Case study

UKTI helps Suffolk meat processor expand into Hong Kong

TAP grant helps C & K Meats secure export orders worth around £100,000 in Hong Kong following attendance at the HOFEX exhibition.

Kevin Burrows in brand new extended stock holding facilities at C & K Meats
Kevin Burrows in brand new extended stock holding facilities at C & K Meats

Asian consumers are rapidly developing an appetite for westernised food and drink. C & K Meats processes and supplies quality meat products to a range of customers. Assistance from UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) via its Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) has helped the company expand into this growing market.

C & K Meats’ sales in Asia have shown strong growth since attending HOFEX, the largest food and hospitality trade show in the Asia-Pacific region. They now account for a growing percentage of business.

Kevin Burrows, co-founder of C & K Meats, said:

Meeting potential distributors face-to-face was crucial for our expansion as Asian clients are more inclined to buy from people they have met and feel they can build trusted and honest relationships with.

Far East expansion

Kevin Burrows contacted UKTI with a view to expanding into Asia in March 2013. The company was already exporting into Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands. Further overseas expansion would help offset a stagnant home market.

Kevin Burrows said,

“It had become apparent that our quality products would potentially be well received in Asia, but we needed financial assistance and advice to investigate our options further.

Kevin met with UKTI International Trade Adviser (ITA) Stephen Banks.

Arrange a face-to-face meeting with a UKTI trade adviser.

Stephen recommended Kevin sign up for the Passport to Export scheme. This 12 month programme provides support for new or inexperienced exporters to grow their business overseas. It helps with market research and potentially matched funding for trips and tradeshow opportunities.

Kevin Burrows said,

C & K Meats has been helped throughout its international journey by UKTI, not just with financial assistance, but with contacts in foreign embassies, local knowledge experts, training, advice and regular visits from Stephen, who has always been hugely supportive.

UKTI support and planning helps with the detail you don’t know, but also with the obvious things you think you do!

HOFEX

C & K meats secured a Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) grant as a result of its participation in the Passport to Export programme. The matched funding enabled the company to pay for their flights to Hong Kong and exhibit at HOFEX in May 2013.

Stephen Banks said,

This was a wonderful opportunity for C & K Meats to take their quality products to a very wealthy economy where, in 2011, goods worth more than £5 billion were traded from the UK.

As a result of attending HOFEX, C & K Meats has since secured orders worth in the region of £100,000. Their products are now being carried by a number of 5 star hotels, entertainment complexes, airlines and The Hong Kong Club – a prestigious gentleman’s club with a tradition of excellence in food.

Read our Exporting to Hong Kong guide.

Following HOFEX, UKTI arranged for C & K Meats to hold a dinner at the British Consul-General’s private residence in Hong Kong. It was hosted by the Consul-General, Caroline Wilson, and enabled the company to introduce their products to potential customers from the Hong Kong market.

Kevin Borrows said,

At HOFEX and all other trade shows attended by myself, introductions were regularly made by UKTI representatives. They have excellent market intelligence on potential clients and experience of that local marketplace. This was extremely helpful as without these introductions we may never have met these valuable contacts.

Also on return visits after trade shows, UKTI representatives would help set up new meetings with potential customers that we didn’t have the opportunity to engage with during the trade show itself.

New markets

Kevin and Chris Burrows are currently exploring additional foreign markets, including Macau, the USA and the Philippines with continued support from UKTI.

C & K Meats

The company, based in Eye, now employs 100 workers and has a turnover of £18million. It supplies meat products to prestige food service companies, fine dining restaurants, hotels, butchers, wholesalers and farm shops.

Brothers Chris and Kevin Burrows established the business in 1994. The family history within the butchery industry dates back 200 years.

Fast facts

Company: C & K Meats Ltd

Industry: Meat processing and supply of quality meats

Target Market: Far East

UKTI services: Passport to Export, TAP

Website: http://ckgroupltd.com/

Published 8 September 2014