New food and drink accelerator launches in the UK

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The E-commerce Accelerator Pilot seeks to increase the level of international e-commerce backing for SMEs in the food and drink industry
Illustration of UK food and drink

The UK government has announced new strategic interventions to help the country’s food and drink sector. The initiative, called ‘bounce back’ plan, will see the Department for International Trade (DIT) and Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) offer immediate support to help businesses in the industry grow their trade activity overseas.

The UK agriculture, food and drink industry has been significantly impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Although it has done well to adapt, exports have been hit.

As part of the strategy, an E-commerce Accelerator Pilot is being launched to increase the level of international e-commerce backing for SMEs in the food and drink industry.

Minister for Export, Graham Stuart MP, DIT said: “The package of measures we have announced today will support ‘bounce back’ in exports, and help our world-class producers and manufacturers increase trade with the rest of the world.

“It will also get the industry ready to capitalise on the opportunities that are being opened up by the series of free trade agreements that my department is negotiating around the world.”

The agriculture, food and drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing industry and plays a vital role in the UK’s food supply chain, which contributed £121 billion to the UK economy in 2018 – supporting around four million jobs.

In 2019, UK food, feed and drink exports were worth £23.7bn – up 4.9% from 2018.

The measures introduced by the UK government will support producers, manufacturers and agri-tech companies across the food supply chain, from farm to fork.

The ‘bounce back’ plan has been developed with insight from the devolved administrations, trade associations, businesses and DIT’s regional and international networks.

Post-Covid-19 support

The plan introduces a new programme of physical and virtual events that have been tailored to help a variety of businesses and exporters.

These include an overseas virtual buyer trial, a ‘Smart Distance Selling Process’, and a package of ‘Ready to Trade’ Exporting Masterclass webinars.

The plan will see the introduction of Defra’s first Agri-food Counsellor serving the Gulf. In this new role, it will support the UK’s food and drink industry and represent the interests of UK businesses already exporting, or planning to export, to the region.

These measures are being announced as part of a programme of support for the agriculture, food and drink industry to ensure they benefit from new trade and investment opportunities, including future free trade agreements.

International trade

Over the last two months, the Department for International Trade has launched the first round of talks for the US, Japan, and Australia and New Zealand Free Trade Agreement negotiations.

Additionally, the department has announced the first UK Tariff in almost 50 years, the UK Global Tariff, which firmly backs British industry, including agri-food and drink.

In 2019 the UK exported £2.4bn of food and drink to the US, £312m to Japan, £453m to Australia and £58m to New Zealand.

More details on the UK government website.

About the author

Murielle Gonzalez
Editor of NutritionInvestor at Investor Publishing | Website

Murielle Gonzalez is the editor of NutritionInvestor. She is an experienced journalist with 20 years in the media industry, including work at b2b magazines in the UK and Latin America. Murielle holds a Master in Journalism from the University of Westminster and flair for all things online and multimedia storytelling.

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