The FDF’s half-year food and non-alcoholic drinks results were hailed as “very encouraging” and “excellent news” after the total number of exports increased following a fall in overall exports last year – the first fall in 10 years.
Branded exports to non-EU countries reported better than expected results, rising by £93.7M, up by 14%. Meanwhile, branded exports to the EU rose by £47.5M (2.9%).
The value of branded food and drink exports increased to £2.4bn in the first half this year, an increase of £141M (6.2%) compared with the first half of 2015.
Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) director Elsa Fairbanks said: “FDEA is very encouraged by the improved export performance for the first half of 2016, which reflects the commitment that many food and drink companies are making to grow the international side of their business.
“A significant number of our members are reporting that their export customers are now proving to be a vital part of a thriving business.”
Elsewhere, FDF director general Ian Wright said: “Following a weaker performance in 2015, the growth of value added exports we’ve seen in [the first half of 2016] is excellent news for our industry and a positive step toward achieving FDF’s export ambition.
“It’s also very pleasing to see non-EU exports performing beyond expectations, with UK firms taking advantage of increased competitiveness.”
Malaysia, China and the US saw the greatest export market value growth over the past 12 months, with growth of 268.5%, 100.9% and 31.6% respectively.
‘Prospective economic uncertainty’
Wright added: “We eagerly await the launch of DEFRA’s [Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] export plan to see how government intends on supporting our industry overseas in a time of prospective economic uncertainty.”
The FDF had previously set a target of growing value-added food and drink exports by 33% by 2020. The target would achieve a total value of £6bn.
Meanwhile, the FDF and FDEA developed the ‘Exports – Five Steps to Food and Drink Exporting Success’ guide in April 2016. The guide provided useful information and tips on research and exporting opportunities for manufacturers.
First-half food and non-alcoholic drink exports results – at a glance
- Total exports up 8.7%
- Branded export value up 6.2%
- First rise in total exports since 2015 dip – first dip in 10 years