YORKSHIRE POST — Anita Zhang, founder of ACOLINK, told The Yorkshire Post that fast moving consumer goods were in hot demand by Chinese consumers but that SMEs needed to step up their efforts to explore new avenues.
Latest HMRC figures showed that Yorkshire foodstuffs were making up an increasing amount of nationwide exports with meat, dairy and beverages leading the charge.
In the year to December 2017, £157m worth of meat was exported, along with £73m worth of dairy and £58m of beverages.
The national exporting picture shows that total goods exported from the UK increased by 11.5 per cent to £625.9bn and total food and drink exports increased by 8 per cent to £22bn in 2017.
ONS statistics also show that exports continue to grow faster than imports with the overall trade deficit narrowing by £12.8bn from £41.6bn to £28.8bn.
The rise has been attributed to a growing demand for artisan food stuffs among burgeoning middle classes in developing economies, a more aggressive marketing of UK food and drink nationwide and the strength of the Yorkshire brand.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) launched their Food is GREAT to showcase UK food and drink overseas and to help firms to export.
Last year saw both of the government departments take a number of Yorkshire and the Humber based companies to markets around the world on trade missions, including the Food and Hotel China (FHC) show in Shanghai and Gulfood in Dubai.
Mark Robson, regional director at the Department for International Trade in Yorkshire and the Humber, said: "These latest figures back up the first-hand experience of the many companies in Yorkshire and the Humber that are already feeling the benefits of increased global trade and finding success in overseas markets.
“We want firms to export their products and take advantage of the support available through DIT. We have 29 international trade advisers in Yorkshire and the Humber that can help businesses navigate the exporting process.”
Among the many food and drink firms in the region to experience strong growth is Leeds-based brewery Northern Monk Brew Co, which is now exporting to 22 different countries, including Norway, Iceland, New Zealand and Japan, in just four years of operation.
Exporting has helped the firm to double its turnover each year, with Northern Monk Brew Co expecting to hit a revenue of £4m in 2018.
The business is now ranked amongst the top 100 out of 24,000 worldwide breweries, according to Rate Beer Best, and last month launched a crowdfunding campaign to begin an ambitious expansion plan.
The new figures come amid warnings last month that small British firms are missing out by not making the most of trade opportunities with China.
Anita Zhang, founder of ACOLINK, told The Yorkshire Post that fast moving consumer goods were in hot demand by Chinese consumers but that SMEs needed to step up their efforts to explore new avenues.
Source: Yorkshire Post (Mark Casci) (https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/yorkshire-food-and-drink-exports-top-1bn-1-9085186)