International sales were up 12.3% compared with the same period last year and were the largest value of food and drink exports ever for an opening quarter of the year. UK food and drink exports are now worth £22bn a year, almost doubling since 2007, according to the latest figures from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs.
Speaking at the Food and Drink Federation’s annual convention today (14 May), minister for investment Graham Stuart said: “The explosion in demand for British produce across the globe is fuelled by our reputation for excellence, high standards and culinary innovation.
‘Badge of excellence’
“From Scottish salmon, to West Country Cheddar, right through to Welsh lamb and Northern Irish mussels, consumers worldwide simply can’t get enough of our premium produce. The growing army of discerning consumers across the globe consider the ‘made in the UK’ produce mark as a badge of excellence.”
Stuart went on to address concerns over Brexit, setting out steps the Government would take to mitigate any negative impacts on the sector and what his department was doing to maximise opportunities for food and drink firms in markets outside Europe.
“We want to continue to build upon our already deep trade ties with our EU partners while also looking outwards at the other faster-growing markets around the world,” he added.
“That’s why we’ve established working groups with a range of key trade partners, including the US, India, China and Japan. These big-hitting economies are the future of global trade growth.”
Meanwhile, last month, meat trade representatives expressed ‘relief’ that EU Member States had agreed the UK’s listed status to export live animals and animal products as a third country in a no-deal Brexit scenario.