We attend UKTI food webinars. Here’s what we thought.

All statistics taken from the Open to Export webinars.

Talking Heads provides services for a range of clients who are exporting or are involved in the export process. Food is one of the biggest export sectors, with the United Kingdom’s total export figures exceeding £19 billion annually. It’s no surprise that food makes up a large percentage of Britain’s export market – other countries have bought into our cultural food phenomenon. We only have to look at how many countries have bought the rights to “The Great British Bake Off” to understand that the UK is seen as the pioneer of good food.

Open to Export, an organisation helping to support SMEs with growth, works closely with its co-deliverer the UKTI – United Kingdom Trade & Investment (a government body helping UK businesses realise their export potential). Their latest offering was their Food and Drink Export Month 2015. Talking Heads thought it would be beneficial to attend some webinars which Open to Export provided, as we’re so involved with our food clients’ export process.

The first webinar we attended focussed on Food & Drink clients finding their niche in international markets, with talks from representatives from the FDF (Food and Drink Federation), the FDEA (the Food and Drink Exporters Association, of which we are members) and a case study from a premium cereals exporting company – Lizi’s  (The GoodCarb Food Company) – currently exporting to 35 countries.

Some insightful figures were presented during the webinar; the aforementioned £19 billion exported annually; the fact that this only equates to 20% of the UK’s food industry, whereas as the ROI exports equate to 40% of its food industry; and the huge amount the health and wellbeing market is worth globally – £400 billion (this particular market is expected to double in growth within the UK too).

The webinar aimed to show how food exporters could find their feet and pave out a successful and original export path. Questions from viewers centred on:

  • the best channels to utilise when exporting
  • customs issues when products are shipped overseas
  • whether or not companies needed to translate their food and drink packaging when entering new markets (e.g. in Europe the FIR regulations state that it is mandatory for a food exporter to translate their packaging into the importing country’s official language).

After a Q&A session and a case study from Lizi’s – a successful granola exporter – the webinar drew to a close.

The second webinar was attended by our Projects Team. The webinar, entitled ‘Doing Business in Turkey’, emphasised the Turkish nation’s healthy appeal to UK Food and Drink exporters.

The introduction of the webinar centred on Turkey’s optimistic economic presence, with it being the 2nd best performing nation in Europe in terms of growth (with Poland taking the top spot). It also highlighted the UK-Turkey link, with trade being worth £5.9 billion in 2014. The number of expats in Turkey has increased significantly over the last 5 years, showing a change in the nation’s consumption habits. What is also significant is Turkey’s push to make its Food and Drinks packaging more closely match UK compliance standards, in order to conform to EU Food laws – namely the FIR regulations.

Some tips given at the webinar to exporters:

  • Personal relations are important before you undertake business in Turkey; be prepared to answer questions about your personal life.
  • Emails should be replied to within the same working day.
  • The Turks believe British goods are of high quality, although sometimes can be perceived as a little dated.
  • Export procedures are difficult in Turkey – lots of paperwork, but the UKTI can help businesses with this.

The advice given in both webinars was very insightful and our team has gained knowledge into how niche Food and Drink producers attack exporting and do business in Turkey.

We work for a range of food and drink exporters and it’s always beneficial to keep up to date with information, even if we think we’ve heard it before. We haven’t heard it all! The UKTI webinars are a brilliant resource for reviewing your knowledge, or indeed, for learning the ropes.  Visit our food page here.

Sectors: Agriculture, Horticulture & Fisheries and Food & Drink
Countries: Turkey
Topics: Export Planning and Export Process
Export Action Plan