West food and drink producers at world's biggest industry event
Dozens of producers from the Westcountry are to join a UK trade mission this week at the world’s biggest food industry event.
Companies from the region, including Luscombe Drinks from South Devon, Proper Cornish Pasties from Bodmin and Somerdale Cheeses from Wellington, will be at ANUGA, which takes place in Cologne, Germany.
Part of a UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) mission, they will meet a range of buyers and suppliers, and visit a number of local food and drink producers.
UKTI international trade adviser Andrew Fraser, who is leading the South West delegation at ANUGA, said: “Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector with a turnover of over £90 billion.
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“The South West has some of the UK’s best food and drink producers, yet with only 10% of them currently exporting there is huge untapped potential for many others to grow their business overseas.
“In the current economic climate exports can offer significant growth potential. In the last two years, export sales grew by 15%, compared to total food and drink sales growth of only 3%.
“Food and Drink Federation data shows that for businesses that do proactively expand into new markets, exports account for at least 20% of turnover, compared to an average of only 5% or less for those that exported reactively.
“There has never been a better time to export British food products. The UK’s reputation in producing quality, innovative, safe products is known across the globe and as a consequence, UK food and drink exports have grown by 61% over the last five years.”
UKTI has already boosted the overseas ambitions of The Blue Seafood Company which is based in Paignton.
It helped the company to draw down European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funding, and enabled them to open up new export markets for a range of fresh crab and crab meat products. Now, exports make up nearly half of the company’s turnover.
The firm’s sales director David Markham said: “We have really benefited from the help and support we have received from UKTI and would recommend any business thinking of selling abroad to make use of their services.
“With the right support and market intelligence, exporting is never scary and is always a lot of fun, but you do need to market the right product.”
ANUGA coincides with the launch of a new plan to increase the number of UK food and drink products sold internationally with a view to delivering a £500 million boost to the UK economy.
The Food and Drink International Action Plan has been devised jointly between Government and industry, and will assist up to 1,000 UK food and drink companies up until October 2015.
It is part of the Government’s overall ambition to raise UK exports to £1 trillion and to get 100,000 more UK companies exporting.
The plan also sets out specific support for the dairy industry, beer, cider, wine and spirits exports, the meat and seafood industries and UK food brands.
Launching the plan at ANUGA, Environment Secretary Owen Patterson said: “There are huge opportunities for British food companies to export all over the world and I’m determined to help our firms exploit them.
“We’re helping 1000 British firms to increase their international profile and boost the UK economy by £500 million through the Food and Drink Exports Action Plan.”
Lord Green, Trade and Investment Minister, added: “The UK food and drink industry benefits from a productive and skilled workforce and a culture of innovation that continues to drive new product development.
“It is this along with assurances of authenticity, safety and a robust regulatory system that paves the way for huge possibilities within the sector.”