Poultry from Norfolk and Suffolk was on the menu for the state visit by Chinese president Xi Jinping this week.
A salad of Norfolk corn-fed chicken (with kale, cucumber and radish), was served up when president Xi joined prime minister David Cameron for lunch at 10 Downing Street on Wednesday (21 October).
And crispy Gressingham duck, reared on farms in Suffolk and Norfolk, was presented at a banquet hosted by the Lord Mayor of London and the City of London at the Guildhall that evening.
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Environment secretary Elizabeth Truss welcomed the opportunity to showcase the best of British poultry which, she said, was in good demand in export markets, with 405,000 tonnes, worth £441 million, exported to more than 100 countries worldwide last year.
“I am delighted that Chinese president Xi Jinping sampled Gressingham duck and Norfolk corn-fed chicken,” she said. “These producers epitomise the very best of British food and drink, helping build on our global reputation for high-quality food that meets strict welfare standards.”
Ms Truss said she wanted to create more opportunities for poultry producers to capitalise on China’s increasing demand for healthy, high quality produce.
“Exports are key to the future of food and farming – which is why we are supporting the industry to drive up exports, by opening new markets, removing red tape and promoting British food abroad.”
Next month Ms Truss will lead a trade delegation to China, in which she will look to advance negotiations on the terms on which UK poultry can be exported.
With a population of 1.3bn, China is now the world’s largest food and drink market, and one of the UK’s fastest-growing food export markets, with over £280 million of produce exported in 2014 – more than double the 2010 figure.