UK food industry calls for more export support to continue success

In the first half of 2018 food and drink exports hit a record £10.7bn, this figure up 5% for the same period last year. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has called for more export support in order to continue this success.

UK food and drink businesses now export their products to over 200 global markets - image courtesy of Depositphotos.
UK food and drink businesses now export their products to over 200 global markets – image courtesy of Depositphotos.

According to the British government, in the first six months of the year, 64 million litres of ice cream and more than 500 tonnes of strawberries were shipped to foreign shores, with UK food and drink businesses now exporting their products to over 200 global markets.

However, exports to EU countries grew at a significantly faster rate (7.3%) than those to non-EU countries (1.6%).

The FDF’s call for action follows the successful first six months of the year for food and drink exports, the recent publication of the government’s export strategy, and FDF’s analysis comparing UK food and drink sales to international markets.

FDF has submitted a detailed sector deal proposal for the food and drink industry which includes proposals to boost specialist export support, including increased access to market research, specialists, and the development of an online food and drink export portal.

Food and drink export figures (via FDF)

 
H1 2017 H1 2018 Change
All Food and drink £10.16bn £10.68bn 5.1%
EU £6.25bn £6.71bn 7.3%
Non-EU £3.90bn £3.96bn 1.6%
 
 Top 10 products Change
  H1 2018 Value % Value % Volume
Whisky £2010.6m £191.3m 10.5% 4.9%
Chocolate £340.0m £41.1m 13.8% 13.3%
Cheese £322.1m £34.2m 11.9% 16.7%
Salmon £312.3m -£95.1m -23.3% -23.9%
Wine £306.8m £31.9m 11.6% 33.6%
Beef £268.7m £39.6m 17.3% 9.7%
Gin £280.4m £45.3m 19.3% 12.5%
Breakfast cereals £241.4m £46.0m 23.5% 22.7%
Beer £235.3m -£25.6m -9.8% -11.4%
Pork £220.6m -£4.9m -2.2% -0.3%

Top 10 product: salmon

Scottish salmon is cured fro 24 hours in the smokehouse.
Scottish salmon is cured for 24 hours in the salmon smokehouse – image courtesy of The Manufacturer.

H.Forman & Son produces artisan smoked salmon for top chefs across the world from London’s east end.

The business, which is over a century old, produces quality PGI protected – Protected Geographical Indication, this safeguards regional foods that have a specific quality or reputation – smoked salmon through its traditional smokehouse processes.

These include hand-filleting, curing, smoking, boning and packaging of salmon for many different customers across international markets.

CEO, Lance Forman, sat down with The Manufacturer in Stratford, and said: “We are the oldest producer of smoked salmon in the world. We bring in two to three tonnes of salmon from Scotland everyday.”

He added: “We export all over the globe and we have for 50-60 years, our biggest market is traditionally and still is the US. Now we are exporting more to China – I believe that will be a huge opportunity for us, and also luxury resorts in Mauritius and Barbados. There is a lot of opportunity.”

Top 10 product: gin

G&J Distillers produce around 250,000 bottles of spirits everyday and export to over 100 different countries across the globe.
G&J Distillers produce around 250,000 bottles of spirits everyday and export to over 100 different countries across the globe – image courtesy of G&J Distillers.

Last year in Britain, 47 million bottles of gin were served up. Worth £1.2bn, this amount of alcohol is enough to produce 1.32 billion gin and tonics, according to the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).

Joanne Moore, master distiller at G&J Distillers based in Cheshire, north west England spoke to The Manufacturer.

She said: “The International Wines and Spirits Record (IWSR) data suggests traditional gin will grow by around 5% and flavoured gins will grow by 3% over the next five years.”

G&J Distillers produce around 250,000 bottles of spirits everyday and export to over 100 different countries across the globe. Moore said there is many opportunities in international markets including Australia, Germany and South America.

She concluded: “The gin world has exploded in the last five to six years and it is going to continue to do that. Total spirits are growing, but what is driving that is gin.”