The first of three instalments from Proper Cornish’s marketing director, as he travels to Shanghai on a bakery mission – to meet distributors, buyers and agencies.

“I’m delighted to have been selected by Santander to visit China on one of its trade missions and, as you read this, I’ll be flying out to Shanghai to see if I can tempt the oriental market with a taste of Cornish charm.

“Based in Bodmin, Proper Cornish incorporates Cornish artisan biscuit manufacturer Furniss, which will be the core product focus during the trip to Shanghai.

“With a strong UK presence and regional heritage, export is a key growth area for the business, and the China mission presents a unique opportunity to meet influential distributors, retailers and decision-makers. 

“Furniss biscuits already have good distribution in Australia and New Zealand, so China is a natural progression, as the world’s second-largest economy, and a huge and expanding market for UK businesses.

“So, I’m thrilled to be flying the ‘Made in Britain’ flag, and meeting potential new customers in person. Our time in Shanghai will be spent meeting influential distributors, retailers and decision-makers. The main focus will be on promoting the biscuits, after finding out through focus groups that they are very popular with Chinese consumers - in particular the Clotted Cream Shortbreads, due to their creamy, rich flavour. 

“China’s biscuit market is performing well, and there is a strong appetite for quality, authentic products amongst a growing number of middle-income consumers.

“Entering a new country is always challenging, particularly with language barriers and a complex business structure, and Santander has been incredibly helpful in offering first-hand advice on the market and trends, as well as arranging business meetings on our behalf.

“Wish me luck, and watch this space for the next instalment of my east meets west biscuit expedition.”