Trade AHDB reports reveal keys to growing overseas markets
In 2017, the work of the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) played a significant role in the export of around £3.3 bn worth of UK red meat, dairy, potatoes, cereals and oilseed products.Now, as part of its ongoing work to grow these exports and gain new market access, the Consumer Insight team has used its technical expertise to help unlock future opportunities overseas.
The new ‘Country Focus Reports’ provide a topline look at consumer eating habits and buying behaviour in key target markets.The reports, which are the first in a series of publications planned for 2019, focus on China, the USA and Japan – where work is ongoing to gain access for beef and sheep meat exports from the UK.
Once market access is granted, safety and heritage will be the key to capitalising on the lucrative Japanese market, according to the new report. The UK currently ships pork and dairy products to Japan, both of which have seen growth in terms of volume and value over the last year.
The Country Focus Report on Japan shows that consumers show little familiarity with Brand Britain when it comes to food due to the small scale of exports to the country. However, marketing our products to satisfy some or all of the key consumer demands will help the UK succeed in this highly competitive market.
The China report shows that food safety is critical to consumers. Messages about heritage, safety and nutritional benefits are likely to do well and exporters need to tell a story about ‘Brand Britain’ that resonates with shoppers. Consumers have positive feelings towards British food, associating it with quality and safety. It also flags that many Chinese consumers have joined the global middle class, driving consumer spending and an appetite for imported food – making it an attractive market for UK exports.
In the USA, quality is top of mind for most Americans but value for money is critical, especially when shopping for meat. Despite having a high level of disposable income, discount stores are popular. However, consumers don’t expect low priced products to be of a low quality, according to research by AHDB and ICM. And while the report claims there isn’t much recognition of British produce in the US, raising consumer confidence in our products is key to increasing exports, which are likely to be at the premium end of the market.