A real appetite for Cornish food – exports from the county (and the rest of the South West) boom

15th August, 2018

As a proud Cornish man, I was pleased to see that Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liz Truss used a visit to several food manufacturers in Cornwall last month to unveil new figures that showed food and agricultural exports in the first quarter of 2018 were up for the fourth year in a row.


Key statistics she presented:

  • From January to March 2018, £175 million worth of food and agricultural goods were exported from the region around the globe, up £10 million on last year.
  • In 2017, nearly £700 million worth of Cornish food and agricultural goods were exported around the world (a figure that the Chief Secretary hopes will be bettered this year):

Other HMRC figures showed that exports of South West food and drink increased to £760m in the year to March 2018, an increase of seven per cent compared to the previous 12 months, the latest HMRC figures show.

  • The most popular products from the region overseas were meat (£97m),dairy products and eggs (£148m)
  • The statistics also show that more firms in the region are targeting China, with 24% more food and drink exported to the country during the period, when compared to the previous 12 months.

A focus on Cornwall – but the message for the wider South-West

Obviously the increase in exports is great news for the food and drink and agricultural sectors and reflects exceptionally well on the quality of Cornish and South West produce.

This compliments well with Cornwall being a world class culinary destination with ‘celebrity’ chefs like Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw, Ben Tunnicliffe, Jamie Oliver, Paul Ainsworth and others leading the way.

As Liz Truss has been quoted as saying “I want to see more people abroad enjoying a taste of Cornwall, like the magnificent clotted cream I’ve seen made during my visit.”

“It is so important that local traders in this part of the world have the opportunity to increase their trade and create jobs and I’m here to learn how we can help them do this.”

Government support

There is some government assistance already available for exporters through the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) which has been supporting food and drink businesses in the region as part of the ‘Food is GREAT campaign’.

The campaign is the UK Government’s cross department initiative to showcase UK food and drink overseas and to help firms to export.

As part of DEFRA and DIT’s support, in 2017 the government took a number of South West based companies to markets around the world on trade missions, including the Food and Hotel China (FHC) show in Shanghai and Gulfood in Dubai.

PKF Francis Clark

As a firm with offices across the South West, it is in keeping that two of our specialist sectors are Food and Drink and Agriculture.  Both of these teams produce regular newsletters the latest of which for Food and Drink can be found here.

PKF Francis Clark will be hosting and/or involved in a number of events with a focus on the Food & Drink sector over the coming months, including a breakfast briefing focussed on obtaining ‘crowd funding’ which takes place in Truro on Tuesday 4 September 2018.  For more details and/ or to book a place on the Truro event, please click here.

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