Food and drink exports to become 'engine of growth'

BRITISH food and drink could become an engine for growth for the UK’s economic recovery, claimed Farming Minister Jim Paice, as he announced a Government-backed drive to boost exports to ‘high growth’ markets.

With rapid world population growth and booming consumer demand for western products in high growth economies, he said there were significant opportunities for British producers to increase profits.

He was launching the Farming, Food and Drink Exports Action Plan, which sets out how Government and industry will work together to open up and take advantage of key markets.

It includes plans for a domestic drive to encourage and support manufacturers to succeed overseas, as well as an overseas campaign to champion British food abroad.

Mr Paice said: ³British food is already known the world over for its quality, and with surging world population growth and demand for western products, there are huge opportunities for our producers to tap into emerging markets.

³It¹s crucial we get the right support to business at home as well as championing British products abroad.² The exports plan was developed by Defra, UK Trade and Investment, industry trade associations, and top exporting companies. A forum was co-chaired by Mr Paice and Paul Grimwood, chief executive and chairman of Nestlé UK and Ireland.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Green said: ³By working together, Government and industry can help British food producers unlock their potential and take on the world.² The project steering group which developed the Action Plan along with the Export Forum included Defra, UKTI, Food and Drink Federation, Food and Drink Exports Association, Scottish Whisky Association, and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.

Food exports:

UK food exports grew by 12 per cent in 2010 to £16.1 billion, but the UK still exports more food to Belgium than to Brazil, Russia, India, China and Mexico combined

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