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Export success as global sales of UK food and drink reach record high


Food and drink exports hit record level of £10.6 billion for the first half of 2018 – up by 4% compared to last year. US, China and Hong Kong amongst the top countries importing the best of British.

UK food and drink exports are continuing to smash records, with new figures revealing exports reached £10.6 billion in the first six months of 2018.

Demonstrating a clear global desire for British taste, quality and high standards, UK food and drink businesses are now selling their products to over 200 global markets.

UK seasonal favourites are also in demand abroad – in the first half of the year 64 million litres of ice cream and over 500 tonnes of strawberries were shipped to foreign shores.

Traditional barbeque produce, such as sausages and cuts of beef have risen by 48% and 17% respectively. This is due in part to new meat export markets opening in recent years – and will be bolstered further in the future by the recent announcement that China will lift their BSE ban on British beef, which is estimated to generate £250 million in the first five years alone. Taiwan will also soon be importing UK pork for the first time – worth an estimated £50 million over five years to the UK’s industry.

Iconic British produce such as whisky, worth £2 billion, beer worth £235 million, and smoked salmon worth £308 million are also being snapped up from international supermarket shelves.

Food Minister George Eustice said:

“Consumers across the globe know British produce is delicious. They also know it is high in quality and backed by high standards of animal welfare. This is why we are continuing to see a huge growth in the worldwide demand for the best of what British farmers and food producers have to offer.

“This world-leading industry already boosts our economy by over £110 billion each year, and leaving the EU will give our food and drink producers an unparalleled opportunity to tap into more markets and take advantage of the UK’s position as a truly global nation.”

A team of the Government’s leading trade experts are on hand to provide guidance to UK businesses as they enter into overseas markets for the first time or consider expanding their current global customer base.

This is complemented by the government’s Food is GREAT campaign, which highlights the success of current exporters and showcases the UK’s top quality food and drink.

One ice cream company who has benefitted from this government guidance is Somerset-based firm Granny Gothards, whose range of over 125 flavours includes British inspired tastes such as clotted cream, blackberry and apple, and whisky and marmalade. Established in 2012, the business now exports to Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai and has recently branched out into China.

Founder of the firm Amanda Stansfield said:

“After the success of our ice creams in Dubai it seems an ideal time to now establish our brand in China. Seeking expert advice is key for any business looking to export produce to China.”

“The support from government trade advisers has been vital in navigating this process. Sheffield-based ice cream makers Yee Kwan have also been successful at branching out into exporting. Inspired by the tastes of East Asia – with current flavours including black sesame seed, matcha green tea and chocolate miso – the company exports to 10 European countries via their supply with Wagamama, as well as Kuwait. They will soon be working with a Chinese distributor, with orders expected next year.”

Founder Yee Kwan said:

“After we’d realised the potential to sell our products overseas, we began working with government advisers, who supported us in exhibiting at the International Food & Drink Event in London.”

“We’ve found that there’s loads of support to help us navigate exporting challenges – if we can do it, so can you!”


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