Non-EU markets fuel UK food export growth

By Ben Bouckley

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Drink exports European union United arab emirates

Food and drink trade figures for the first half of 2010 show that UK exports have risen by 8.1% compared to the same period of 2009, with non-EU markets fuelling growth.

According to a report released by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), total food and drink exports (including alcoholic beverages) were £7.35bn, 8.1% up on the first half of 2009, with growth strongest in the dairy sector (up 21.3%), the worst-performer throughout 2009.

Collective UK exports of tea, coffee, cocoa and spices increased 10.7% – with coffee showing a marked rise of 34.1%. The meat sector posted increases of 8.2%, with pork (up 33.6%) and beef (up 15.3%) leading the way.

Outside the EU, exports to Hong Kong were up 49.3% with poultry doing well, while exports to the US rose 41% driven by strong uptake of UK-produced fish/seafood, coffee and wheat.

EU slump

The United Arab Emirates was also a strong growth market (+39.3%), with sauces/condiments, milk and cream the star performers. Outside of the UK’s top 20 food and drink export countries, Israel also registered impressive growth of 92.2%.

However, the positive figures come against the backdrop of flat exports to the EU for food and non-alcoholic drinks (up only 0.2% to 77.3%) as the percentage share of exports to the Eurozone slipped to their lowest point since enlargement in 2009.

Declines were particularly marked to Holland, Italy, Poland and Greece, although key growth markets include Germany, Portugal, Finland and the Czech Republic.

Nonetheless, the report predicts that EU exports will pick up throughout 2010 given a “more positive ​[economic] environment”​, and forecasts that exports of food and non-alcoholic drinks will break the £10bn barrier for the first time at the year’s end.

*Figures compiled for the FDF by Leatherhead Food Research

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