Belfast Telegraph

Food and drink export push launched

A drive to boost British food and drinks exports has been launched under aims to deliver an extra £500 million to the UK economy.

The Food and Drink Action Plan has been designed to expand one of the UK's most thriving sectors into lucrative overseas markets.

Food and drink is already the UK's largest manufacturing sector with a turnover of over £90 billion a year and up to 400,000 workers - 15% of the overall manufacturing workforce.

But 90% of small firms are not exporting and of those that do, only primarily to Europe.

Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is unveiling the scheme today at the world's biggest food and drink fair, Anuga, in Germany.

Top chef Tom Aikens is also launching the Government's Food is Great marketing campaign at the fair in an effort to raise the profile of British food and drink producers around the world.

The campaign, being led by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), will showcase the UK food and drink industry to markets including Vietnam, Mexico, Brazil, Russia, South Korea, Hong Kong and Macao, China, the United States and Europe.

Mr Paterson said the two initiatives will " give quality British produce an even higher profile, boost our economy and create jobs".

"There are huge opportunities for British food companies to export all over the world and I'm determined to help our firms exploit them," he added.

The food and drink action plan will particularly focus on the dairy industry, beer, cider, wine and spirits exports, as well as meat and seafood sectors.

It comes as part of the Government's plan to raise exports to £1 trillion and get 100,000 more companies exporting.