Exports of food and non-alcoholic drinks continue to buck the recessionary trend and are at a record high, having grown 4.4% to £9.65bn in 2009.
Based on research by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), the performance constitutes a fifth consecutive year of growth. It compares with an 11.8% contraction in overseas sales for all manufacturing sectors collectively.
While the EU accounts for 79.2%, strong growth has been witnessed in the Oceania region (15.9%) and North America (14.8%).
Non-alcoholic drinks (up 20.6% to £318.6m), fish and seafood (up 15% to £1160.4m), breakfast cereals (up 17.2%), sauces and condiments (up 9.2%) and sugar confectionary (up 10.9%) were among the best performing product areas.
“This strong performance is testimony to the persistence and entrepreneurial spirit of British manufacturers – as well as a reflection of the quality of what they produce,” said Melanie Leech, director general of the FDF. “I am proud of the fact our sector has continued to report significant overseas success at a time when UK exports as a whole have taken a significant hit.”
Ireland remains the UK’s biggest export market for food and non alcoholic drinks with sales of £2,589.0m. Vietnam is the fastest growing market having experienced a 68% rise to £20.8m.
Click here to read FDF’s full report on last year’s exports.
Export success stories:
The Anglesey Sea Salt Company Ltd (Sauces & Condiments category)
The Anglesey Sea Salt Company Ltd was founded 10 years ago on the Isle of Anglesey in Wales and now supplies its signature ‘Halen Môn’ salt crystals to 22 countries across the globe. An impressive 45% of the company’s annual turnover comes from exports sales, with key markets in Europe and Hong Kong. Their most successful products are Organic Celery Salt, which is loved by the Italians, and Oak Smoked Salt, which appeals to the Spaniards and which is used on President Obama’s favourite chocolate caramels, made by Frans Chocolates in Seattle.
Eat Natural (Breakfast Cereals category)
Producer of fruit and nut snacks and breakfast cereals at their ‘Makery’ in Halstead in Essex, Eat Natural increased their exports by 25% in 2009. By devising a targeted sales strategy to break into new markets in Europe, the brand is now successful in Holland, Denmark, France and Sweden. Eat Natural’s success story in its export market in 2009 is also due to changes in the global economy, which Eat Natural played to their advantage, offsetting its Euro imports with its Euro exports. The result has been this tremendous boost for the business, meaning that there’s been no price increase hitting the consumer.
Typhoo (Non-alcoholic Drinks category)
Typhoo Tea was established in the UK in 1903 and since then has grown from strength to strength to become one of world’s best-loved tea brands. Its products, which include both hot and cold beverages, are enjoyed in over 40 countries worldwide. Exports accounts for 7% of their turnover, with the aim to grow to 10% in 2010. The company’s exports have increased over the last few years, including new markets such as West Africa, the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), Australia and New Zealand, where the Typhoo brand has strong appeal to the British expatriate community. Their current top markets are North America, Central Europe and Scandinavia.
United Biscuits (Sweet Biscuits category)
McVitie’s Digestives is just one of United Biscuits’ brands that enjoys popular appeal abroad, enabling the company to achieve year on year growth in exports which in 2009 accounted for around 5-6% of its annual turnover. Makers of several well-loved British brands such as Carr’s Table Water biscuits and Jacobs Crackers, United Biscuits top markets for 2009 were North America, Asia, Middle East and Australia. The company views exports as a key area for growth in 2010.
Westaway Sausages (Meat category)
Westaway Sausages export their Authentic Butcher’s style sausages all over the world. They began their exports activities five years ago and since then have seen both the volume and the number of countries it supplies to increase every year. The company produces traditional British Sausages at its factory in Devon, and now owes 5% of its annual turnover to its exports success. It’s most successful markets are in Hong Kong, France and the Falklands, and it is constantly improving brand presentation and marketing abroad which is bringing extra sales and new customers.