Australia has been predicted to offer big opportunities for UK business following Brexit.

Overseas shipping specialist ParcelHero said it had seen a surge of interest in shipping Down Under over the past 18 months, and that there was “enormous potential” for this to grow.

Some UK bakery businesses are already embracing opportunities in Australia, which has become a key export market for Premier Foods’ Mr Kipling brand. The company said its international sales rose 26% in last quarter of 2017, with continued growth in Australia and the launch of Mr Kipling and Cadbury cake in New Zealand.

Last September, a range of gluten-free goods produced by Bells of Lazonby went on sales in 700 Woolworths stores after the business secured an export deal with Australian business Bakery Depot.

UK-based sugarcraft brand Renshaw Professional has also targeted the market with 18 lines produced specifically for Australia.

Australia has advantages for UK exporters, according ParcelHero, including high thresholds before tariffs need to be paid on imported goods, and half the country’s population being concentrated in three major cities, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane.

“Ignore all the talk of the US or BRIC nations [Brazil, Russia, India and China] being at the forefront of British exports post-Brexit,” said ParcelHero consumer research head David Jinks. “Australia seems to have been overlooked in all the excitement about new emerging markets. Yet ParcelHero has seen a surge in shipments since June 2016. This is not surprising considering our two countries have a shared language and Commonwealth heritage.”

ParcelHero said it was already sending a wide range of goods to Australia including niche British products ranging from ketchup and pickles to Highland dancing items.

“UK retailers and manufacturers are clearly setting about building relationships and investigating markets in Australia in readiness for Brexit. This is not surprising since 1.2 million Brits have made Australia their home,” added Jinks.

“Britain already ships £4.1bn of goods to Australia, making it our 21st largest export market – but there is enormous potential to drive that up considerably.”