PRODUCERS have been to the USA in a bid to boost their business.

They experienced the US food and drink market first hand on a trade mission to San Francisco organised by the Department for International Trade.

They took part in the city’s Winter Fancy Food Show, joining more than 1,400 exhibitors from around the globe to showcase 80,000 speciality foods and drinks.

Raise Bakery, an artisan baker in Decoy Road, Worthing, made the journey.

It is a family-run bakery specialising in baked goods, sweet treat and desserts.

Its modern style is based on classic British baking techniques with an American influence.

A spokesman said: “We bake cakes for a wide range of customers in the retail, wholesale and airline markets.

“We have proven experience working with many big name brands.

“You may also recognise our product from a past Virgin Atlantic flight.”

Metro Drinks, a soft drinks manufacturer based in Arlington, near Polegate, was also there.

It is an independent speciality drinks business with a portfolio of high-quality soft drinks and mineral water.

A spokesman said: “We supply the whole of the UK and also export our products to Europe and the Far East.

“Our customers choose our products not just because they want a high-quality alternative to some of the mass market brands, but simply because they taste good.”

The four-day trade mission included a market briefing at the British Consulate General in San Francisco and a retail tour around the stores of US supermarket chains Safeway, Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods and Mollie Stone’s.

The businesses also attended seminar sessions which gave them insight into the lucrative but complex US food and drink sector.

They also had meetings with potential trade partners, including retailers and distributors.

Ben Raby, Head of DIT South East, said: “DIT hosts regular trade missions to key overseas markets for companies across a range of sectors as part of our Exporting is Great initiative.

“This is the first time we have taken a delegation to The Winter Fancy Food Show and it proved a fantastic opportunity to connect with buyers from the US and beyond.

“The South East is a hotbed for innovative food and drink manufacturers that have huge potential in international markets.

“The businesses which came on the trade mission are ambitious and keen to export, and this visit has given them a head start on that journey.”