UK food and drink exports grow 15% to £5.9bn in Q3

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Helping food and drink exporters boost sales is the aim of Food Manufacture’s Food Export conference at Ardencote Manor, Warwickshire on February 8, 2018. See box for details
Helping food and drink exporters boost sales is the aim of Food Manufacture’s Food Export conference at Ardencote Manor, Warwickshire on February 8, 2018. See box for details

Related tags: Drink exports, International trade, Eu

UK exports of food and drink rose by 15% to reach £5.9bn in the third quarter of this year compared with the same period of 2016.

While the EU remains the nation’s most important export destination, deliveries to non-EU markets rose by 18.2%  –  compared with 12.5% growth to EU markets. Food and drink exports to the EU accounted for 58.87% of total overseas sales.

Measured by value, the top three destinations for UK food and drink were: Ireland, France and the US in the first nine months of this year. The US remained the UK’s top non-EU market for exports of food and drink, reaching £1.6bn, up 7.7%.

Three fastest growing export markets

The three fastest growing export markets, in the first nine months of the year, were the Philippines, which registered 289% growth, Latvia, achieving 116% increase and Iceland, which climbed 73.2%.

The next biggest increase in export sales was recorded by South Korea, which increased by 55% and Romania, which rose by 48%.

During the nine months, the top three fastest growing export products were: liquid milk and cream, butter and spreads, and vegetable oils.

Food and Drink Federation (FDF) director general Ian Wright CBE said the growth of food and drink exports demonstrated the strength of UK production in international markets. “UK food and drink is recognised throughout the world for its quality and we must be ready to take advantage of the opportunities created from leaving the EU,”​ he said.

‘Fewer than one in five food and drink manufacturers’

The EU remained the UK’s number one trading partner, he highlighted. “With fewer than one in five food and drink manufacturers exporting, it is vital that we continue to work closely with government in order to take advantage of the opportunities to sell Great British and Northern Irish food and drink abroad.”

Exports of branded goods grew by 12.7% to £4.3bn over the first nine months of this year. The results demonstrated strong progress towards achieving the FDF’s branded export ambition ahead of schedule, claimed the federation. In 2015, FDF set a target to grow exports of branded food and non-alcoholic drink by a third, from a 2014 baseline, reaching £6bn by 2020.

The Food & Drink Exports Association (FDEA) said: “Our challenge is to ensure that new exporters have the confidence to develop markets closer to home and the skills and knowledge to explore the important but often complex markets further afield.”

Earlier this week, former top civil servant Sir Ivan Rogers warned in his inaugural Henry Plumb Lecture that failing to strike a trade deal with the EU before Brexit would be “a very bad deal indeed”​ for the UK food and farming industry.

Food Xport Conference, February 8 Ardencote Manor, Warwickshire

Designed to help food and drink manufacturers boost sales in global exports markets, The Food Xport Conference will take place at Ardencote Manor, Warwickshire on February 8 2018. Staged by the Food Manufacture Group and sister titles British Baker​ and Meat Trades Journal​, the one-day conference will include key advice from food and drink exporters. There will also be guidance on how to find help available from government, legal considerations and way to identify the best overseas markets for your product category. Read the conference programme here​ and full list of speakers here​.

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