The Food and Drink Federation has reported that total UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports remained at £12.1 billion in 2012, in line with the previous year.
Strong growth in exports of value added food products (+3.7%) was counterbalanced by sharp falls in some of the UK’s largest commodity categories, such as cereals (-27.9%).
Last year’s poor UK harvest impacted heavily on the supply of grain available for export – in Q4 alone, the value of cereal exports fell by £160 million (compared to Q4 2011).
Further contraction in exports to the EU27 (-1.4%) was again counterbalanced by continued growth to non-EU markets, up by 4.6%.
Despite staying at 2011 levels, food and drink exports remain resilient compared to exports from other UK industry sectors, which fell by 4.5% overall.
FDF’s economic and commercial services director, Steve Barnes, commented: “Food and drink manufacturers have continued to make strong in-roads abroad, travelling further afield to drive sales of great British made products. At a time when other sectors are struggling to find demand overseas, this achievement should be applauded and encouraged.”
Chocolate was the product that showed the biggest growth in exports (+19.3% to £524 million), with coffee and sauces going up 9.7% and 8.9% respectively.
The top performing markets were Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Exports towards these nations grew by 35.2% and 24.9% respectively, followed by Sweden (+16.5%), Australia (+12.6%) and China (+11%).