Wednesday, 13 April 2011
Two German food related companies came over to London for meetings with UK companies in and around the International Food and Drink Exhibition IFE. “Der Pommeraner” is a family run business specialising in speciality and regional sausages and meats, whilst “Von Blythen” provided lifestyle products using flowers and flower products in food.
The benefits of arranging meetings around the IFE was that in addition to the planned contacts, the companies could gain an immediate snapshot of the food world within a UK perspective. There where a multitude of products on display, numerous suppliers exhibiting, and you could get a good idea of what was happening in food trends.
What's more, Central London was but a tube ride away from Excel. Two further articles will describe the individual experiences of the companies in more detail, see the links at the bottom of this post.
Dana and Sandy Reggentin-Hassenstein (Account Manager and CEO respectively for der Pommeraner) and Martina Kabitzsch (Owner Manager, von Blythen) arrived together at Gatwick where they were collected by Mark Dodsworth (Europartnerships) and driven to London. I joined them at the IFE at Excel.
The meeting point and haven of tranquillity was the German Pavillion who kindly allowed us to use their facilities when not travelling around, and looked after us very well.
Together, we had three days of meetings, highs and lows, miles of walking and innumerable trips about London.
There were perhaps two items of note in addition to business. The first was the hotel. We had looked for a more economical option and found it in Notting Hill. The exterior looked extremely promising, sitting within a lovely columned Georgian terrace, however, the rooms can only described as “quality commensurate with the cost”.
There were two key features to my room. First, the handle to the bathroom door was apt to come off in my hands. Second, the window did not face outwards, but across towards the window of the neighbouring room. Since that was occupied by a bevy of attractive young Spanish ladies on the first night, this could have given me a delightful free evening's entertainment.
However, I felt duty bound to let them know and warn them to draw their curtains. My tact and restraint was rewarded by by being awakened by their noisy preparations for departure at 4am the next morning.
As a group we had taken one look at the “breakfast room”, laughed ourselves silly and agreed to eat out at a nearby breakfast bar.
The evenings were a much more positive and entirely different kettle of fish. The first night we met up with a Belgian delegation in a Lebanese restaurant for an excellent meal and conversation.
The second night was in a little gem of a pub that Europartnerships had used before, the Victoria in Bayswater. The initial stumbling block was gaining a free table, but once achieved, we had a pleasant evening in a Victorian setting, with apparent links to Churchill, Dickens and Charlie Chaplin!
The third night, we were invited by Martin Straus (Wine Trainers) and Michael Sweetmann (Hospitality and Cocktail expert) to dine at the Institute of Directors club. Martin ensured that we walked off a considerable number of calories through Pall Mall getting there, presumably to justify the excellent meal in relaxing club surroundings that evening!
Each company achieved at least one success as part of the visit to London and the IFE. Read more about the individual companies and their experience here:
Part of the VHP Lebensmittelwirtschaft 2010
Supported by the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology
Project Management by Europartnerships Ltd
in cooperation with Milton Contact Ltd (UK)
And Come Across (DE)