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  • 10 Jun 2013 2:52 PM | Anonymous

    Exporters of dairy products to China are advised that more detail is now available on the new dairy regulations introduced on 1st May 2013.

    China’s General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (AQSIQ) introduced new administrative measures on the inspection, quarantine and supervision of imports and exports of dairy products from 1st May 2013. A one month transitional period applied but has now expired. Some uncertainty remains around how the regulations will be implemented. As more information becomes available we will share with you but below is the information to date.

    3All dairy product importers or agents are required to provide a test report before goods will be cleared at ports of entry. The test reports required will depend on whether it is a first time or a repeated import

    Read more on the DEFRA website

  • 06 Jun 2013 4:51 PM | Anonymous

    Loblaw has unveiled a new supermarket banner, Le Marché, which will be rolled out to its Provigo chain in Quebec this summer.

    The Le Marché format will include an "enhanced assortment" of fresh products, a new "fast-paced" checkout service and a broader selection of regional products. The stores will also offer in-store aged beef, on-site baked bagels a juice bar and a speciality cheese wall, the company said.

    "Their sleek design and unique ambiance will also help create a totally new shopping experience for customers," Loblaw claimed.

    The roll out of the new banner will begin in Montreal, which the group's Kirkland and Sherbrooke stores being converted next month. A total of seven stores will be part of the initial launch phase.

    Loblaw is working on a plan to revitalise its Quebec operations, including a new promotional focus, the appointment of a locally based management team and a franchise programme.

    Source -

  • 03 Jun 2013 5:47 PM | Anonymous
    Carrefour has set up a joint venture with a French distributor to develop a range of store formats in eight countries in West and Central Africa.

    The partnership with CFAO will be owned at 55% by CFAO and 45% by Carrefour and will have exclusive distribution rights in Cameroon, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal.

    As the world’s second-largest retailer with a presence in over 30 countries, Carrefour said it will contribute its expertise as a multi-format retailer as well as the strength of its banner in the new venture.

    CFAO, with its longstanding local presence in Africa, will bring its thorough knowledge of these markets and a deep understanding of consumer habits to the venture.

    The Carrefour Group, the world’s second largest retailer and largest in Europe, operates more than 10,000 stores in more than 30 countries.

    The Group operates different store formats – hypermarkets, supermarkets, convenience stores and cash & carry outlets – and processes 3bn cash transactions per year.

    CFAO is leading distributor of vehicle and pharmaceuticals in Africa and the French overseas territories.

    In Africa, CFAO also distributes equipment, produces and distributes consumer goods and is a provider of a number of technology-related services.

    CFAO is present in 37 countries, 32 of which are in Africa and seven in the French overseas territories. In 2012, CFAO generated €3.6bn in sales.

    Source - International Retail News -
  • 16 May 2013 5:24 PM | Anonymous
    Spar Retail – one of the Russian partners of the Dutch Spar grocery retail concern – is planning to open stores in a new premium supermarket format.

    The concept is ready, and, if it is approved, the Spar first premium class store will open in the Moscow region by the end of 2013. It will operate on a trading space of 600 m2.
    Today, the main business of Spar Retail, which now operates in the middle-plus bracket, is represented by 24 outlets in Moscow, the Moscow Province and Vladimir. Each of the stores takes up about 600 m2, and the largest variation – more than 1,000 m2.
    In Russia overall, the Spar brand is developed by 11 partners: Spar Retail, Spar Middle Volga, Spar Tula, Spar Vostok, Spar Chelyabinsk, Spar Komi, Spar Severo-Zapad, Spar Tyumen, Spar Krasnoyarsk, Spar Irkutsk and Spar Tomsk.
    According to Kommersant, in 2012 the premium subdivision of the retail market in Moscow generated sales worth more than $5bn.

    Source -
  • 01 May 2013 6:28 PM | Elsa Fairbanks (Administrator)

    By Jonathan Thomas | 30 April 2013

    Debate over growth potential of gluten free in the US

    In addition to being one of the world's largest markets for gluten-free foods, the US continues to represent one of its fastest growing.

    Estimates regarding the size of the market vary by source - for example, data from Euromonitor suggests value sales rose from US$1.2bn to US$1.35bn in 2011. Meanwhile, Leatherhead Food Research estimates market value is closer to US$2.7bn at present, up by 30% from 2006.

    Some industry sources feel the market may reach as high as US$5bn by the second half of the current decade. The US has certainly been a key focus of late for some of the market's leading suppliers. "We have expanded into the USA in the last three years... we have opened a dedicated gluten free factory in Logan, New Jersey," Emma Herring, UK retail brand manager at Dr Schär, says.
    This view is echoed by Genius Foods CEO Roz Cuschieri. "In the past couple of years, we have expanded into the USA and we have ambitious plans for continued international growth."

    From a consumer perspective at least, the potential for further growth of the US market seems promising. Recent studies suggest the number of people in the US suffering from coeliac disease has increased five-fold since the 1950s. It is thought up to three million people in the US may have coeliac disease, while an additional 40m suffer from some form of gluten intolerance or sensitivity. A study from market researchers NOP carried out this year found 30% of people agreed with the statement: "I'm trying to cut back or avoid gluten in my diet."

    Penetration of gluten-free foods amongst US consumers is also thought to have been boosted by recent growth in popularity of the Paleo diet. This diet, which is based on the eating patterns of the Paleolithic period of 10,000 years ago, emphasises a low carbohydrate intake, as well as cutting out highly processed foods (of which grain is one such example).

    Additionally, celebrities are also accrediting weight loss to gluten-free eating, leading to the growing perception that gluten free foods are generally healthier overall. Data from The Hartman Group indicates consumers between the ages of 25-34 and 50-64 are the most likely to buy gluten-free foods.

    Growing distribution and hence availability has also contributed to the recent growth in the market. Mainstream food retail channels such as supermarkets now account for almost 80% of sales of gluten free foods - a stark contrast to the situation a decade ago, when gluten-free products were largely confined to specialist outlets such as natural and health food stores.

    However, the expectation the US consumer base for gluten free foods will continue to expand is not universal. Last year, Dr Elizabeth Sloan, president of food industry forecasters Sloan Trends, suggested market growth would probably slacken off in a few years' time.
    The main reasons for this forecast were two-fold. Firstly, it was felt the size of the market was too large in proportion to its actual consumer base, and the kind of growth experienced within the last few years was not sustainable.

    Secondly, data from The Hartman Group indicates only 22% of people actually buy into the category because the products are marketed as being gluten-free. This suggests that gluten free is not the major selling point for many consumers, which will make building up customer loyalty more difficult. Furthermore, the high prices gluten-free foods typically command - in some cases, over twice as much as equivalents containing gluten - make the sector vulnerable to any future contraction in consumer spending.

    Some of the most popular gluten-free foods in the US include bakery goods (especially bread and biscuits), as well as snack foods, granola bars, ready meals, pizza and soups. Although virtually all sectors experienced growth in the two years leading up to 2012, an increase in market value of up to 60% was recorded for gluten free bread, rolls and frozen dough. In the last year, meanwhile, high rates of NPD were observed within the gluten-free crackers, snack bars and fruit snacks segments. This suggests gluten free is starting to make inroads into the large US snacking market.

    At present, the US market for gluten-free foods remains fairly fragmented in nature, with seven companies accounting for 30% of overall sales. The market is largely made up of multinationals which have expanded their ranges to cover gluten free, plus a number of smaller specialists.

    One multinational that has contributed to the rising demand for gluten free foods isGeneral Mills. In 2008, the company's Rice Chex became the first mainstream breakfast cereal brand in the US to carry gluten-free labelling.

    General Mills' activity within the sector remains high - for example, some of its other cereals such as Corn Chex and Honey Nut Chex are now marketed on a gluten-free platform, while other brands such as Betty Crocker bakery mixes have also been extended into the category. Furthermore, General Mills launched a website ( in 2009, which helps coeliacs and those with a gluten intolerance seek out suitable products, recipes and foodservice establishments.

    This trend towards companies becoming more proactive in gluten-free is also illustrated by recent events at PepsiCo. Not only has the company launched a gluten-free recipe section on its Frito-Lay North America website, but a number of its leading snacks - including Lay's Classic potato chips and Fritos Original corn chips - are now available in gluten-free varieties. PepsiCo is also engaged on a major initiative in partnership with dieticians and healthy food bloggers to improve the labelling of its gluten free foods.

    As has been mentioned, gluten-free specialists such as Dr Schär and Genius have recently entered the US market. But they are coming up against some heavy-hitting domestic competition - and not just from reformulation by mainstream companies.

    One of the largest domestic suppliers is Boulder Brands, which was known as Smart Balance until the start of 2013. The company owns major gluten-free brands such as Glutino and Udi's, and also acts as the distributor for the Genius brand in the US. Its product range includes bakery goods (e.g. bread, muffins, bagels and pastries), as well as pasta, snack foods, pizza, cereals and frozen ready meals. Meanwhile, Amy's Kitchen - the leading organic food brand in the US - also competes in the gluten-free sector in North America.

  • 01 May 2013 6:24 PM | Elsa Fairbanks (Administrator)

    By Jonathan Thomas | 30 April 2013

    What markets offer greatest scope to grow gluten-free sales?

    Aside from the US and UK, where the gluten-free category is witnessing strong growth, there are a number of other gluten free markets look likely to develop elsewhere over the coming years.

    According to Dr Schär's Emma Herring, there is an increasing globalisation of many leading market suppliers in the gluten-free category. "In the last three years, the international reach of [our] business has grown significantly... we export across the world from Australia to Belarus and have expanded into Eastern Europe and Spain."

    At the same time, UK free-from specialist Genius Foods is also expanding its presence throughout Europe - in 2012, for example, it signed a deal to stock Carrefour's Spanish stores with gluten free bread, pizza and pastries. And, earlier this month, it won its first listing in the Netherlands.

    While the US and the UK are at the forefront of growth in gluten-free, markets including Germany, Australia and Canada are also seeing demand increase.

    Western Europe

    Germany has western Europe's largest market for gluten free foods, with sales worth in the region of EUR250m (US$329.2m) in 2012. Sales have risen by almost a fifth compared with 2010, since German consumers remain receptive towards health-oriented foods. It is significant to note that many gluten-free foods frequently carry other health benefits, with lactose-free one example.

    Gluten-free products are widespread throughout Germany's retail and foodservice industries, and are well-represented in own label. The size and continued growth of the German sector is partly due to the success of Dr Schär's Glutano brand, which is the market leader and present in sectors such as bakery foods, pasta, biscuits and breakfast cereals.

    At almost EUR200m, sales of gluten-free foods are also sizeable in Italy. Up to 500,000 consumers are thought to be gluten intolerant, although this still represents less than 1% of the Italian population. One underlying reason for Italy's sizeable market is the fact that gluten-free foods are sold extensively throughout many retail channels, including supermarkets, pharmacies and drugstores.

    The Italian market is fairly distinctive in that pasta accounts for over 30% total of sales. At 26 kg, per capita consumption of pasta in Italy remains the world's highest, and market leader Barilla sells several gluten-free varieties. Bread and biscuits account for much of the remaining 70% of the Italian market.

    Compared with the UK, Germany and Italy, sales of gluten-free foods are on the low side in both France and Spain. Both markets are worth around EUR50m. At present, availability of gluten-free foods in France remains limited, with sales largely confined to health and natural food stores. However, major French supermarket groups such asCasino are now entering the market.

    Limited markets exist in the Benelux and Scandinavian countries. Swedish bakery company Fria supplies gluten-free products such as bread, rolls, cakes and muffins to a number of other western European countries, as well as its domestic market. The Swedish market is Scandinavia's largest, worth approximately US$55m.

    A sudden spike in gluten intolerance was witnessed among Swedish babies and toddlers 20 or so years ago. This was later attributed to parents suddenly introducing large quantities of gluten into their childrens' diets, after holding off for up to six months. The Swedish example led to speculation that a sudden introduction of gluten into the diet can increase the risk of developing coeliac disease.


    Like its southern neighbour, gluten-free foods are also increasing in popularity in Canada. The Canadian market is now worth between US$40m and $50m per annum, having grown as a result of the rising number of people diagnosed with coeliac disease. An estimated 7m Canadians are now thought to regularly buy gluten-free foods.

    As yet, many of Canada's food manufacturers and retailers have yet to embrace the gluten-free trend to a significant extent. However, there are signs this situation is changing, as more companies become alert to the opportunities presenting themselves.PepsiCo, for example, now certifies the potato crisps in its Lay's range as gluten-free. Meanwhile, food retailer Loblaw entered the gluten-free market towards the end of 2012 with the launch of new bakery products. The company has planned further activity for 2013, targeting sectors such as pasta.


    Among Asia-Pacific countries, Australia represents one of the region's largest markets. Coeliac disease is thought to affect more than 1% of the Australian population, although it is possible that as many of 80% of these people are undiagnosed. This means more than 150,000 Australians may suffer from coeliac disease, but are as yet unaware of this fact.

    Like the UK, Australia has an organisation dedicated to supporting those with coeliac disease. Coeliac Australia aims "to encourage and research towards a cure or other ethical forms of treatment for coeliac disease". Recent research from the organisation indicates 10% of the population are now following a gluten-free diet, while Datamonitor information indicates 18% of Australians are avoiding certain foods due to perceived allergies and intolerances.

    This indicates a sizeable potential market exists in Australia. At present, the market is worth approximately US$90m, although sales are expected to increase by almost US$100m by the middle of the current decade as the consumer base expands. Some of the more dynamic sectors of the Australian market include biscuits/cookies, savoury snacks and meat products, where NPD levels have all been high.

    An interesting development to have taken place in Australia was the recent launch of GlutenSwitch, a new mobile phone app. This is a new filter for the FoodSwitch app developed by Bupa and The George Institute, and enables gluten-intolerant consumers to make healthy food choices. By scanning the barcodes of packaged foods with smartphones, GlutenSwitch provides users with an instant indication on whether the product contains gluten, as well as other health information such as fat and salt levels.

    "This isn't about chasing a fad... GlutenSwitch helps consumers who must maintain a gluten-free diet choose the best options for their health," Paul Bates, Bupa's chief medical officer, said of the app.


    Another market which indicates signs of promise is Israel, where approximately 25,000 people have been diagnosed with coeliac disease. Although this still represents less than 0.5% of the total Israeli population, the country's gluten-free foods market continues to develop. It should be remembered the majority of Israeli consumers follow strict dietary requirements on account of kosher laws, so interest in what goes into their foods is already high.

    Recent years have seen the emergence of gluten free alternatives to some traditional favourites in the Israeli diet - examples include bread, pizza and bourekas (a form of pastry). Besides the retail market, some Israeli restaurants and cafes have also started offering gluten-free bread and rolls for coeliac customers.

  • 01 Jan 2013 9:30 AM | Anonymous

    British companies exporting food and drink to the United States need to quickly re-register with the US Government after it overhauled its rules.

    The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has advised that every foreign and domestic food company must sign up again by 31 January otherwise they will temporarily lose access to the US market.

    The US Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) was signed into US law on 4 January 2011 and represents the largest overhaul of U.S. food regulations in over 70 years. FSMA requires biennial renewal of both foreign and domestic food facility registrations on each even-numbered year. Beginning in 2012, even if a facility has previously registered with the FDA, it will need to re-register every two years within the registration period, normally 1 October to 31 December. However, this year, the online registration system was delayed until 22 October so the FDA extended the registration period to a revised deadline of 31 January 2013.

    Guidance on registration requirements (including U.S. agent requirements) can be found here, access the online registration system.

    Other regulations and guidance that are relevant to importers are still under development 
  • 18 Sep 2012 3:25 PM | Anonymous

    India's government has once again cleared a controversial plan to open up its lucrative retail sector to global supermarket chains.  Last year, the government suspended a similar plan after fierce opposition from its allies and political rivals. International firms will now be able to buy up to a 51% stake in multi-brand retailers. 

    Analysts say the government has reintroduced the measure in an effort to revive a flagging economy.


  • 22 Aug 2012 6:19 PM | Elsa Fairbanks (Administrator)

    CHINA: China to impose nutrition facts label on pre-packed foods

    By: Wang Fangqing | 22 August 2012

    Chinese consumers will turn to healthier foods when labels are introduced, health official said

    Chinese consumers will turn to healthier foods when labels are introduced, health official said

    New Chinese labelling rules in force from next year should change consumer behaviour, encouraging the purchase of healthier foods, a government health expert has told just-food.

    Beijing says pre-packaged foods must carry nutrition fact sheets on labels, stating calories, protein, fat, carbohydrate and sodium content. Trans fats will have to be declared.

    A senior researcher at the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention, a health ministry agency, said the Ministry of Health "will be supervising the nutrition facts label and there will be a department examining if the numbers are authentic".

    She said Chinese consumers have been consuming excess sodium, increasing hypertension and cardiovascular disease. "It is essential for China to introduce the nutrition facts label," she added.

    Ministry documents stressed the labelling regulation was part of China's 12th five-year plan's goal of building a basic domestic food safety system by 2016. Su Zhi, a ministry official, has told Chinese language media tthe ministry is also working on two additional regulations limiting food contamination and pathogens.

  • 18 Jul 2012 2:46 PM | Elsa Fairbanks (Administrator)
    GLOBAL: Fairtrade sales up 12% in 2011

    By: Dean Best | 17 July 2012

    Fairtrade sales resilient despite downturn

    Fairtrade sales resilient despite downturn

    International sales of Fairtrade products increased 12% in 2011 as consumers continued to pay a premium for goods marked with the ethical certification despite the downturn.

    Sales reached EUR4.92bn (US$6.05bn) last year, according to data from Fairtrade International, a body that sets certification standards in markets around the world.

    In the UK, the biggest market for Fairtrade, sales matched the global growth rate of 12%, hitting EUR1.5bn.

    Sales in the US, the second-largest market for Fairtrade, were up 10% to EUR1.03bn. Fairtrade International said the US data was "projected" from figures it had for the period from 2008 to 2010. Fairtrade USA resigned from Fairtrade International last September. The US association said at the time there were "different perspectives" on how to "empower" workers and producers to "improve their lives through better terms of trade".

    Markets in Europe hit by the crisis in the eurozone still saw sales of Fairtrade products on the up. Sales in Italy increased 16% and in Spain rose 39%.

    With many Fairtrade products either being shipped from or based on ingredients from emerging markets, the jump in sales in South Africa stood out. In 2011, South Africans purchased EUR7.3m of Fairtrade products, up from EUR1.9m a year before.


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