Low pound and good reputation boosts exports for region’s food and drink producers
Leading food and drink producers from Suffolk and north Essex are reporting impressive hikes in export sales as the low value of the pound and the good reputation of British produce generates a high demand overseas.
Beer brewers, gin distillers and meat producers all say they have seen export sales grow significantly in the past year.
The news comes as The Food & Drink Federation (FDF) reported a rise of 8.5% in food and drink exports from UK producers for the first half of 2017 to an all-time high of £10.2 billion.
At Eye-based meat producer C&K Meats managing director Kevin Burrows said the business’ exports of mostly beef and pork had tripled in the three and half years that the company has been selling overseas and that he expected to generate £2million from exports this year - around 10% of turnover.
He said: “Our success is down to two things - the drop in the value of the pound and the fact that we do a good job.”
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“I fly at least two or three times a month to visit customers overseas. I’m a forward-facing person - I like to meet people and demonstrate first hand what we have is great and the passion we have for our products.”
Mr Burrows said the company, which earlier this year was awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise: International Trade, had seen growth in a number of Asian countries including Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand.
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In Witham in Essex, co-owner of Hayman’s Gin, James Hayman, reported a 10% growth in exports as the markets for gin continues to be “buoyant”.
“We tend to underestimate how highly regarded British produce is outside our country,” he said.
The region’s leading beer producers are also seeing exports grow.
Adnams in Southwold recently reported a 15% increase in exports for the first half of 2017 with bottles of its Ghost Ship beer found on supermarket shelves as far away as Australia, Brazil and Russia.
Greene King’s brewing and distribution director Tony Macken said there has been “a renewed interest” in the firm’s beers globally. He added:“Old Speckled Hen is sold in more than 40 countries now and our Belhaven range, brewed in Scotland, is equally widely exported, particularly to Russia.”