Bristol SME Bites Into Global Demand For British Food And Drink


A Bristol-based distributor of British food and drink that gives expats a taste of home is expanding into new international markets after recent export wins in Hong Kong, South Korea and Saudi Arabia.

British Corner Shop, established in 1999, specialises in exporting British branded food and drink, including McVitie’s and Marmite, to consumers, retailers and wholesalers in markets with a high expat population.

The business secured orders worth £15,000 in Hong Kong and South Korea thanks to an ‘Export for Growth’ bursary, enabling British Corner shop to visit these new markets and foster new relationships with customers on the ground. The company has also recently secured orders worth £130,000 with its distribution partner in Saudi Arabia. The business was introduced to the ‘Export for Growth’ bursary by International Trade Advisers (ITAs) through the Food is GREAT campaign.

Food is GREAT is a joint initiative between the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT). Food is GREAT aims to showcase UK food and drink abroad and help more businesses export.

Driven by an increasing global demand for UK food and drink, the business already has a strong foothold in the US with exports there totalling £2.5 million.

British Corner Shop’s overall exports topped £14million in the year to March 2019 and the business anticipates a 30% increase in wholesale and home delivery orders year on year, with this figure set to double by 2021.

Ben White, Head of Business Development and Partnerships at British Corner Shop, said:

“It’s been a strong start to the financial year and we have more lucrative opportunities in the pipeline to look forward to, with new markets in Hong Kong and South Korea holding promise for the business.

“Off the back of this recent jump in export activity, we’ve even been looking to grow our team, having hired three new sales members and expanding our finance and marketing departments.

“We wouldn’t be in this position without support from DIT and Defra, who’ve particularly helped us to expand into new and existing markets through various trade shows across the globe. These networking events are invaluable when it comes to creating new leads and tapping into brand new territories. We’ve learned a lot on our exporting journey, and while we’ve already made huge strides, we’ve received ongoing support available from both DIT and Defra. No matter how niche or well-known the brands, or how far they are into their exporting journey, they can export just like us.”

British Corner Shop have attended several DIT events, including a roundtable discussion on exporting to Argentina, as well as an Exporting to the Caribbean event where they were introduced to several leads, securing orders to Jamaica and Trinidad worth £45,000 and £30,000 respectively as a result of those introductions. They also recently joined DIT’s Latin America and Caribbean (LATAC) Roadshow. LATAC includes 48 countries and territories with a growing middle-class population, resulting in increased demand for high-quality products and services. The business shared stories of their success in LATAC at DIT’s ‘Trading in the Caribbean’ event this month (July), and offered insight into the opportunities for South West businesses.

Paul Shand, DIT’s Head of Trade in the South West, said:

“With growing overseas demand for UK food and drink, it’s exciting to see UK SMEs making the most of international opportunities by exporting. British Corner Shop is flying the flag for our produce and taking other UK food and drink brands with them.

“South West food and drink exports totalled £823 million in 2018, showing that the demand is out there and that now really is the time to export. For businesses in their early days of exporting, or for more seasoned exporters like British Corner Shop eager to capitalise on this, we have a team of dedicated trade advisors on hand across the region, and in more than 109 overseas markets, to help ease all sorts of linguistic, legal or strategic challenges.”

Companies looking for support on their export journeys should contact 01275 370 944 or email They can also visit which lists live export opportunities and general information on exporting and events.