Food export plan to boost economy by £2.9bn

New food export plans could boost the economy by £2.9bn

New government plans to boost food and drink exports could contribute £2.9bn to the UK economy, claimed environment secretary Andrea Leadsom.

Speaking at the SIAL food and drink fair in Paris yesterday (October 18), Leadsom gave details of the government’s International Action Plan for Food and Drink to boost food and drink exports over the next five years.

The plan identified nine markets across 18 countries which offered the best potential for growth. The most promising markets were: An extra £185M from Japan, £293M from Australia and New Zealand and £215M from Mexico and Latin America.

Leadsom said that the UK was open for business and ready to trade, citing a rise in exports by almost 6% compared with £10bn over the past seven months.

UK open for business

“Our food and drink is renowned for having the very best standards of animal welfare, quality and safety and I want even more of the world to enjoy what we have to offer,” said the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs boss.

“Scottish salmon, Welsh beef, Northern Irish whiskey and English cheese are already well-known globally and I want us to build on this success by helping even more companies send their top quality food and drink abroad.”

International trade minister Mark Garnier said the government was working hard with UK companies, so they might take advantage of the global demand for British food and drink products.

“Whether it’s helping our businesses to understand target markets, providing access to trade missions or advice on export finance, we are committed to helping budding exporters realise their dreams of building a global business.”

‘Building a global business’

The plan will target additional markets including India, the US and Canada, China and the Gulf. 

Work was planned to secure new access to these countries, including: market access for beef and poultry to Japan, lamb and beef to the US, and pork to China.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) supported the government’s proposed strategy, with plans to help grow food and drink exports by a third by 2020 to £6bn.

FDF boss Ian Wright said: “Export growth is hugely important to our sector. 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.”


Export markets targeted by the International Action Plan for Food and Drink
  • Japan: £185M – tea, jam, biscuits and beef
  • Australia and New Zealand: £293M – beer and cider
  • Mexico and Latin America: £215M – whisky and gin
  • France: £132M – lamb, whisky, beer and seafood
  • US and Canada: £579M – lamb, beef, beer cider and spirits

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