Tom Keighley

Member Article

Food and drink on the table at Summit

The British Business Embassy series continues at Lancaster House today, as the focus turns to the food and drink sector.

A number of British retailers and suppliers have coincided major UK and overseas investment announcements with the Summit.

Boots is planning to grow its portfolio in Thailand by over 50% in the next three years, while razor manufacturer King of Shaves has plans to enter the fast-growing Turkish market.

Nestlé has said it will invest £500m in manufacturing facilities over the next three years, and Tesco’s Thai business, Tesco Lotus, plans to open three distribution centres, and plans to recruit at least 9,000 staff in Thailand this year.

Vince Cable has also welcomed the appointment of Paul Walsh, CEO of Diageo plc, as Business Ambassador for the food and drink industries.

Mr Walsh is takes with helping SMEs access global markets and grow their business overseas.

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, said: “The food and drink industry is already our largest manufacturing sector, supported by many overseas companies, showing what a great place to do business Britain is.

“The size of our food and drink industry also makes it a key driver for national economic growth and job creation.

“British food is already known the world over for its quality, and with surging population growth and clear demand for British products, there are opportunities for our producers to tap into emerging markets.

“The appointment of the new Food Business Ambassadors underlines the Government’s commitment to this sector as a source of employment, growth and exports to help drive the UK’s economic recovery.”

Elsewhere in the Summit, UKTI announced that it will present a new retail strategy, Delivering for the Global Consumer at the World Retail Congress between September 19-21.

The strategy will support the sector by identifying the markets presenting the biggest opportunities for international development and expansion, and delivering a market access programme for the UK retail industry.

Sustainability, health and wellness are key global interests that present opportunities for the sector.

British Retail Consortium (BRC) Director General Stephen Robertson said: “This signal that the Government wants to support the UK retail industry overseas is welcome and exactly what we’ve been calling for. We’re a significant exporter with overseas customers visiting UK retailers’ websites and flagship retailers driving growth through international expansion.

“David Cameron is right that all branches of Government should work together to promote UK retail investment. We’ll co-operate closely to develop the proposed international retail strategy but the ultimate test will be how much it really delivers progress in opening up markets for British retailers.”

Melanie Leech, Director General of the Food and Drink Federation said: “Food and drink exports are a major UK economic success story and like this year’s Olympics on home soil, an achievement of which we can be truly proud.

“Today’s event is a great opportunity to showcase that success and to promote our export potential to a global audience.

“Exports are a key part of our joint vision with Government to grow our sector 20 per cent by 2020. We have a strong global reputation for producing great-tasting and innovative products, and we firmly believe our sector has great potential for exports growth and that our SMEs, who are the backbone of our sector, can make a significant contribution to this success in the right supportive business environment.”

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Tom Keighley .

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