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Food and drink exports back in growth

24 March 2014

Food and drink exports back in growth

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Today, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has reported 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.

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.

Report Highlights

Top product categories:

  • Chocolate: +9% to £571m
  • Salmon: +38% to £465m
  • Cheese: +9% to £443m
  • Lamb: +8% to £383m
  • Soft drinks: +9% to £378m

Top performing markets:

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

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.”

Note to Editors:

  1. Exports of all UK products fell by 7% on 2012 worth £408bn
  2. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is the voice of the food and drink manufacturing industry – the UK's largest manufacturing sector. For more information about FDF and the industry we represent, visit:
  3. View full UK Food and Drink Export Snapshot Report – collected by FDF from HMRC
  4. Case studies are also available featuring successful British exporters

More information

For more information please contact the press team:

Anna Taylor on 020 7420 7118 Email:

Avni Raval on 020 7420 7131 Email:

Marita Upeniece on 020 7420 7140 Email:

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For FDF's policy positions and background on key issues, go to our Policy section.