Export action plan brings boost to 1,000 UK food and drink firms

An export action plan has been launched which aims to deliver a £500m boost to the UK economy

Jeff Wilson with Nagma Ebanks-Benni and Nima Benni
Jeff Wilson with Nagma Ebanks-Benni and Nima Benni

An export action plan has been launched which aims to deliver a £500m boost to the UK economy.

Around 1,000 British food and drink firms will benefit from the Food and Drink International Action Plan, constructed by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), as part of the Government’s overall ambition to raise UK exports to £1 trillion and to get 100,000 more UK companies exporting.

Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector with a turnover of more than £90bn and the industry employs up to 400,000 workers – 15% of the overall manufacturing workforce – but the action plan could see this grow substantially, forming part of the Government’s ambition to raise UK exports to £1 trillion and get 100,000 more companies selling overseas.

Environment Secretary Owen Paterson set the plan in motion last night at Anuga, the world’s leading fair for food and drink in Cologne, Germany, where the UKTI have travelled with eight North East SMEs seeking to penetrate new markets.

The event also saw the simultaneous launch of food as one of the marketing pillars, for the GREAT campaign, which showcases the very best of what Britain has to offer in order to encourage the world to visit, study and do business here.

Through the GREAT campaign UKTI will deliver a two-year programme of activity showcasing the British food and drink industry to markets including Vietnam, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, South Korea, Hong Kong and Macao, China, USA and Europe.

Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson said: “Brand Britain is recognised and revered internationally. The Food and Drink Exports Action Plan and the launch of ‘Food is GREAT’ are important, as they will give quality British produce an even higher profile, boost our economy and create jobs. There are huge opportunities for British food companies to export all over the world and I’m determined to help our firms exploit them.”

Jeff Bean, UKTI’s Specialist International Trade Adviser for the food and drink sector in the North East, is leading the North East delegation of firms.

Also among the exhibitors at this year’s event is Seaham-based Prima Cheese, which supplies cheese to pizza manufacturers and assorted baked goods, which won last year’s North East Exporters Awards. The firm has now extended into the Far East in a bold move that has boosted its revenue to £25m.

Bean said: “Prima Cheese is just one of many companies that have already reaped the rewards of going global and Anuga is the ideal venue for them.

“Previous trips have proved a great success and help pave the way for export growth.’’

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