UK government launches food and drink export plan to boost economy by €3.5bn

By Will Chu

- Last updated on GMT

As well as export efforts to sell more overseas, business support will be provided through mentoring and training initiaitves to give new companies the skills to start exporting.©iStock
As well as export efforts to sell more overseas, business support will be provided through mentoring and training initiaitves to give new companies the skills to start exporting.©iStock

Related tags: International trade

A governmental strategy to encourage companies to export UK food and drink products worldwide could give the British economy a much-needed boost of almost €3.5bn.

Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom revealed details of a five-year plan and its steps designed to aid trade in nine main markets. These markets are spread across 18 countries and include Australia, New Zealand and Japan.

The steps include allocating an additional €208m in British exports that include tea, jam and biscuits to Japan.

An additional €329m has been set aside in exporting goods to Australia and New Zealand, where British-brewed beer and cider is proving popular.

The Latin American territory is also within the scope of these plans as a €242m cash boost has been approved with the intention of showcasing British products, such as whisky and gin.

Salmon and cheese

smoked salmon co HandmadePictures
Scottish salmon has a enviable repuatation worldwide thanks in part to promotional activities set up by the Scottsih government. ©iStock/HandMadePictures

Presenting at the world’s largest food trade fair SIAL in Paris last week, the environment secretary said: “With over €11bn worth of food and drink sold overseas in the last seven months and exports up almost 6% compared to 2015, there is no doubt we are open for business and ready to trade.”

“Our food and drink is renowned for having the very best standards of animal welfare, quality and safety. Scottish salmon, Welsh beef, Northern Irish whiskey and English cheese are already well-known globally and I want us to build on this success.”

In addition industry groups, trade associations and food and drink companies were consulted during the formation of this plan.

Specifically, the plan aims to generate an additional €3.5bn in ‘export wins’ across the nine priority markets in the next five years.

‘Export wins’ are new exports that would have been unlikely to have occurred without government support.

Securing market access

sheep lamb
Access to prominent markets will be included in the plan notably lamb and beef to the USA. ©iStock/

Additional markets included in the trade plan include India, USA and Canada, China and the Gulf. The objective here is to improve access to the markets notably for beef and poultry to Japan, lamb and beef to the USA and pork to China.

“We are supporting the government’s export drive with an ambition to grow branded food and drink exports by a third by 2020 to €6.7bn,”​ said Ian Wright, director general of trade group Food and Drink Federation.

“Export growth is hugely important to our sector,”​ he continued. “We hope that the International Action Plan for Food and Drink will open more channels and provide direct support to new and existing food and drink exporters.”

The International Action Plan for Food and Drink is the result of a collaboration between the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department for International Trade.

It closely follows another government initiative that was established in January this year to also support UK food exports industry growth plans.

The launch of the new Great British Food Campaign intends to further boost exports and support British companies such as Taylors of Harrogate and Mr Kipling to the tune of €6.7bn by 2020.

Job creation is also highlighted with export overseas potentially generating an additional 5,000 jobs in food and drink manufacturing.

"Soil Association Certification is one of 18 key food trade organisations who have contributed to the draft report, which acknowledges the significant role trade organisations will play in shaping the governments ambition,"​ said Lee Holdstock, trade relations manager at Soil Association Certification. 

"Many of the markets DEFRA and DIT have specifically focused on showing strong growth in organic," ​he added. "The report recognises the UK’s world leading standards of animal welfare, traceability and sustainability as key to increase overseas demand for UK food." 

More information as to how UK businesses can apply for real-time global export opportunities, access expert advice, trade services, training and events can be found here​.

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