The programme, established by the Department for International Trade (DIT) in partnership with the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board and the National Farmers Union, will meet experienced exporters with businesses which are looking to export for the first time. The strategy is part of the DIT’s approach to boost agriculture exports to new markets: approximately 97% of their food and beverage sector is made up SMEs, but just 1 in 5 of food and drink businesses export.
The government hopes new post-Brexit trade prices will help decrease tariffs, encourage occupations and open doors to new markets. Devon cheesemaker Quicke’s is one case of a company taking advantage of the US’s decision to suspend 25% tariffs on British cheese and will be sharing its exporting hints as part of the mentor scheme.
The UK has recently signed agreements with Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein and is seeking ambitious deals with the US and New Zealand. The DIT added that a UK–Australia trade deal, expected to be agreed later this month, might have substantial tariff-free benefits for British food and beverage products. DIT said it’s secured trade agreements covering 67 countries and the EU, worth #891bn of trade in 2019.
“There is global demand for British agriculture, food and drink businesses, with the UK exporting #21.7 billion worth of food and drink in 2020,” a DIT statement said. “By 2030, two-thirds of the world’s middle classes will be in Asia, creating new export opportunities for British produce.”
Secretary of State for International Trade Liz Truss stated: “We’re seizing new opportunities around the world as an independent trading nation in huge markets such as Australia while paving the way to prosperity across the UK.”
Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart, included: “Businesses which export are more innovative, more productive and pay higher wages.”
The British invasion
Ian Hills of Purple Pilchard, a marketing agency that specialises in championing break-out food and drink brands, believes UK companies have never had a greater chance to talk about their own artisanal flair and enviable product quality overseas.
“A number of my clients have had real success with exports to the UAE and China,” he said.
Established firms like health-minded beverage maker Coldpress Juices, plantain crisp company We Love Purely, bar bite company Made for Drink, meal replacement solution Purition and biscuit maker Great British Biscotti have all “already made export a significant slice of their turnover pie”, he explained.
Meanwhile, fledgling start-ups like the snack firms Plant Pops, Popcorn Kitchen and Simply Seedz are “quickly learning just how highly British food and drink brands are admired in terms of cult appeal, ingredient integrity and ahead-of-the-curve innovation.”
Rich cultural legacy
Overseas consumers are drawn to both the legacy and’hip’ factor of British companies, said Paul Abley, International Innovation & Delivery Manager at Department for International Trade.
While whiskey and cheeses offer a herita