UK food and drink exports rise

By Niamh Michail

- Last updated on GMT

UK food and drink exports increased by 1.8% from January to September this year - "a very creditable performance", according to trade association The Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

Food and drink exports increased by 1.8% to £16.4 billion (€18.4bn) from January to September 2018, when compared to the same period in 2017.

The value of branded goods exports also rose by £35.2m (€39.5m) to reach £4.3bn (€4.8bn), an increase of 0.8%.

Chief executive of FDF Ian Wright said: “Despite the tumultuous times, UK food and drink exports continue to grow. These results record a very creditable performance across many product categories and destination markets.

“However, it is clear that businesses must work even harder to deliver. Access to high-quality market insight, advice and practical support is increasingly vital for success," ​he said.

“We believe that together we can deliver ambitious new methods of export support which will give us the tools to take on our rivals in the highly competitive global food marketplace.”

The minister of state at the department for international trade, Graham Stuart, said he was delighted that the figures show a positive increase in exports, adding it was a testament to the dedication and commitment to quality of UK businesses.

The UK government’s recently launched its Export Strategy through which it hopes to increase exports as a proportion of GDP from 30% to 35%.

The Strategy also offers support to businesses such as finance and peer networks, Stuart added, encouraging companies to “make the most of this offer”.

The Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA), a trade association that promotes UK food and drink export, recently surveyed its members and found most respondents expected to see continued export growth both in EU and non-EU markets, mainly coming from established markets.

Elsa Fairbanks, FDEA director said: “As the reality of the changing trading environment emerges, there is concern that sales may start to fall in the EU after Brexit and many exporters are exploring opportunities in new areas further afield. In light of this, we fully endorse the need for practical help and support to ensure that companies are prepared for what lies ahead​.”

All of the 10 biggest export products reported growth in January to September, apart from beer and salmon.

The fall in exports of salmon, down 20.1%, is primarily a result in a fall in sales to France (-19%) and the US (-36.2%), FDF said. "In volume terms, this represents a decline of 16.6 thousand tonnes, which is equivalent to £94.3 million (€105.7m)."

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