New programme to support food exporters

New programme to support food exporters

A new government backed initiative has been launched today with the aim of matching France and Germany for food exports.

Environment secretary Elizabeth Truss said the Great British Food Unit would support exporters and industry to help meet the target of increasing manufactured food exports to £6bn by 2020.

Both France and Germany currently export more than double the UK in terms of the value of food and drink.

Over the next five years the new unit aims to help more entrepreneurs start exporting, increase foreign direct investment into the UK, secure and maintain access for UK meat and dairy products to markets like China, Africa and South America and treble the number of apprenticeships in the industry.

It also plans to increase the number of protected food names from 64 to 200 to "celebrate the rich heritage and iconic traditions of British food."

Companies involved with the unit will be offered practical support to identify markets for export and will be "championed" by international UK Trade and Investment teams and British embassies.

Truss said: "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.

"From Weetabix to Yeo Valley yoghurt, I want to see more of the Great British breakfast enjoyed around the world.

"Through the creation of the new Great British Food Unit companies large and small will now find it easier to export overseas and receive foreign investment.

"It is vital for our economic future that we make British food and farming all it can be - over the next five years we will do that by backing big business, supporting punchy start-ups and embracing our rich food heritage."

Ian Wright, director general of the Food and Drink Federation, added: "UK food and drink is a major national asset and the envy of the world.

"Helping this country's 6,000 plus 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."