There is no better time than now for food and drink manufacturers to focus on growing exports.

The eyes of the world remain firmly on the UK following the Olympic and Paralympic games in 2012. With opportunities in many EU and non-EU markets and strong demand from emerging economies the image of UK food and drink is that of exceptional high quality, safe food. By exporting UK food and drink manufacturers:

  • Achieve higher levels of growth (with value added exports growing by 45% over the last 5 years compared to falling volume sales of food and drink in the UK)
  • Become more productive and innovative by producing products for different customer/consumer bases.
  • Offset risk in the UK market making your business more resilient
Why Export UK Food & Drink?

If you don't believe us then take a look at some of the success stories of our members. Below is some useful information on where to go to find export help.

FDF/FDEA 10 Steps to Export Success

As part of our 20/20 Vision for sustainable growth we are committed to help exporters overcome the barriers they face when trading overseas and promote the benefits of export to inspire food and drink businesses to start exporting or export more.

Our export guide, delivered in collaboration with the Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA), breaks down what is required at each of the 10 steps of a food and drink exporter's journey enabling you to click through to websites and useful information of many of the key organisations that can help you along the way to proactive exporting.


UK Export Statistics

Food and Drink Export Performance by top sectors, top markets and regions (EU and Non-EU) in 2014.

View the full 2014 statistics research report UK Food and Drink Export Performance statistics.

View the key exports indicators from 2004 – 2014


UK Food and Drink: International Action Plan

In October 2013 UKTI and Defra launched the 'UK Food and Drink: International Action Plan' which FDF contributed to. The new action plan sets out new overarching targets to:

  • Grow food and drink exports by £1bn by 2015
  • Provide support to help 1,000 more food and drink businesses to start exporting.

FDF is working closely with Government on a sector action plan to 'leverage opportunities for UK brands internationally' working with our partners to continue to inspire businesses to export and provide tangible opportunities for businesses to grow export sales. Specific actions include:

  • Assist up to 200 food and drink branded companies to expand into new markets.
  • Setup a targeted programme of visits into and out of the UK to grow exports specifically in Central Europe and South East Asia.

The action plan will be used to promote UKTI services and champion successful British exporters. It will also be used by UKTI regional offices as promotional material to attract overseas buyers. As well as carrying out export activities as part of the strategy FDF will also be assisting Government to raise awareness of the action plan across the industry.

View the UK Food and Drink: International Action Plan


UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Services

FDF is one of ninety-nine trade challenge partners of UKTI, the Government Department responsible for working with businesses to boost exports and grow inward investment. As part of this relationship we work closely with the UKTI food and drink team and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to promote export opportunities and grow UK food and exports, see our Exports Brochure for more information.

UKTI Services

UKTI offers a number of services for food and drink businesses no matter what stage they are in their export journey. If your business is new to export we advise you contact your regional UKTI office and speak to a regional trade advisor.

UKTI Regional Trade Advisors

  • The first port of call for any food and drink manufacturer new to export is to speak to a food and drink specialist International Trade Advisor (ITA) within UKTI.
  • These contacts can explain all of UKTI's services and which would suit your business as well as providing on-going support and key information. Click here to view the contact details of all of the regional trade offices.

UKTI GREAT WEEKS (Trade missions for food and drink manufacturers)

  • In 2013/14 UKTI have prioritised food and drink as one of the key growth sectors to focus their trade missions activity on under the banner of the GREAT campaign which was used to maximise the benefits of London 2012 in promoting UK business.
  • Trade missions are structured visits to markets facilitated by UKTI that hold potential for certain product types. GREAT WEEKS is organising overseas missions to Hong Kong and Macao, South Korea, China, Turkey and the USA for food and drink manufacturers in 2014. Businesses attending will:
    • learn more about the market they are visiting
    • be introduced to buyer contacts
    • Have the opportunity to exhibit their products

UKTI provide subsidies for SMEs under some of their support programmes. Why not investigate and look to build contacts in these high growth markets for food and drink.


Open to Export

Open to Export is a community driven website which signposts key export information, events, opportunities and useful contacts to help grow exports. The site also hosts a forum enabling users to post export related questions and receive a response within 48 hours from service providers which include UKTI, Defra, Trade Councils and other businesses. Why not register today and see what you could be missing out on.

Between 15 September and 10 October 2014 FDF in partnership with UKTI, Defra, the Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) and the Grocer are launching a special food and drink focus feature to inspire food and drink businesses to start exporting or export more.

  • Webinars providing export advice from manufacturers and support from Government
  • FDF/FDEA 10 Steps to Export Success updated for 2014
  • Defra guide to export certification services
  • Case studies of businesses that have succeed overseas
  • Upcoming food and drink export events

The content and webinar recordings will be available from 21 September. We will be looking to use this web page on an on-going basis to signpost food and drink information and resources and bring in new partners creating a wealth of information to help food and drink manufacturers export proactively.


Last reviewed: 19 Sep 2014