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Simon Atkinson

Deputy Head of Mission, Cape Town

Part of UK in South Africa

30th July 2013 Cape Town, South Africa

Food is GREAT Britain in South Africa

David Edmondson works at the British Consulate General Cape Town building commercial relationships in The Cape and supporting UK companies across South Africa in the Food and Drink, Agribusiness, Tourism and Leisure and Marine sectors. His colleagues in Cape Town focus on the Design and Creative sectors and they are part of a large UK Trade & Investment team based in Johannesburg.

Last Friday one lucky lady went to dinner at the Test Kitchen with three guests. The Test Kitchen is one of the best restaurants in South Africa and it’s run by British chef Luke Dale Roberts. The lady in question was the winner of the prize draw at our Food is GREAT Britain stand at the Good Food and Wine Show in Cape Town.

This marks the end of the public part of the Food is GREAT Britain campaign that started with Chris Trott and me hosting journalists for dinner during the Cape Town GREAT week in February (around the opening of Parliament). The centrepiece of the campaign was our stand at the Good Food and Wine Show in May at which we showcased modern British food and drink.

Our Winner Sian with Chef Luke Dale-Roberts
Our Winner Sian with Chef Luke Dale-Roberts

We had beautiful whisky and food pairings, delicious curries (Britain’s favourite food), gluten-free cakes and muffins that taste just like the original and some excellent beers. Britain also produces innovative packaging so we had some of that on the stand too.

The aim of the campaign was to change perceptions of British food. Gordon Ramsay had his photo taken on the stand in the midst of a public scrum but it was great publicity. Luke’s Eton Mess was the backdrop and the food journalists came along to try the goodies.

The strap line was a bit provocative and we received many questions on why “Food is GREAT Britain” in South Africa but a good proportion of the 50,000 visitors who saw our stand at the entrance will have gone away thinking differently about the UK food offer.

The next stage is to ensure commercial success follows and we’re doing well. The gluten-free company has not only found a retailer that wants the product but that retailer has now asked us to source more health foods from the UK. The beers were so good that the Cape Town beer festival has asked us to find companies to come out in November and another retailer may host a British Beer section.

We continue to look for innovative UK products to bring to South Africa so if you would like more information on food and agritech opportunities here, including the upcoming beer festival, please email me at

2 comments on “Food is GREAT Britain in South Africa

  1. I am so much excited with your blog ‘Food is GREAT Britain’. I wish I was at the festival.

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About Simon Atkinson

Simon Atkinson was born and spent the first 9 years of his life in New Zealand, before his family moved to the less leafy suburbs of Wallington, South London. After…

Simon Atkinson was born and spent the first 9 years of his life in New Zealand, before his family moved to the less leafy suburbs of Wallington, South London. After university at Leeds and 4 years teaching English and working for NGOs in Europe and South America, Simon joined the UK Foreign Office. His first overseas posting was in India, where he was a political officer covering issues like counter-proliferation and the relationship between India and its neighbours. He was also the Commonwealth Games Attaché during Delhi’s 2010 Games.

Cape Town is his second and current posting. His role here is dual hatted – as Deputy Consul General, he supports the Consul General manage the office, and as the Head of the Political Team, he covers the whole gambit of South African policy (though being based in Cape Town means this is heavily focused on domestic policies and Parliament).

Simon is married to Gina, who also works for the Foreign Office. They enjoy being in South Africa, as both a fascinating country to cover politically and wonderful place to live, allowing them to pursue their passion for the outdoors and perfect their ability to ‘braai’ (not that they’re under any illusion about how often they’ll get to demonstrate this skill once they return to the UK)!