Food and drink industry takes bigger bite of export market

Posted on 24 Mar 2014 by Callum Bentley

The UK food and drink industry has taken a bigger bite out of the export market with positive growth being experienced across the sector.

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has reported today that Total UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports grew by 5% to £12.8bn in 2013, a welcome rise after a flat 2012.

2013 saw exports recover to the EU28 (+3%), with strong growth in Q2 (+9%) and Q4 (+7%), correlating closely to EU economic performance.  Exports were further strengthened by double-digit growth to non-EU markets (+11.5%) where food commodities performed well.

Ireland and France remain the UK’s biggest food and drink export markets by both overall value and value gained in 2013, rising by +7% to £3,206m and +10% to £1,470 respectively.  Exports to China rose by a massive +82% moving it up to become the second largest non-EU market, with British Pork (+92%) and Scottish Salmon (+90%) alone contributing £33m.

Top performing categories

  • Chocolate – +9% (£571m)
  • Salmon – +38% (£465m)
  • Cheese – +9% (£443m)
  • Lamb – +8% (£383m)
  • Soft Drinks – +9% (£378m)

Value added products performed well in both the EU (+5%) and non-EU (+6%) and the top five best performing value added products generated gains of over £280m.

FDF’s economic and commercial services director, Steve Barnes, commented:

“In contrast to UK goods exports falling in 2013, food and drink exports are back in growth, testament to the strong demand for quality British food and drink and the growing importance of export to our industry.

“The recovery of exports to key EU markets is particularly welcome news for food and drinks manufacturers as exports to the EU28 account for 75% of total export sales. We will continue to help exporters overcome barriers and inspire new businesses to start exporting as part of our 20/20 Vision for sustainable growth.”

Top performing markets

  • China – +82% (£201m)
  • Australia – +18% (£134m)
  • Hong Kong – +16% (£156m)
  • South Africa – +13% (£103m)
  • Saudi Arabia – +12% (£132m)