Food and drink exports tough out the recession

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Drink exports Saudi arabia United arab emirates

Britain’s food and drink exports maintained their value of £12.1bn last year
Britain’s food and drink exports maintained their value of £12.1bn last year
Britain’s food and drink exports are remaining resilient during the recession – with total UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports for last year maintaining their value of £12.1bn, according to the Food and and Drink Federation (FDF).

The top three growth categories were: chocolate, which rose by 19.3% to £524M; coffee, which climbed by 9.7% to reach £148M; and sauces and condiments, up by 8.9% to £227M, compared with 2011.

The top three export destinations for UK food and drink were Saudi Arabia, up by 35.2% to £118M, the United Arab Emirates, up by 24.9% to £153M and Sweden, which climbed by 16.5% to £198M on the previous year.

‘Very tough trading year’

The FDF’s economic and commercial services director, Steve Barnes, said: “Despite a very tough trading year, food and drink exports remain resilient. Last year’s poor UK harvest and the continued contraction of key EU markets have both had a significant impact on overall performance.

“Nevertheless, food and drink manufacturers have continued to make strong in-roads abroad, travelling further afield to drive sales of great British-made products. At a time when other sectors are struggling to find demand overseas, this achievement should be applauded and encouraged.”  

‘Other key trends’

Other key trends were growth in exports of value-added food products – up by 3.7%. But that was counterbalanced by sharp falls in some of the UK’s largest commodity categories, such as cereals, which fell by 27.9%.

Last year’s poor UK harvest impacted heavily on the supply of grain available for export. The value of cereal exports fell by £160M in the fourth quarter alone, compared with the same period of 2011.

The statistics revealed a further contraction of 1.4% in exports to the 27 EU Member States. That was offset by continued growth to non-EU markets, up by 4.6%.

Overall, exports from other UK industry sectors fell by 4.5%.


Food exports – at a glance

Growth categories

Chocolate:                              +19.3% to £524M

Sweet biscuits:                       +2.7% to £279M

Sauces and condiments:          +8.9% to £227M

Cakes:                                    +7.9% to £200M

Coffee:                                    +9.7% to £148m       


Top markets:

Saudi Arabia:                          +35.2% to £118M

United Arab Emirates:              +24.9% to £153M

Sweden:                                  +16.5% to £198M

Australia:                                +12.6% to £114M

China:                                     +11% to £110M


Source: FDF.

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