Bristol business keeping Brits well-fed through COVID-19 with government support
A Bristol-based business exporting UK food and drink brands has experienced significant growth in overseas sales over the last year with government support.
British Corner Shop provides products from the likes of Walkers, Tetley and Heinz to expats who are missing home comforts or other customers across the world who have an appetite for UK cuisine.
Its revenues have quadrupled on a monthly basis during the pandemic despite global restrictions hitting many of its export markets including the Middle East, Far East, South East Asia, sub-Saharan Africa and the Caribbean.
With 95% of its products exported from the UK, the business turned to the government’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), to navigate these challenges.
Export insurance through UKEF helped British Corner Shop to protect its relationships with suppliers abroad, including with an India-based supplier worth £200,000, and government advice helped British Corner Shop win new contracts in the Philippines and South Africa.
Mark Callaghan, Managing Director at British Corner Shop, said: “We exist to connect people and businesses across the country and world with beloved British brands, but COVID-19 was an unexpected obstacle in the way of this.
“If it wasn’t for the help of UK Export Finance and the Department for International Trade, we would not have secured the custom of some businesses in key markets, and that would have set us back significantly. Now, we have been able to trade with companies in India, South Africa and the Philippines, providing them with the best of British.”
British Corner Shop’s exports to major markets have soared in recent years, and global appetite for classic British food and drink has continued to grow despite the pandemic. The company’s export turnover in the US reached £4m in 2020, an increase of 146% from 2019, while exports increased by 112% in France, its second-biggest market.
The US is the UK’s largest trading partner and the Department for International Trade (DIT) has been working with American counterparts on a UK-US Trade Agreement to reduce trade barriers and help businesses like the British Corner Shop export more of their products to the US.