Exports of Yorkshire & the Humber food and drink hit a record £1.2bn in the year up to March 2019, with exports to China growing by 26 per cent.
The latest export figures from HMRC figures show meat was the most valuable Yorkshire food and drink export, totalling £172 million and growing by six per cent over the past 12 months. Dairy and eggs exports saw the biggest growth over the period, with exports up by 16 per cent and trade worth £88m.
The latest figures reveal a growing appetite for British food and drink in China, with a 26 per cent boost in Yorkshire produce to the country since March 2018.
The Baijiu Society, a North Yorkshire producer of drinks infused with the essence of the Chinese spirit Baijiu, is one example of a business tapping into increasing demand for Yorkshire food and drink from China. The firm is ramping up production after buying a new manufacturing facility in Cropton. Its owners, the SBCO Group, bought the factory to increase production of its beer and drinks which it exports to East Asia.
The firm completed its first export order of 12,000 beers to Asia in January 2018. It now ships 25,000 bottles of its beer to the continent each month, which are sold in super-casinos and luxury hotels including prestigious outlets like Galaxy Macau Casino, The Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong Country Club and China Club.
Many other businesses throughout Yorkshire have been capitalising on overseas thirst for UK produce with support from the Food is GREAT campaign. A cross-departmental initiative between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT), the campaign aims to showcase UK food and drink abroad and help companies export.
Food Minister David Rutley said: “Yorkshire is famed for its superb homegrown produce, and it is fantastic to see the region is exporting more dairy and meat than ever before around the world.
“The appetite for British food and drink in markets such as China is only growing, and regions like Yorkshire are in a prime position to capitalise on this global demand.”
Mark Robson, head of regions, Yorkshire and the Humber, at DIT, said: “Famous for its quality and provenance, UK produce is held in high regard right across the globe. In the first quarter of 2019 the nation’s food and drink exports were valued at £5.7bn. With UK produce taking centre stage in multiple international markets and opportunity particularly swelling in China, Australia and Japan, now’s the time for Yorkshire businesses to step into the spotlight and put their goods on the table.
“If businesses across the region are cracking markets on every continent, there’s no reason why others can’t savour the same success. We have International Trade Advisers on hand throughout Yorkshire to guide producers at every stage of their export journey, and staff on the ground in over 100 countries to eliminate trade hurdles linked to legislation, tax, labelling requirements, and other factors.”