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UK Food and Drink Exporters Target Growth in Non-EU Markets

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UK Food and Drink Exporters Target Growth in Non-EU Markets

UK Food and Drink Exporters Target Growth in Non-EU Markets
November 28
09:09 2016

Exports of UK branded food and non-alcoholic drinks shot up by 13.7% in the third quarter of 2016, according to new figures from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Sales to non-European Union (EU) markets grew at twice the rate of the EU, however, the EU still remains the top destination for branded exports, buying two thirds of the total. This represents the biggest quarterly export sales we have ever seen and builds on Q2, which was in turn the largest up to that point.

The overall value of UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports rose to £3.4 billion in Q3, up 12.1% on the same period in 2015. Latest year-to-date figures now show impressive double-digit growth with total exports of £10.1 billion during the first three quarters of 2016.

The weaker pound since late 2015 and sharp falls seen post referendum mean that UK exports have become increasingly competitive in recent months. FDF hopes to see a further upswing in exports in the coming months as companies capitalise on these opportunities.

The three export markets which saw the greatest value growth in the year-to-date were Spain, up £158 million, China, up £124 million and Germany, up £60 million. Ireland, France and the Netherlands remain the top three destinations for branded UK food and non-alcoholic drink, buying 42% of total exports. The top three product categories were chocolate, salmon and cheese, with exports of wheat experiencing the largest value growth, up £147.4 million (+80.0%) year-to-date 2016, when compared with 2015.

In October, Defra published a new International Action Plan for Food and Drink that sets out how government and the industry will work to create opportunities and increase capability for UK exporters over the next five years. This includes nine priority campaigns across 18 countries targeting additional exports worth £2.9 billion.

fdfbrexitbannerThe plan is a key strand of the Government’s Great British Food campaign, which was introduced to celebrate the UK’s food and drink industry, drive growth and jobs in the sector, and establish Britain’s reputation as a great food nation.

Ian Wright CBE, director general, FDF, comments: “The growth of food and non-alcoholic drink exports we’ve seen in Q3 is very encouraging news for our industry. It is also a positive step towards highlighting the excellence of UK food and drink to the world. It is very pleasing to see non-EU exports performing beyond expectations, with UK firms taking advantage of increased competitiveness following the currency changes since the summer.”

wensleydalecreameryHe adds: “As the UK leaves the European Union a growth in exports is hugely important to our sector. We hope that with the determination of businesses, and the assistance of the Government’s International Action Plan for Food and Drink, we can open more channels and provide support to new and existing food and drink exporters as they seek new markets overseas.”

Food Minister George Eustice MP, says: “Whether it’s Scottish salmon or Wensleydale cheese, the global appetite for the British brand is showing no sign of slowing. These latest figures are welcome news for our food and drink businesses and for an industry that’s at the heart of our economy. We will build on this success through our new action plan, which will boost food and drink exports and help even more exporters grasp the opportunities our worldwide reputation brings.”

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