English Tea Shop.

British cakes were well represented by Fairman Trading, who produce traditional fruit cakes in vacuum-packed tins to extend their shelf life without the use of preservatives. 

Jam maker SuperJam also attended the exhibition, as did Christie International, and AHDB Exports.

UK Companies at Different Stages of Market Entry can Benefit from Trade Shows

First-time exhibitors Avlaki revealed that they wanted to come to Japan because of the preference here for high-quality products. “Having products that meet British quality control is very important in Japan, and we oversee all aspects of the production process.” Deborah MacMillan and Natalie Wheen strongly believe that there is a market in Japan for their organic olive oils.

Fraser Doherty, President of SuperJam, hopes to find an importer or distributor at the event. Having started the business from his grandmother’s kitchen at just 14 years of age, he believes his brand story is a perfect fit for the Japanese market.

It is the fourth time family business Churchill’s Confectionery has attended the event. Export Sales Manager Laurence Montrognon reveals that the gift-giving (omiyage) culture in Japan is a perfect match for their products. Our strengths in Japan relate to the gift sector and seasonal buying. “At Churchill’s we love the kawaii culture in Japan, and we also like the way they work with customers,” she said. In addition to Foodex, Churchill’s participates in Mitsukoshi’s (Japan’s oldest department store) British Fair every September.

Meeting the Right People is Key to Doing Business in Japan

Foodex Japan is Asia’s biggest food and drink exhibition. It is one of the best annual opportunities for companies to introduce food and drink products to Japanese buyers and distributors, and to foster relationships with key industry contacts.

The UK pavilion was supported by UKTI Japan and the Food & Drink Exporters Association, and organised by exhibition and event management specialists PS8.

HM Ambassador to Japan Tim Hitchens attended the event and spoke to the exhibitors about their products and exporting goals.

In addition to food and beverages being showcased, chefs from the British Embassy in Tokyo gave cooking demonstrations of recipes using excellent British ingredients during the event.

Japanese fan favourite Shaun the Sheep also showed up to promote the very best of British creativity.  

The separate Scottish pavilion included companies such as Plan Bee honey, Tunnock’s cakes and biscuits, Craft Beer Clan of Scotland, Dean’s of Huntley shortbread, and Chocolate and Love premium chocolates.

The event was held at the Makuhari Messe exhibition hall from 8-11 March, and attracted some 75,000 visitors.

List of Exhibitors

UK Pavilion

Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board

Avlaki Superb Organic Olive Oils

Camellia's Tea House

Champion & Reeves

Christie International

Churchills's Confectioanry

English Tea Shop

Fairman Trading

Keith Spicer

Snowdonia Cheese


The Silver Crane Company

Food & Drink Exporters Association

Williamson Teas

Scottish Pavilion

Chocolate & Love

Craft Beer Clan of Scotland

Hebridean Smokehouse

Mackie's of Taypack

Plan Bee


Article by Vanessa Holden, May 2016.