New Great British Food Unit Launched to Boost Exports

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New Great British Food Unit Launched to Boost Exports

New Great British Food Unit Launched to Boost Exports
January 26
15:42 2016

A Great British Food Unit has been established by the British Government to turbo-charge UK food exports and support industry growth plans, like their target of increasing manufactured food exports to £6 billion by 2020.

From Weetabix to Rwanda, Cadbury chocolate fingers to the Bahamas and Yorkshire Tea to China, famous British brands are taking on the world. The launch of the new Great British Food Unit will back industry targets to further boost exports and support even more British companies such as Taylors of Harrogate, Nestle and Mr Kipling export overseas potentially generating an additional 5,000 jobs in food and drink manufacturing.

The long term ambition of the new unit is to match France and Germany, which both currently export more than double the UK in terms of the value of food and drink. For the first time ever it will bring together experts in exports and investment from Defra and across Government to help even more businesses sell their world class produce around the globe.

The UK already has an international reputation for excellence and as a place to invest in. The unit will support further Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) into our food industry which stood at a record £60 billion in 2014 – nearly a third of all FDI assets in UK manufacturing.

Marking the launch of the Unit, UK breakfast cereal giant Weetabix, a success story for foreign investment, has today pledged to source all of its wheat from local farmers, helping guarantee the quality of their wholegrain wheat, supporting our growing rural economy and protecting the environment.

In 2012, Bright Food – China’s second largest food manufacturing company – bought 60% of Weetabix for £1.2 billion due to growing consumer markets in Shanghai, Guangzhou and Nanjing. The iconic cereal is now reaching breakfast tables in 80 countries worldwide, including Africa, Germany, Spain and North America, with the Bright Food deal set to open markets in East and Western Africa. These deals create and secure more jobs for UK workers.

64-weetabix-whole-grain-cereal-one-mydealsWeetabix’s success is exemplary of what hundreds of thousands of UK food and drink companies can achieve through the new Great British Food Unit. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) estimate exports of manufactured goods alone will go up by a third to £6 billion by 2020.

Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss comments: “We produce more new food products each year than France and Germany combined. My long term aspiration is for the UK to match both these countries in terms of the value of exports so our food and drink becomes a worldwide phenomenon.”

The launch of the new unit comes as the Government announced 2016 as the Year of Great British Food. It also follows last November’s launch of the first food and drink pioneers who will promote the very best in British food across the country and overseas inspiring people everywhere to choose British.

Ian Wright CBE, Director General of the Food and Drink Federation, says: “Helping this country’s 6,000+ producers, many of them small enterprises, to compete in the fiercely competitive global marketplace will help us meet our ambitious target to grow value added exports by a third to £6bn by 2020. In the UK, we have doubled total food and drink exports in a decade, and, with the right support, even more UK brands can take their fair share of the opportunities that abound abroad.”

Companies seeking to be involved in the Great British Food Unit will be offered practical support to help them innovate and identify new markets for export. They will be championed by international UKTI teams and British Embassies who will work to promote British food and drink abroad.

Over the next five years the Great British Food Unit will focus on:

* Helping more entrepreneurs start exporting for the first time.

* Supporting further FDI into the UK food industry.

* Securing and maintaining access for UK meat and dairy products to markets like China, Africa and South America.

* Helping treble the number of apprenticeships in the food and drink industry to bring new skills and ideas so the pace of innovation continues to accelerate.

* Increasing the number of Protected Food Names from 64 to 200 to celebrate the rich heritage and iconic traditions of British food, building on the importance consumers place on provenance.

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