Why drinks maker Belvoir Fruit Farms has a thirst for a UK free trade deal with the USA

A Vale of Belvoir drinks manufacturer is hoping for a boost to its overseas sales when the Government agrees a free deal with the USA.

By Paul Grinnell
Wednesday, 4th March 2020, 8:20 am
Lee Hemmings, director of international at Belvoir Fruit Farms.

Bottesford-based Belvoir Fruit Farms has been held up by the Government as an example of the type of business it aims to help after unveiling its negotiating goals for a free trade agreement with America.

Lee Hemmings Director of International at the family-run Belvoir Fruit Farms, said: “A free trade agreement will make trade between the UK and the US even easier for small and medium-sized enterprises like Belvoir, by reducing trade barriers and allowing us to be more competitive against US domestic brands.

“We’d like to see from a trade agreement with the US a closer working relationship and ultimately a reduction in tariffs, which will allow us to be more competitive in the market.”

Elderflower Cordial.

Belvoir Fruit Farms, which has been making its range of award winning flower and fruit Cordials and Pressés since 1984, has been growing its US sales for some time.

Mr Hemmings said: “The Department of International Trade helped us to secure a new distributor in the US, which has resulted in a major increase in sales there and we expect this success to continue.

“Our US sales are now projected to reach £10 million by 2022.”

Belvoir Cordials now being stocked on US supermarket shelves across the country, including in Wholefoods, Cost Plus and Total Wine.

But Mr Hemmings said that while the business saw huge potential for its drinks in the US, there were challenges.

He said: “The North American market loves the provenance and heritage associated with the brand but also the fact that the company only uses honest, natural ingredients and no artificial sweeteners, colourings, flavourings or preservatives in the making of its drinks.

“But for SMEs, like ourselves, we are constantly on the backfoot compared to domestic brands in the US because of tariffs.

“We are less sensitive to these tariffs because of the uniqueness of our products however, they actively deter other small businesses from even attempting to export to the US.”

Belvoir Fruits Farms’ overseas sales have risen 20 per cent year on year and it exports to 44 countries with its key markets in the US, Australia, France, Holland and the UAE.

Despite the Government’s current focus on trade in the USA, for Belvoir Fruits Farms its trade with the EU is greater than that with America.

Mr Hemmings said: “We trade with over 10 EU countries, the uncertainty with the EU is not helping businesses in the UK, but in true British spirit we will find a way to make a no deal work if we end up with this scenario.”