Food and drink exports forum targets £2.9bn boost

By Michael Stones contact

- Last updated on GMT

Food and drink exports are set for £2.9bn boost, according to the government's action plan
Food and drink exports are set for £2.9bn boost, according to the government's action plan
Premier Foods and Walkers Shortbread are joining a range of food and drink manufacturers at a meeting today (December 14) organised by the Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) designed to help add nearly £3bn to the sector’s export sales.

Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Andrea Leadsom will brief the FDEA’s annual Network Forum on the government’s plans to boost food and drink exports after Brexit. The government’s International Action Plan for Food and Drink is designed to boost the sector’s exports by £2.9bn.

The FDEA has urged the government to offer reassurance about the help it will offer manufacturers trying to grow exports before and after the UK leaves the EU.

‘Food exporters a short term boost’

FDEA director Elsa Fairbanks said: “Brexit has given food exporters a short-term boost due to the falling value of the pound. However, a recent FDEA survey showed our members are concerned that on-going economic uncertainty in the run-up to Brexit and further currency movements will make exporting more challenging.

“There are also questions around the government’s understanding of the complexities of food and drink exporting and how this will be managed if freedom of movement across the EU is not guaranteed in the sector’s biggest markets.”

The FDEA urged exporters to build strong relationships with existing and potential customers before Britain quit the EU and to explore new markets global markets.

Global markets

Other food and drink manufacturers attending the today’s meeting included: Daioni, Clipper Tea and Propercorn.

Meanwhile, UK food and non alcoholic drink exports to non EU destinations climbed by 19.2% to about £1bn​ in the third quarter of this year compared with the same period of 2015, according to an FDEA report last month.

But EU countries remained the major export markets for UK food and drink manufacturers.

Overall, food and non drink exports grew by 12.1% to £3.4bn in the third quarter of the year. Total year-­to-­date exports rose by 10.2% to £10.1bn in comparison with the same period of last year.

Food and Drink Exporters Association – key advice

“Our key piece of advice to exporters is to use the time in the run-up to leaving the EU to build strong relationships with existing and potential customers and to explore new markets around the world. Researching markets and cementing relationships now, will be key to securing future export business.”

  • FDEA director Elsa Fairbanks

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