Export opportunities

Although UK food and soft drink manufacturing industry (FDM) businesses continue to regard Europe as an important trading partner, they also recognise the increasing opportunities presented by developing nations.

Globalisation, fast economic growth and rising income levels in the emerging markets are expected to drive a shift in their populations' diet, specifically an increase in the consumption of proteins and convergence towards Western diets.

However, businesses will need to strategise effectively whilst marketing their products to these markets to ensure they address local consumer needs, purchasing power and preferences.

Despite growing its food, beverage and tobacco exports by 5.4% year-on-year between 2000-2010, the UK has lost market share as world exports grew by 10% year-on-year.

Over the same period (2000-2010), most comparison markets grew faster than the UK (Canada at 7.7%, France at 6.5%, Spain at 8.9%), whilst some countries have increased their market share by outperforming the world average export growth (e.g. Poland at 21%, Brazil at 16.9%, Germany at 10.7%).

This indicates that despite the opportunities presented by export markets, UK FDM businesses are likely to face strong competition from other countries who are also focusing on exports as a way to grow their industry.

UK exports of food & soft drinks, 2000, 2005 & 2010

UK exports of food and soft drinks

Notes: a. UK exports to France in 2010 reached £1.3bn, but for viewing purposes they have been scaled down. Similarly, Ireland that is UK's largest export market has been excluded from the graph even though exports to Ireland have been growing strongly
Sources: 1. UK Trade Info (2011), Trade Data


Case study: Exporting great breakfasts across the globe - Dorset Cereals

Award-winning premium breakfast cereals maker Dorset Cereals create all their recipes in the unique village of Poundbury in Dorset, which was inspired and created by HRH The Prince of Wales.

Dorset's mueslis, granolas, porridges, Tasty Flakes and cereal bars are all made to recipes that use carefully sourced, great tasting ingredients.

For Dorset Cereals, international sales are a fundamental part of the business and represented 20% of the company's turnover in 2011. Their exports have continued to increase, doubling in the last five years to £5m.

The company's award-winning mueslis are Dorset's core business overseas. In 2011, their granolas were launched in North America and Europe and are delivering further growth. The granolas will roll out to all markets in 2012.

The major markets for Dorset Cereals are: the United States, the Netherlands, the United Arab Emirates and Canada, where the business continues to grow impressively. In Canada, the business is growing +33% year on year. In the Netherlands, Dorset Cereals is now available in a further 1,100 stores nationally.

Doreset cereals

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More Information

A Grant Thornton report commissioned by Food and Drink Federation. Note that the case studies in the executive summary were written by the Food and Drink Federation.


Last reviewed: 07 Dec 2011