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Some things to consider before beginning your food export journey

Thinking about expanding your horizon and delving into the world of export may leave you feeling a little lost. Although it can be a mammoth task, you don’t need years of experience or a dedicated export department to get started. Exporting can be a financially rewarding operation which will not only put your brand on the map but open doors to new opportunities and growth.

Before you dive in headfirst, it’s a good idea to create a checklist of things you will need on hand when the overseas buyers begin to take interest in you and your product. Take a read of this blog and consider getting these tasks done before you take your brand worldwide.

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An export strategy

If your business is succeeding in the UK, the likelihood is that you have a solid strategy in place driving your success. That strategy may differ when it comes to exporting. The four things you should initially consider are the where, when, how and with what.


You need to know where your products will most likely succeed, therefore, research is key. Uncovering consumption rates and import statistics is a good place to start, as well as looking at competitors and where they’re exporting to. Once you have a shortlist of prospect countries, dig deeper into the countries’ demographics, their cultural practices and religions and recognise what you’re going to have to do to stand out from the crowd.


Understanding and recognising your current situation before beginning your export journey is essential. Do you have capacity to fulfil international orders? Manufacturing capacity is one thing to consider, but do you or members of your team have time to take on the extra workload that will come with exporting? Is dedicating time to overseas orders going to mean that you are neglecting your reliable UK custom?


Considering how you’re going to start exporting your products will lead to many questions. Would it be feasible for you to set up a ‘hub’ within a country outside of the UK to minimise logistical issues and ensure a smoother process? Would you consider using consolidated shipping? Another angle to consider is how are you going to network with potential buyers? Are you able to dedicate time to attending international trade shows?

With what

You could have an extensive product range but trying to export all of them may not be the most sustainable way forward. Assessing your product line and evaluating which products would work best in different markets will be the most effective way to export successfully.
Company Presentation

Once you have contacted buyers and they start to show interest in, you will need to present your brand and products to convince them that your brand is congruent to theirs. To do this, ensure that you have a professional, concise, and informative presentation to give the best first impression. Using presentation software such as Microsoft Office PowerPoint, Keynote or Prezi will allow you to present professionally and visually, whilst including key information that you will want the buyers to retain.

Trademark and IP Protection

Gaining protection on your products is vital when exporting to other countries and this should align with your exporting strategy. You must seek Trademark and IP protection within the countries you wish to export to, in order to protect your brand and products from counterfeits.

EORI number

If you want to move products between Great Britain and the EU, Northern Ireland, The Channel Islands, or any other non-EU country, you will need to an Economic Operators Registration and Identification (EORI) number for your business. The type of EORI number will vary based on where you wish to ship goods to, so it is important to check that you have the correct number before moving your products to avoid unnecessary delays and additional costs at customs.

Does your company have accreditations?

Some buyers or countries will require you to have specific accreditations before stocking your product. Some accreditations which buyers like to see are SALSA, BRC and Kosher if they are possible to achieve. If the necessary accreditations are not possessed by companies, this could delay your exporting journey. Do your research and find out what your target markets require from your brand.

The right Commodity codes for your product

Putting Commodity codes on products allows goods to be classified for you to pay the correct Customs duty, import VAT and for you to be able to complete further paperwork such as declarations. To do this, you can use the website to see how your product is classified and what code is suitable for it.


There is a lot to consider before beginning your export journey, but don’t let the small details discourage you from taking the next step. If you need further support and would like to talk to exporting experts with real industry experience, contact us.

If you are a Food and Drink producer based in Wales, how about joining the Food & Drink Wales Export Cluster where you could be eligible to fully funded exporting support. The Cluster offers many ways of support, from tailored export training, access to Trade Development visits, opportunities to network and co-operate with other members to a free Export Cluster helpline. If you would like to become a member, get in touch today.

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