UK food & drink manufacturers visit India on trade mission

Twelve of the UK’s leading food and drink manufacturers visited India for a week-long trade mission in January, organised by Santander UK, in conjunction with the Food & Drink Federation (FDF) and the Department of International Trade (DIT).

The visit showcased the opportunities for manufacturers looking to export to the Indian food and drink sector, forecast to grow 64% to £500 billion by 2020.

Firms that attended the trip included: Amber Glen Scotch Whisky Co., Delamere Dairy, Provenance Brands, The English Cheesecake Company, Greene King, Iceland Foods and St James Smokehouse (Scotland). The initiative was part of Santander UK’s series of international trade missions across a range of sectors and regions, aimed at helping UK businesses export and capitalise on overseas trade opportunities.

Among other things, the 12 firms visited the India Food Forum in Mumbai, one of the country’s largest trade shows, where the companies showcased their products on the DIT stand. In addition, in excess of 100 buyer meetings were arranged, with delegates able to qualify interest and secure trade deals, and a networking event held at the British Deputy High Commission. A buyer’s symposium in Bangalore provided the opportunity for company representatives to present to buyers from various retail and food service companies.

India saw GDP growth of 7% in 2016 and has been identified as a key export opportunity for UK businesses. The UK government has identified India as a priority market in its latest F&D export action plan, targeting additional UK exports of £349 million over the next five years. UK food and drink firms and retailers with an established presence in the country include: Diageo, Holland & Barrett, Walkers, Borders Biscuits, M&S, Tesco and Waitrose.

Andrew Williams, head of food & drink, Santander Corporate & Commercial, says, “The Indian food and drink sector is at the start of a significant period of growth and Santander, along with stakeholders such as the FDF and the UK government, see incredible opportunities for UK food and drink firms.

“We are confident that the 12 firms that attended the trade mission will benefit from this growth. India is one of world’s fastest-growing markets, with 1.3 billion consumers and improving disposable income levels, increasing numbers of middle class consumers and demand for high quality food products from the UK.

“Santander is dedicated to helping UK businesses trade and export overseas and our trade missions are a powerful, high-profile and increasingly popular means to directly connect firms with distributors, buyers and other key stakeholders.”

Ian Wright CBE, director general, Food & Drink Federation, adds, “There is no substitute for meeting new business contacts face to face, as evidenced by this latest trade mission.

“India is at the cusp of a revolution in the food consumption and processing, and the Indian government is investing heavily in the sector and infrastructure to support a fast-growth market.

“We are seeing diverse companies tapping into areas of interest to take advantage of these opportunities, and the hope is that the UK will become a primary trading partner for India.”

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