South West food producers boosted by international trade

Bath businesses like the Fine Cheese Company are hoping to boost their exports

South West food exports made their mark on the international stage last year with food and drink exports totalling £50.4 million.

Coffee, tea, cocoa and spices were the most popular food and drink exports in 2018 with overall exports for the region valued at £823.2 million according to the latest HMRC figures.

Singapore has become a buoyant target market, with 54% more food and drink exported to the country during the period than in 2017. There was also a marked increase in South West produce exported to Australia which saw a 27% increase, alongside China with a 12% increase. 

Many food and drink businesses across the South West have been receiving support on their export journey from Food is GREAT, the cross departmental campaign between the Department for Environment, the Department for Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) to showcase UK food and drink overseas and to support firms to export.

South West food and drink producers, including The Fine Cheese Company based in Bath, were able to showcase their products in the hope of securing further trade deals at the International Food and Drink Event (IFE) at the ExCel in London last month.

Food Minister David Rutley said, “Thanks to our world-renowned reputation for quality, welfare and taste, the UK is a key player on the global food and drink stage, exporting a record £22.5 billion of food and drink in 2018. 

“It is fantastic to see producers in the South West seizing the opportunity to export to markets like Singapore and Australia, flying the flag for high quality British food and drink.”

Paul Shand, DIT’s Head of Trade in the South West, added, “UK food and drink is globally recognised for its quality. International demand for our local produce is soaring, particularly across Australia, Singapore and China, making now the perfect time to export.

“Many South West food and drink producers are beginning to export, breaking into new markets around the world and claiming international renown. We know that firms that export are more resilient, profitable and ultimately more successful. 

“International opportunities are well and truly in reach for ambitious firms. We’ve got a team of dedicated international trade advisers to guide food and drink producers throughout the whole exporting process. I’d encourage businesses looking for support, whether it’s relating to international branding, overseas legislation or forging new international relationships, to get in touch.”

Firms looking for help on their export journey should contact 01275 370 944 or email DITsw@mobile.trade.gov.uk. They can also visit great.gov.uk, which lists a variety of live export opportunities, alongside general exporting and events information.

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