Food & Drink Exports

21st March 2017
Last month it was revealed that the global sales of UK food & drink exceeded £20b for the first time, reaching record high levels. This achievement by British businesses, food and drink producers foretells the Government’s vision for a global Britain outside of the European Union.
As Government departments prepare to engage in trade talks with nations across the world, last year’s exports figures provide positive indicators for the success which awaits one of Britain’s biggest markets in the future. Since 2010 the Government has signed trade deals to open 600 new overseas markets to British food and farm products, nearly three a week. It has helped more UK businesses sell their top quality produce around the world, treble the number of apprenticeships in the food and drink industry and increase the number of Protected Food Names from 64 to 200.
To help turbo-charge British food exports, the Government set up a Great British Food Unit that will bring together experts in exports and investment from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs and across Government to help even more businesses sell their world class produce around the globe. 
Armed with a determination to achieve global status for our high quality British produce, the Government launched the Great British Food campaign in November 2015 bringing together chefs, entrepreneurs and food producers, to promote British food and drink at home and abroad. The five-year campaign marked 2016 as the Year of Great British Food. And last year’s export figures demonstrate that indeed it was.  The campaign has seen British food & drink promoted around the world; from a gin and sparkling wine party in Chicago for the Queen’s 90th birthday, to a food trail coinciding with the 2nd annual Cycle Tour de Yorkshire.
I am proud of our British food producers for raising UK exports by nearly 10 per cent in 2016, with sales growing in a further 9 of the UK’s leading export markets. This upwards trend shows no sign of tiring thanks to our well-established reputation for taste, quality and high animal health and welfare standards.
The Government is determined to do more. Currently only 1 in 5 of British food producers are exporting. Many others need support to join this campaign and help take British food across the world.  And with trade at the heart of its agenda, DEFRA and the Department for International Trade reiterated their global ambitions for British exports by unveiling the International Action Plan for Food and Drink. The Plan provides mentoring and training to give new companies the confidence and skills to realise their full potential and gives business support with the practicalities of selling overseas. 
The commitment to food and drink manufacturing was further demonstrated this month when the Chancellor delivered his first Budget which put productivity and innovation at its centre. I welcome the £500m investment to fund new technical qualifications which will equip a skilled workforce to compete in our food and drink manufacturing industries in a new, global Britain. 
As Britain looks ahead to working with our international partners there has never been a better time to take advantage of Government supported opportunities to grow local businesses and I encourage my constituents to look into these opportunities by visiting;

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