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Strong appetite for British food and drinks overseas


It seems to be one of the longest running international jokes – Britain has bad food. That thinking may be true with tourists, but for international businesses, demand for British food and beverages is stronger than ever. In fact, global appetite for British food and drink has continued to strengthen by over 10% in under 12 months.

This is according to research by GS1 UK as part of its ‘Brits Abroad: UK Food & Drink Exports 2018’ study. The headline stats from the research are that export of British food and beverages was up 12% in the year to November 2017, with alcohol exports up a very impressive 16%.

And with the British food and drink export market valued at around £22bn, this research indicates an additional £2.6bn in transactions.

A focus on export growth

GS1 UK’s research also indicated that exporting currently comprises a larger proportion of businesses’ overall output and activity than it did half a decade ago, with returns to match. Revenue from exports grew 4% to 15% compared to 2013 for those surveyed, showcasing how a focus on developing export markets can add significant growth to overall takings.

Perhaps the most recognised UK beverage firm taking full advantage of international trade opportunities and marketability of a ‘made in Britain’ tag is Fever-Tree which sells to 60 buyers internationally.

And despite Brexit looming, confidence in exporting remains defiantly positive. In fact, food and drink manufacturers expect export sales to account for nearly a quarter of their business within the next five years. Just one in three said they were concerned that trade with EU partners would stutter as a result of any negotiated trade deal.

Read more: British business beyond the Customs Union

CEO of GS1 UK, Gary Lynch commented that: “British produce remains a byword for excellence around the world and our food and drink is exported to the four corners of the globe.

“With official Government figures showing that £22bn of it was sent overseas in 2017, there is clearly a lasting taste for British products and our members have optimistic expectations for the coming years.

“Whisky and salmon are very much our export staples, but the thirst for our beer and gin also continues to intensify.”

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