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Food exports have been a UK success story.

During the first half of 2023, UK food and drink exports rose to £12 billion from £11.5 billion in 2022.

Much of this growth has been driven by European Union (EU) demand, with the value of exports increasing by more than seven per cent to £6.9 billion.

If you’re considering exporting food from the UK, you will be joining a growing sector.

While there are opportunities for UK businesses, there are also a range of factors you will need to plan for.

How do I start exporting food?

If you’re excited about UK food and drink products, and would like to start exporting food from UK manufacturers to overseas customers, then there are several factors to consider.

First, is there a market for your products or do you believe you can create one? How will you ship your products? Does the destination country have any special licensing requirements for the goods you are shipping, and are there duties to be paid?

All of these considerations can be off-putting if you are exporting food from the UK for the first time.

However, working with an international forwarding company can make the process much more straightforward.

Do I need a licence to export from the UK?

Anyone exporting food from UK manufacturers or growers to overseas markets is required to be registered as a Food Business Operator (FBO).

An FBO is the “natural or legal person” who is responsible for ensuring that the requirements of food law are met within the food business under their control.

What documents do I need to export goods from the UK?

A range of documents are required to legally export goods from the UK.

These will vary depending on what is being exported, and where it is being sent to.

All goods exported will require a customer declaration, commercial invoice, and packing list. Other documents that may be required can include an Export Health Certificate, EU Common Entry Documents, a Certificate of Origin, and an Insurance Certificate.

The requirements for goods can differ, so you must be fully aware of what’s required before you begin the exporting process.

A lack of documentation can cause delays in shipping and generate extra costs. For this reason, most UK exporters will choose to work with an international forwarding company.

Is there a tax to export from the UK?

Food and drink exported from the UK will usually be zero-rated for VAT.

While there is no tax to be paid on goods leaving the UK, there are sometimes duties applied to different food and drink products by destination countries.

You must be aware of any duties and taxes that are payable and ensure they are paid. Failure to do so can result in your goods being held up at customs in the destination country.

Your Trusted Food Export Partner

At SSO International Forwarding, we’re the experts in food shipping across international borders. If you’re considering exporting food from UK manufacturers to overseas markets, then we can turn your plans into reality.

We handle the process from beginning to end, finding the right method of international shipping, clearing customs, and providing onward shipping to your customers. We can advise you about regulations and ensure you are compliant.

Food products require careful handling, and our experienced team takes care to ensure your goods reach their destination safely.

We work with UK food export businesses of all sizes, from companies moving into overseas markets for the first time to established food exporters.

Our new role as the inaugural customs site operator at Freeport Liverpool allows us to pass on a range of benefits to our customers. If you’re looking for a trusted food shipping service, then we can help.

We make it possible for you to import and export food products with ease.

Contact our experienced team to find out more about our food import and export services and how we work.

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