Food & Drink Export Council hosts first meeting

An image of a shipping container

Following significant lobbying from the NFU to work together to grow our exports, the government has delivered on its promise to establish a Food and Drink Export Council. Members of the council have now met for the first time to set objectives for the UK's future export strategy.

In accordance with two key NFU asks and the recommendations of the TAC (Trade and Agriculture Commission) 2020-2021, the government announced in October and November 2021 respectively, that it would establish a Food and Drink Export Council to work in partnership with the industry to promote exports.

The council has now had its first meeting, with NFU Director of Trade and Business Strategy Nick von Westenholz representing farmers' interests.

What is the purpose of the council?

The aim of the council is to bring together industry experts and governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to promote exports from all parts of the UK.

This is a crucial step towards promoting farmers' interests overseas as the council can provide strategic oversight and co-ordination to help identify additional measures that will help deliver increased exports.

The NFU expects the council to have a very strong focus on the development and delivery of a long-term strategic plan to drive growth in agriculture, food and drink exports. The NFU has set out in our 30,30,30+ strategy ways in which we believe this can be achieved.

Who sits on the council?

The membership of the council is expected to be limited in size (approximately 20 persons) and comprise of:

  • Defra and DIT (Department for International Trade representatives)
  • Devolved administrations
  • Representatives of industry bodies including the NFU
  • A selection of small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) operators

The council will be co-chaired by DIT Minster for Exports, Andrew Bowie (MP for West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine) and an industry co-chair Ian Wright (formerly CEO of the FDF).

"I look forward to the government and farming industry working together to get more climate-friendly, British food on plates across the world."

NFU director of trade and business strategy Nick von Westenholz

British food on plates across the world

Following the first meeting, NFU Director of Trade and Business Strategy Nick von Westenholz said: “The quality of British food is globally renowned, and the NFU has an ambition to increase British food exports by 30% by 2030.

“The NFU has campaigned for a Food and Drink Export Council to help achieve that ambition, and so we're delighted that its work starts today. I look forward to the government and farming industry working together to get more climate-friendly, British food on plates across the world.”

NFU lobbying on future exports – the story so far

February 2020

NFU launches food standards petition

NFU launches a petition calling for the government to ensure all UK food imports match the high standards of production that British producers must follow, and to  prevent imports of food that is produced in ways that are illegal in the UK.

June 2020

Petition hits 1 million signatures

Our petition reaches 1 million signatures sending a clear message to government that the public don't want to see food standards compromised.

July 2020

Trade and Agriculture Commission is established

The government answers our call to form a TAC (Trade and Agriculture Commission) to provide scrutiny of new trade deals and ensure the UK's high production standards are maintained.

March 2021

Report recommends the formation of export council

The Trade and Agriculture Commission publishes a report, providing recommendations to ensure future trade deals are fair to British farmers.

One of these recommendations supported the NFU's key ask to establish a Food and Drink Export Council to work in partnership with the industry to promote exports.

October 2021

Government responds to TAC report and commits to export council

The government publishes details about its new strengthened TAC in response to the original TAC report.

As part of its response, the government commits to the formation of a Food and Drinks Export Council to bring together industry and government export leads for all four nations, enabling collaboration and sharing of expertise and resource.

January 2023

The Food & Drink Export Council meets for the first time

The Council meets for the first time; attendees make up a strong representation from government, industry, and regionally across different parts of the UK. 

Ask us a question about this page

Once you have submitted your query our NFU CallFirst will contact you and, if appropriate, your question will be passed on to one of our policy teams.

By completing the form with your details on this page, you are agreeing to have this information sent to the NFU for the purposes of contacting you regarding your enquiry. Please take time to read the NFU’s Privacy Policy if you require further information.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.