UK food and drink imports hit £23bn for first six months of 2018

By Michelle Perrett

- Last updated on GMT

The UK imported £23bn worth of food and drink in the first half of 2018
The UK imported £23bn worth of food and drink in the first half of 2018
The UK’s total food and drink imports in the first six months of 2018 cost over £23bn, analysis of HM Revenue & Customs import data has revealed.

The research by​ found that 21m tonnes of food were imported into Britain from January to June 2018.  It discovered that almost £5bn of this was meat, £1.5bn wine, and £1.1bn fish.

Despite Italy’s reputation for pizza prominence, the country only provided the UK with 5% of the £223m-worth of pizza imported in the first half of 2018.

In the study of 191 countries, it was found that although Italy supplies 94% of Britain’s imported pasta and is the second-largest exporter of tomatoes and mozzarella, it only provides the UK with £11m-worth of pizza.

Most of the pizza from overseas actually comes from Germany, France and Spain, which together import 56%.

Over £143m-worth of cheddar cheese was imported from outside the UK, for example, and beer was brought in en masse from Mexico and Ireland, contributing £97m to the UK alcohol economy.

The analysis brought to light other facts about UK imports, including that Ireland is the biggest importer of cheese, the UK gets more avocadoes from Israel than anything else and Antarctica’s only significant exports to the UK were herbs and spices.

The UK imports £597m-worth (172,243,422kg) of chocolate from 57 countries and £408m-worth of other cocoa products from a grand total of 60 countries.

Mark Reeves of​, said: “What we discovered by looking into the data behind our imports is that a huge amount of what we eat in the UK comes from outside of the country.

“There were some astounding figures – like the £5.4bn-worth of fruit and veg we import in half a year – but we also stumbled upon some interesting facts, such as Antarctica’s contribution of £7,911-worth of herbs and spices.”

Related news

Show more