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British Frozen Food Federation Calls For Swift Action on Export Strategy

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British Frozen Food Federation Calls For Swift Action on Export Strategy

British Frozen Food Federation Calls For Swift Action on Export Strategy
November 22
08:23 2016

British Frozen Food Federation, the voice of the UK’s £8 billion frozen food industry, has called for the Government to deliver on its food export strategy as quickly as possible. The call follows a survey of the BFFF’s 300 plus members, which reveals that 55% of the respondents currently export, but only 45% see Brexit as an opportunity to increase overseas trade.

The survey also highlights concerns about the availability of labour, with several companies saying that the vote has already made it harder to recruit staff.

John Hyman, BFFF chief executive, says: “I am encouraged by the Government’s announcement of the new International Action Plan for Food and Drink which is designed to boost the sector’s exports by £2.9 billion. Our survey reveals there is already an appetite to export, with 31% of the respondents calling for a new globally focused trade policy. However, an overwhelming 64% want either no change to our current EU trading arrangements or free access without free movement of people post Brexit.”

John Hyman, BFFF chief executive.

John Hyman, BFFF chief executive.

He also highlights concerns about skilled labour, saying that the industry, which currently employs roughly 150,000 people, depends on a reliable supply of skilled people. “Many BFFF members are worried that they will not be able to recruit the right people at a time when they are facing tougher competition and looking to increase exports,” he says.

He also encourages the Government to think beyond traditional food and drink exports, saying: “There are many more opportunities beyond the products we have traditionally exported such as whisky, beef and shortbread. There needs to be a long-term commitment to a trade policy that enables and supports new and existing exporters.”

The BFFF study also reveals that 68% say the Brexit vote has had a negative impact on their business, with 51% of the respondents reporting increased input or ingredients costs since the June 23 vote. In addition, 30% of the members polled said the result of the referendum has had a negative effect on their investment decisions.

John Hyman is calling on the food industry to speak with one voice. “Food is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, given the challenges the whole food industry faces, it’s essential we speak to government with one voice. That’s why BFFF is working with the Food and Drink Federation to make our case to the Government,” he remarks.

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