UK food and drink exports hit £10.6bn in first half of 2018

By Aidan Fortune

- Last updated on GMT

UK food and drink exports are on the rise
UK food and drink exports are on the rise
Meat, dairy and alcohol helped drive UK food and drink exports to £10.6bn for the first half of the year, with the US, China and Hong Kong the main recipients.

According to the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, UK food and drink businesses are now selling their products to over 200 global markets.

UK seasonal favourites did well in the first half of the year, with 64m litres of ice cream and over 500t of strawberries sold abroad.

Traditional barbeque produce, such as sausages and cuts of beef rose by 48% and 17% respectively, partly due to new meat export markets opening. This is expected to rise further with the recent announcement that China will lift its BSE ban on British beef, which is estimated to generate £250m in the first five years alone.

Taiwan will also soon be importing UK pork for the first time – worth an estimated £50m over five years to the UK’s industry.

Whisky, beer and salmon

British produce such as whisky, worth £2bn, beer worth £235m and smoked salmon worth £308m are selling well abroad.

Food Minister George Eustice said: "Consumers across the globe know British produce is delicious. They also know it is high in quality and backed by high standards of animal welfare. This is why we are continuing to see a huge growth in the worldwide demand for the best of what British farmers and food producers have to offer.

"This world-leading industry already boosts our economy by over £110bn each year, and leaving the EU will give our food and drink producers an unparalleled opportunity to tap into more markets and take advantage of the UK’s position as a truly global nation."

A team of the Government’s trade experts have also been on hand to provide guidance to UK businesses as they enter into overseas markets for the first time or consider expanding their current global customer base

Ice cream’s export success

One ice cream company who has benefitted from Government guidance is Somerset-based firm Granny Gothards. Established in 2012, the business now exports to Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai and has recently branched out into China.

Founder of the firm Amanda Stansfield said: "After the success of our ice creams in Dubai it seems an ideal time to now establish our brand in China. Seeking expert advice is key for any business looking to export produce to China.

"The support from government trade advisers has been vital in navigating this process. Sheffield-based ice cream makers Yee Kwan have also been successful at branching out into exporting. Inspired by the tastes of East Asia – with current flavours including black sesame seed, matcha green tea and chocolate miso - the company exports to 10 European countries via their supply with Wagamama, as well as Kuwait. They will soon be working with a Chinese distributor, with orders expected next year."

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