Our friends across the Channel aren’t exactly known for their admiration of our national cuisine. But that could be an outdated perception: Tyrrells crisps, a brand that promotes itself as quintessentially English, is flying off Parisian supermarket shelves.

Despite only being sold in the capital, Tyrrells has captured a huge 61% of France’s premium crisp market. France is the largest contributor to the company’s £30m export sales, a figure that is growing at about 25% to 30% annually. “The French actually love British things,” says Tyrrells CEO David Milner. “They just can’t bring themselves to admit it.”

Despite its impressive international business, the UK still accounts for about 75% of sales. That’s not atypical - as a nation, just 20% of our food and drink sales are exported [FDF], which puts us significantly behind Germany (32%), France (33%), Spain (38%) and Ireland (40%). However, there is progress. Exports in the first half of 2014 were up 4.8% on the same two quarters in 2013, to £6.5bn. So as the global food industry descends on Paris for the sector’s biggest trade show, SIAL, what are British suppliers doing to boost exports?

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