food and drink exports

FDF Releases H1 Food and Drink Export Stats

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) recently released its export figures for the first half of 2018, calling on Government to provide greater support for UK food and drink manufacturers to compete with European rivals.

Fastest export growth seen in Singapore and Australia

Singapore and Australia were the fastest growing markets for UK food and drink exports, within the top 20 markets, with growth of 22.5% and 19.3% respectively. The top five UK products sold to Singapore were whisky, wine, gin, chocolate and sweet biscuits. For Australia, exports of gin were up 115% and soft drinks were up 99%, while outside of the top 10 products, pasta sales rose 257%.

Significantly, food and drink exports to China, Australia, and Singapore all grew in excess of 40% between H1 2016 and H1 2018 (46.5%, 48.7%, and 42.1% respectively).

More to be done

However, more can be done to improve the sectors exports’ competitiveness with European partners. For example, from 2015-2017, growth of the UK’s food and drink exports to Japan (+10.4%) lagged behind nations including Ireland (+153.3%), Spain (+31.3%), Germany (+28.3%) and Denmark (+13.7%).

The FDF compared this to UK sales to China where certain sectors benefit from in-market specialist support. UK sales to China have grown by a staggering 94.7%, experiencing far greater growth than Spain (+42.5%), Ireland (+40.2%), Denmark (24.5%), and Germany (+12.3%).

The indication here is that more in-market specialist support for more countries could significantly boost UK exports in the sector globally.

The full exports report, including supporting information about H1 2018 food and drink exports, and exports reports from previous quarters can be found on our Exports pages hereSupporting case studies can be found here.

Ian Wright CBE, Chief Executive, Food and Drink Federation, said:

“This analysis of UK food and drink exports in the first half of this year reveals several great success stories and a number of areas with room for growth. Food and drink sales are flying the flag for the UK around the world. However, some of our competitors are outshining us. It’s clear that focusing export support on specific product sectors can transform performance. With great uncertainty still hanging over our future trading relationship with our largest food and drink market – the EU – now is the time for the Government to back UK food & drink exports with the kind of turbo- charged support that FDF has proposed.”

Elsa Fairbanks, Director, Food & Drink Exports Association (FDEA), said:

“We are greatly encouraged by such a positive performance for food and drink exports both in the EU27 and wider global markets. The figures confirm the need for Government to ensure that the success of our exporters is not damaged by a failure to maintain the current ease of trade with our key markets in Europe after the end of March 2019. 

“The recent performance is testament to our industry’s commitment to maintain and grow business in core EU markets whilst at the same time, investing resources to build longer term opportunities worldwide. We should not underestimate the risks that are being faced. We fully endorse the FDF’s proposal for a Sector Deal for the industry and look forward to a positive decision on this.”

Open to Export webinar for the food and drink sector

This October, Open to Export is again running a webinar for the food and drink industry with the Food and Drink Exporters Association. The webinar, on October 16th, will give food and drink exporters a ‘Pragmatic Guide to Researching Export Markets’. You can sign up to it at:




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