27 March 2019, 09:59 AM
  • New figures from the FDF reveal that growth fell to just 2.5% in 2018
Slow growth reported for food and drink exports

UK food and drink exports have slowed, according to new figures released by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

The analysis shows that food and drink exports increased by just 2.5% to £22.6 billion from January to December 2018, which is down compared to 9.7% growth in the same period in 2017.

This slow growth occurred in both exports to UE markets – up 4.3% in 2018 compared to up 10.3% in 2017 - and non-EU markets, down 0.3% in 2018 compared to up 8.9% in 2017.

Growth of exports of branded goods also fell, down 0.1% when compared to the previous year. The growth was up 5% to EU markets, but down 10.2% to non-EU markets.

Seven of the top 20 markets for UK food and drink exports saw a fall in value, including the U.S. and France which fell by 2.2% and 3.4% respectively. Exports of salmon and beer fell by 11.6% and 7.0% by value, while the other products among the top 10 exports grew over the period.

Wheat and wheat-based goods account for around 10% of overall UK food and drink exports, and are consistently found in the top 50 exported food products. The figures showed that all wheat-based products reported growth over the past year, except for cakes had an overall decline of 13%.

Ian Wright CBE, chief executive, Food and Drink Federation, said: “In defiance of the uncertainty caused by UK exit from the EU, UK food and drink exports continued to grow through 2018. It is still unclear what this week will hold for our resilient industry, but regardless, we are working with Government to negotiate a food and drink sector deal to support those companies that are or want to export our high-quality products around the world.”

Graham Hutcheon, managing director, group operations, Edrington and Chair of the Food and Drink Sector Council Exports Group, also commented: “The UK Food and Drink sector has a huge opportunity to drive growth by exploiting the export potential available to us. We under-index in many key markets and this must be addressed. We have to understand the issues at work here and develop systems to simplify and facilitate exporting across our sector. In the UK we produce world leading quality food and drink produce. I believe the demand is out there.”