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UK Food and Drink Exports Deliver Strong First Half Performance

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UK Food and Drink Exports Deliver Strong First Half Performance

UK Food and Drink Exports Deliver Strong First Half Performance
September 27
09:10 2010

UK exports of food and non-alcoholic drinks grew to more than £5b in the first half of 2010 – a rise of 4.3% on the same period in 2009 – and full-year sales to overseas markets are forecast to break the £10 b barrier for the first time, according to figures released by the Food and Drink Federation.

This first half growth has been characterised by an almost entirely flat EU export market but buoyant growth to non EU markets, which increased by 23.1% from £927.6m to £1.14b. All non-EU markets showed growth, but particularly strong markets included North America, up 34.9%, Asia up 34.6%, Latin America up 20.8% and the Middle East, up 20.0%. The fastest growing export market for UK food and drink is Hong Kong, which was up 49.3%.

Dairy proved to be the strongest sector, driven by a 15.2% growth in cheese exports.

Looking at the performance of individual sectors, dairy proved to be the strongest sector, showing growth of 21.3% to £464.3m, driven by a 15.2% growth in cheese exports, especially cheddar and blue cheeses. This in direct contrast with 2009, when dairy was the worst performing sector. Fish and seafood also performed well, growing 7.1% to £575.7m, including a 22.3% rise in fresh salmon export sales, which now account for 65% of fresh fish exports. Within the prepared foods sector, both sauces & condiments and jams & preserves performed well, growing by 10.6% to £98m and 9% to £16m respectively.

“I am delighted to see another strong export performance from UK food and drink manufacturers,” says Melanie Leech, director general of the Food and Drink Federation. “If these levels continue throughout 2010, we should see our sixth consecutive full year of growth and break the £10 billion mark for exports for the first time.”

The UK food and drink industry directly employs 440,000 people; generates £73b of turnover and value added of £21.6b; and accounts for 15% of total manufacturing output. The export figures further highlight the sector’s importance to the UK economy.

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