The Food & Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) is calling for a national export strategy to help UK food producers take advantage of emerging foreign markets.
The organisation says industry must synchronise its efforts with government in order to take advantage of increasingly lucrative export markets such as India and China.
“There is a real global appetite for British food and drink, however, after a surge in the first six months of 2009, exports are now slowing down,” says John Whitehead, director of the FDEA. “This shows that we can’t be complacent and exporters need support to take advantage of current strong trading conditions and significant opportunities. It therefore seems short-sighted that there is no national export strategy for one the most successful manufacturing sectors.”
He said that international trade shows highlight that there is a demand for British goods overseas but a lack of national resource, compared with other countries, means companies cannot take advantage.
“We are therefore calling for more food and drink producers to join forces with the FDEA now so we can help to secure a long-term national export strategy to the benefit of all,” he adds. “It is essential that the industry has a strong collective voice and leads the way in encouraging this, or the future government, to make it a priority.”
The UK food and drink industry is the biggest manufacturing sub sector in the UK, accounting for 14 per cent of the total industry. In the first half of last year, total exports exports were worth £6.77bn and were 7.8% up on the same period in 2008.