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UK food industry welcomes plans to boost export potential

Source:Food and Drink Federation (UK)     Date:2012-01-13
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LONDON -- Plans to use the UK’s foreign embassies to help promote UK food and drink internationally have been welcomed at the same time as new figures have been released showing exports for the sector have grown by 12.2% compared to the same period last year [1].
Secretary of State for the Environment, Caroline Spelman, announced last week that she will be asking the Foreign Office to follow the German example of using embassies as a base for promoting the country’s products and prospecting for exports. Her announcement has been applauded the by Food and Drink Federation which represents the UK’s food manufacturing industry.
Food and drink has continued to be one of the UK’s export growth sectors, reaching £10 billion for the first time in 2010 and expected to finish close to £12 billion for 2011. Although the EU remains the UK’s biggest export customer, there has been strong growth in many emerging markets such as China, which made the top 20 f&d export destinations for the first time, Saudi Arabia; Hong Kong and South Africa. Strongly performing products included chocolate; breakfast cereals; soft drinks; coffee; soup and confectionery.
Later this month, Defra and the food and drink industry will be unveiling a joint exports strategy which it is hoped will make it easier for companies to break in to new markets by removing some of the bureaucratic barriers.
Terry Jones, director of Communications, said FDF recently unveiled its vision for growing the industry by 20% by 2020 and projects that much of that growth will come from exports and importantly from SMEs exporting. “It also told us that we need to work to accelerate that growth and that we face stiff competition from abroad. We are therefore delighted that the Secretary of State has taken this early action which could contribute to that shared vision for the industry,” he said.
“We recently joined forces with UKTI and the Food and Drink Exporters Association for a trade show in China that generated several hundred business leads for the companies involved and demonstrates the value of a presence in target destinations to make links with important customers. We feel that involving embassies in this way will be a step forward in helping us to be as successful as competitor nations and meet the undeniable global demand for high quality British products,” Mr Jones also said.
[1] Food and drink exports for the nine months Jan – Sept 2011 exceeded exports for the same period in 2010 by 12.2%
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