The UK government today (18 October) set out its bid to increase the value of the country’s food and drink exports by GBP2.9bn, with plans to target a select group of markets.

Five-year “campaigns”, which will involve ministerial visits, meet-the-buyer events and working with manufacturers exhibiting at trade shows,  will be run in what the UK deems “priority markets”, including India, China, France and Germany.

The Great British Food Unit, set up by the UK government last year in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, has developed nine campaigns covering the 18 markets, which it says are “large existing markets and markets with significant growth potential”.

Other countries on the target list include the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, as well as Latin America and the Gulf.

“Helping current exporters sell even more to a broader range of markets is a priority for this Government. We will do this by running five-year campaigns in priority markets to increase demand for UK products, with the target of raising the value of UK exports by an additional GBP2.9bn,” the UK government announced. In 2015, the value of UK food and drink exports reached GBP18.1bn.

In a joint foreword to the “action plan”, Andrea Leadsom, the UK Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Dame Fiona Kendrick, who is the chairman and CEO of Nestle’s businesses in the UK and Ireland and president of UK trade association the Food and Drink Federation, said the Government and industry would “work together in partnership to deliver this boost in exports”.

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“We will continue to raise the profile of our world-class food industry and build our image as a great food nation. We will forge the strongest economic links with our European neighbours, as well as our close friends in North America,
the Commonwealth and other partners around the world,” they said.

“We need both first time and existing exporters to grasp the opportunity to increase our exports and build upon our reputation as a top-class producer of food and drink. We already have many export success stories. We can become even more successful if we keep up the great work that’s being done to get British food on retailer shelves across the world.”