Even if the Eurozone collapsed , there was no reason why exports to continental countries would suffer, said the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).
Its director of communications Terry Jones told FoodManufacture.co.uk: “We know that over the recessionary period food and drink exports continued to increase and domestic output was also largely unaffected.
“Even if the UK or EU drops back into a recession there is no reason why we would expect exports of food and drink to fall.”
Exports to the EU increased by 12% in the first quarter of this year, according to Jones. This figure increased further for the period ending September 30, with exports to the EU rising by 9.5%. Exports to the Eurozone rose by 8.4% for the same period.
He added: “All the evidence from previous quarters of our food and drink export data suggest that food and drink manufacturers will remain in growth.
“Our products tend to be sheltered from any major difficulties because of the importance of food and drink to the consumer and the fact that changes in consumer spending do not typically result in less food being demanded.”
This is due in part to the expertise of marketing and the role retailers play through promotions for example in the UK and abroad, added Jones.
Jones warned however that despite the confidence within the industry, many firms will be “monitoring the situation closely” and will have measures in place to respond to a potential collapse.
He said: “In terms of what our manufacturers are doing to safe guard against a reduction in exports, it will vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, as they are will all have different overseas growth strategies in place, depending on the markets they are aiming to reach and grow in but we can be sure that they will be monitoring the situation closely.”
Earlier this week the FDF’s Business Confidence Survey noted an 11% fall in business optimism during the third quarter of this year compared with the previous three months. Only 12% of respondents expressed more optimism. Those who felt less optimistic highlighted concerns about the economy and the continuing European financial crisis.
Meanwhile, earlier this month, a report from European industry body FoodDrinkEurope (FDE) warned that the industry’s export market would continue to shrink, to the benefit of emerging economies.
The FDE also called for firms to increase investment in R&D to boost levels of innovation in Europe’s food and drink industry.
Jesus Serafin Perez, president of FoodDrinkEurope, said: “In times of crisis, we must work together to accelerate economic recovery. Europe’s food and drink industry can help feed this recovery through growth, securing access to new markets, reformulating old favourites, bringing new products to the market and meeting the needs of Europe’s 500M consumers.
"But to do that, we need a strong Europe underpinned by a strong single market.”