As BREXIT looms nearer the question food producers must ask themselves is, in the event of no free trade deal, where will international growth come from. This is a question that British hamper providers have been answering for themselves for many years now with Yorkshire brands like Bettys seeing most of their growth coming from the US and Australian markets. Indeed Dairy Crest’s answer to the milk farming crisis is to plough £85 million into Cathedral City and we are likely to see a big focus from them on export sales of whey protein – but sales of whey are really not very likely to come from our European neighbours.
Asia has to be a key market, as is shown by ABP’s recent export deal. The Irish processor has just won a beef export deal supplying British beef to Wowprime Corporation. Wooprime own 151 restaurants in China, and ABP now has a 3 year exclusivity deal to supply the beef for Wang Steak and Tasty, two of the Chinese company’s flagship products. It is very encouraging for British food producers that the deciding factors for awarding ABP the contract were sustainability, traceability and the fact that the product was completely hormone free.
It’s clear though, that whatever happens with Brexit, it’s farther afield that a canny food producer needs to look for new customers. That’s true even for artisanal producers as many of our clients whose products are mainly only available online are seeing their biggest sales coming from the US. The challenge, as always, is how to create a flavour profile that will work for international markets. That’s easy for chocolatiers as British chocolate is already popular in the US as are baked goods and cheese, but where you are producing products that flavour foods, getting the flavour profile right for Mid West America might prove more challenging.
It’s a challenge British business is meeting and for smaller producers the downturn in physical footfall is actually good news, as it means that as long as the packaging and mailing side of the business is sown up, the rise of online means that even the smallest producers can reach out to buyers as far afield as the deserts of Arizona.