British Food Faces an Uphill Battle in Asian Markets Post-Brexit

by Ella

In the vibrant world of Asian cuisine, where discussions about food can spark endless conversations, British fare finds itself struggling to make a lasting impression. A recent visit by the BBC to one of Asia’s premier food and drink events revealed a stark reality: British cuisine fails to captivate the taste buds of many Asian consumers.

“British food?” queried a Thai attendee with a hint of confusion. “Um… I’m not quite sure what that entails. Is it something like sausage?” Nearby, a Malaysian individual dismissed British cuisine as “boring” and “nothing special,” echoing sentiments shared by others at the event.


These sentiments underscore the challenges faced by British exporters, who had been promised newfound opportunities in lucrative markets following Brexit. Despite optimistic rhetoric from former International Trade Secretary Liz Truss, the reality paints a different picture.


Stephen Jones, managing director of cheese exporters Somerdale International, acknowledges the uphill battle of introducing British delicacies to Asian palates. At the FHA Food and Beverage Trade Show in Singapore, Jones introduces locals to British cheeses like Stinking Bishop and Wensleydale, recognizing the formidable competition posed by European counterparts with centuries-long culinary traditions.


While the UK pavilion at the event struggles to garner attention, Italy’s extravagant display nearby captivates attendees with live cooking demonstrations and Michelin-starred chefs. For Italy, food exports serve not only as economic drivers but also as acts of cultural diplomacy, underscoring the strategic significance of culinary promotion in global markets.


Giuseppina Pravato, owner of Jupiter 57, an Italian delicatessen in Singapore, reflects on the extensive efforts required to establish Italian cuisine in Asian markets, highlighting the importance of sustained promotional activities and tastings.

The discrepancy between British and Italian food exports is indicative of broader economic disparities, with Italy boasting significantly higher export figures and a more robust reputation in global markets. Despite this, British food exporters remain optimistic about their potential in Asian markets, emphasizing the need for greater government support to bolster their efforts.

Karen Beston from the Food and Drink Exporters Association laments the lack of government funding for trade shows, which hampers the UK’s ability to compete effectively on the global stage. Although the UK government emphasizes its commitment to promoting British exports, critics argue that more tangible support is needed to level the playing field.

While the UK has made strides in expanding its food exports to Asia, challenges persist, particularly in the aftermath of Brexit. The EU market, four times larger than Asia’s, remains a crucial trading partner, despite mounting post-Brexit trade complications.

Brexit-related issues, including increased bureaucracy and red tape, have exacerbated challenges for British exporters, making trade with European countries increasingly cumbersome. Despite this, the UK government remains optimistic about the long-term prospects of forging new trade partnerships beyond the EU.

As British exporters navigate the complexities of post-Brexit trade, they recognize the potential of Asian markets and the allure of the Union Jack as a symbol of quality and food safety. With perseverance and strategic engagement, British cuisine may yet find its place on the global culinary stage, one Wensleydale cheese at a time.



Wellfoodrecipes is a professional gourmet portal, the main columns include gourmet recipes, healthy diet, desserts, festival recipes, meat and seafood recipes, etc.

【Contact us: [email protected]

Copyright © 2023