Food and drink exports pick up after slow start

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: International trade, Food and drink, United kingdom, Fdf, Eu, Food and drink federation

Food and non-alcoholic drink exports rose by 2.5% to £6.1bn, after a slow start in the first quarter
Food and non-alcoholic drink exports rose by 2.5% to £6.1bn, after a slow start in the first quarter
Exports of British food and non-alcoholic drink rose by 2.5% to £6.1bn in the first half of 2013, after a slow start, revealed figures released today (September 23) by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

Strong second quarter growth of 9% – with June exports up by 13% – helped to offset the slow start to the year, when exports fell by 3.4% in the first quarter, compared with the same period of last year.

Exports to the EU nudged up by 1%, while exports to non-EU markets rose by 7.5%. Soaring British pork exports – up by a meteoric 591% – resulted in China climbing 10 places to enter the top 10 markets for British food and drink companies.

Value-added foods

Exports of value-added foods rose to both EU and non-EU markets – climbing by 4.9% and 8.2% respectively. Sweet biscuits deliveries recorded particularly strongly growth at 14.2%.

Sugar confectionery exports rose by 6.8% to £86M, while cheese exports were 3.8% to £210M. Soft drinks exports were 5.5% up at £187M.

Meanwhile, cumulative UK exports fell by 3.3%.

Steve Barnes, FDF’s economic and commercial services director, blamed the slow start to the first quarter exports on recession in the Eurozone, extreme weather, and the UK still feeling the effects of a disappointing 2012 harvest.

‘Pulled out of recession’

“However, Q2 was much better as the EU pulled out of recession and consumer confidence grew,”​ said Barnes. “The performance to non-EU markets was hugely encouraging in particular and a credit to companies investing to grow internationally.” 

Barnes added that there was “huge untapped potential” for boosting British food and drink exports.

To help equip food and drink companies with the information they needed to boost export potential, FDF launched a new guide, ‘10 Steps to Export Success’​.

The FDF is taking part in the launch today of the Open To Export Food & Drink Focus Week. This is an online initiative​ to help food and drink firms boost their export orders.

The full exports report is available here​.


Export category highlights

  • Chocolate: 5.4% to £249M
  • Cheese: 3.8% to £210M
  • Soft drinks: 5.5% to £187M
  • Sweet Biscuits: 14.2% to £136M
  • Sugar confectionery: 6.8% to £86M


Top export markets

  • China: 126% to £102M
  • Australia: 25.9% to £55M
  • South Africa: 25.4% to £50M
  • Hong Kong: 24.9% to £73M
  • Denmark: 10.8% to £108M

Source: FDF

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