Stormy weather forecast for exports

Related tags International trade Export

UK food exporters face tough challenges in the next year as markets that previously offered promise become more self-sufficient, Charles Woolley, md of poultry, red meat and vegetables supplier Rectory Food Group, has warned.

In particular, Russia, which historically has been a major poultry meat importer, intends to be self-sufficient in poultry by 2013 and trade representatives from the country claim this could be achieved earlier.

"Anybody exporting poultry product to Russia is going to find it hard,"​ said Woolley. "Things like that are going to affect the world market."​ That was despite a rise of 11.4% in UK food and drink exports overall in 2010 to £10.8bn, according to the Food and Drink Federation.

And while China was a major target for exporters now, it was already "ratcheting up production"​ for indigenous consumers, restricting trade in the future, he added.

Currency fluctuations would continue to dog exporters, too. "One of the biggest issues on the imported side is how the pound versus euro is affecting exports,"​ said Woolley. "UK prices for exported products are really high."

Rectory Foods, which relocated to Manchester last year, has diversified into ingredients in the past two and a half years to balance trade in poultry and red meat. It had seen strong growth in the fledgling business, which already represented 15-20% of sales, with poultry still generating the bulk of turnover, said Woolley.

"We are selling to large, blue-chip customers and have made great strides." ​There were "great growth opportunities"​ in garlic and general vegetable sourcing, he said.

Related topics Meat, poultry & seafood

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