In this report:

Key Indicators

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Executive summary

  • Headline data indicates an increase in food and drink exports of 1.8% (to £16.4bn) from January to September 2018, when compared to the same period in 2017
  • Export growth to EU markets was positive (+4.1%), whilst exports to non- EU markets declined over the year-to-date (-1.8%), raising the EU share of exports to 62.1%
  • The food and drink trade deficit narrowed by 1.3% in the first 9 months of the year, standing at -£18.0bn, which is £243.0m lower than the same period in 2017
  • All of the UK's top 10 export products reported growth (in value) YTD 2018, apart from beer and salmon.
  • The fall in salmon, significant both in value and volume, has almost equally been driven by less salmon being exported to France and the United States (US). The two combined have seen a decline of 16.6 thousand tonnes, or £94.3million.
  • Q3 2018 exports of food and drink amounted to £5.6bn, down 4.6% on the third quarter in Q3 2017

Top 10 products

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Top 20 markets

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Q3 UK Food and Drink Exports

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FDF Ambition

  • FDF's industry ambition is to grow exports of branded food and non-alcoholic drink by a third, from a 2014 baseline, to reach £6bn by 2020.
  • Exports of branded products** saw modest positive growth (0.82%) from January to September 2018, up £35.2 million on 2017 (YTD). Exports in this area reached £4.3bn (YTD 2018) against the same period in 2017. This brings exports in this area closer to FDF's branded export ambition.
  • Using 2014 as a baseline, exports of branded goods have now grown by 26.6% . Based on these figures, FDF's Export Ambition is on track to be reached ahead of schedule.
  • The drop-off in branded goods to non-EU countries was largely driven by a fall in exports to Malaysia and the Philippines, with a decrease in animal feed (not including pet food) of £51.2million and £49.8million (YTD) respectively.

Branded Goods

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India and the UAE are key sources of growth among the UK's growing priority markets

  • Both India and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been identified as being amongst the top 5 target markets for food and drink companies, according to a Grant Thornton survey commissioned by FDF.
  • India and the UAE both featured in the top 15 fastest growing destinations (YTD 2018 compared with 2017) for UK food and drink exports.* Growth in exports to India was the highest of these, with 30% growth (YTD), relative to the same period last year.
  • Whisky has been the key driver of the increased value of exports to these markets. The UK has exported an additional £27.2m to India, and £17.7m to the UAE in 2018, resulting in total whisky export value of £98.3bn and £107.7bn respectively.

*of the UK's 30 largest export partners.

UK Food and Drink Export Value vs. Export Growth (United Arab Emirates and India)

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Regional breakdown of UK Exports 2015-2017

  • When looking at the most recent data on food and drink exports from the four nations of the UK to the rest of the world, England has shown the slowest growth between 2015 and 2017 (6.2%) (Table 1). The growth rate of English food and drink* exports was 3 percentage points (pp) slower than Wales, the fastest growing UK nation.
  • When comparing their respective shares of food and drink† as a proportion of total exports, Scotland and Northern Ireland out-performed the rest of the UK more than fourfold, with a share of 20.0% and 19.8% respectively (Table 3).
  • Looking at regions within England (Table 2), the South East has been the fastest growing region (8.4% CAGR**). Meanwhile, London has consistently been the largest contributor to overall English food and drink† exports.
  • In Figure 2 (overleaf), we see that in Wales and England, food and drink* exports underperform relative to all major exporting sectors (aside from crude materials and other commodities). Conversely, in Northern Ireland and Scotland, food and drink† exports are high performers.

Food and Drink Exports: National Breakdown

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Food and Drink Exports: Regional Exports

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Food and Drink Exports: Share of nation's total exports

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Share of UK Food & Drink* Exports

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Industrial strategy

  • To take full advantage of growth opportunities and drive a step-change in UK exports of high value-added food and drink we are proposing the creation a new Government and Industry partnership through a Sector Deal. This will provide a coherent focus on food and drink exports and maximise the impact of respective resources.
  • FDF research has found that the existing support provided by the Department for International Trade (DIT) in certain regions of England is good and offers real benefits for exporters. However, food and drink specific services are not available to businesses in all regions of England.
  • These gaps in support act as a constraining factor on both the numbers of food and drink exporters, and the overall value of products exported.
  • To address the fragmentation in UK export support, FDF has drafted export proposals around market research, in-market support and an export portal. These were submitted to Government this summer.
  • In particular, the export portal is central to the proposed export services, acting as a one- stop shop for food and drink information. It will encompass access to local and national support, highlighting export opportunities and trade missions amongst others.
  • Following this submission, FDF is now in formal negotiations as part of the government's Industrial Strategy activity to boost specialist export support, with the aim of delivering ambitious long-term export targets.

Food and Drink Exports: Share of National Exports

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Last reviewed: 05 Dec 2018