The Food and Drink Federation reported that UK food and non-alcoholic drinks exports have continued to grow in 2012, rising to £5.9bn in the first six months of the year – an increase of 2.2% on the same period in 2011.
FDF’s latest update also found that exports to all non-EU regions, apart from those to the countries that surround the eurozone, were in growth of over 7%. The EU fared less well with a rise of 0.7%, largely due to the eurozone debt crisis, which has resulted in sharp falls in exports to some key markets, namely France and Italy.
Outside of the EU, the strongest gains were in Africa (+23.6%) and the Middle East (+17.7%). Within the Middle East there were significant increases in exports to the United Arab Emirates, which rose 37.8% to £80m, due to strong demand for chocolate (+169%) and fish and seafood (+151%).
FDF’s economic and commercial services director, Steve Barnes, said: “Once again, UK food and drink exports have proven themselves to be an important component of both our industry, and the country’s economic growth, and an area in which we can excel. Our brands have strong reputations in international markets and it is a credit to our manufacturers that, despite difficulties experienced in many key EU markets, have continued to drive forward sales by making in-roads into new markets.”