There is no better time than now for food and drink manufacturers to focus on growing exports.

If you don't believe us then take a look at some of the success stories of our members. Below is some useful information on where to go to find export help.

FDF/FDEA Growth through Exports guide

Growth through Exports - Five Steps to Food and Drink Exporting Success has been developed by FDF and Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) as part of an enhanced partnership to help more of Britain's 6,500 business to export.

The guide provides useful information and tips on how food and drink manufacturers can begin exporting to foreign markets including details of necessary research, and how to create exporting opportunities and useful contacts.

As part of FDF's 20/20 vision for growth which looks to see economic input from Food and Drink manufacturers increase by 20% between 2010-2020, FDF have set an ambition to grow value-added food and drink exports by a third to achieve a total value of £6 billion by 2020.

Regular joint activity and promotions between FDF and FDEA will be a key strand of FDF's efforts to achieve that ambition, with a networking reception at Food and Drink Expo 2016, hosted by UKTI, being the first in a series of events.


UK export statistics

FDF publishes an annual report on the food and drink export performance of the UK. Food and Drink exports is one of the great stories for the UK and a great way to highlight the strength of our industry over the last few years.

H1 exports: Executive summary

  • H1 2018 exports of all food and drink hit £10.68bn, up 5.1% on 2017, led by growth to the EU27.
  • Growth in exports to EU countries (+7.3%) outpaced those to non-EU countries (+1.6%).
  • The top five markets made up over half (52%) of overall food and drink exports, with exports to Ireland alone holding a share of 18.4%.
  • H1 2018 exports of branded goods rose by 4.6% overall, despite a fall in exports to non-EU markets which was due to negative growth in sales of animal feed and sweet biscuits.
  • The fastest growing UK products by value within the top 10 were breakfast cereals, gin and beef.
  • Over the past 10 years, from H1 2008 to H1 2018, food and drink exports have grown by 75%, with an average annual growth rate of 5.2%. Over the same period, exports to non-EU countries grew faster (108%) than to EU countries (60%).


UK Food and Drink: International Action Plan

Food and Drink International Action PlanIn October 2013 UKTI and Defra launched the 'UK Food and Drink: International Action Plan' which FDF contributed to. The action plan sets out overarching targets to:

  • Grow food and drink exports by £1bn by 2015
  • Provide support to help 1,000 more food and drink businesses to start exporting.

A new action plan is due soon and will be used to continue the promotion of UKTI services with additional support from industry. It will also be used by UKTI regional offices as promotional material to attract overseas buyers. As well as carrying out export activities as part of the strategy FDF will continue to assist Government to raise awareness of the action plan across the industry.


UK Trade and Investment (UKTI)

FDF works closely with UKTI, the Government Department responsible for working with businesses to boost exports and grow inward investment. As part of this relationship we work closely with the UKTI food and drink team and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) to promote export opportunities and grow UK food and drink exports. UKTI supports FDF's close relationship with FDEA and the GREAT British Food Unit, saying "Working collaboratively with industry will enable government to increase industry exports and deliver further opportunities for the food and drink sector."

Exporting is GREAT

UKTI offers a number of services for food and drink businesses no matter what stage they are in their export journey. Their Exporting is GREAT campaign is designed to encourage new and existing exporters and a perfect place to start for businesses looking to start or expand their export remit.

UKTI Regional Trade Advisors

  • The first port of call for any food and drink manufacturer new to export is to speak to a food and drink specialist International Trade Advisor (ITA) within UKTI.
  • If your business is new to export we advise you contact your regional UKTI office and speak to a regional trade advisor.
  • These contacts can explain all of UKTI's services and which would suit your business as well as providing on-going support and key information. Click here to view the contact details of all of the regional trade offices.

UKTI provide subsidies for SMEs under some of their support programmes. Why not investigate and look to build contacts in these high growth markets for food and drink.


Export Britain

Export BritainExport Britain is the online resource by the British Chambers of Commerce which showcases opportunities in key international markets, and links UK exporters to support available from British Chambers and business groups both in the UK and around the world.

Export Britain helps businesses to make new connections overseas by drawing on the power of the international UK business network of British Chambers and business groups.

The site also helps growing and prospective exporters navigate through the export journey by signposting the support available every step of the way. Additionally, Export Britain provides information on export training and documentation, events and trade missions, and inspiring case studies featuring successful UK exporters.


Open to Export

to ExportOpen to Export is an online community helping UK businesses get ready to sell overseas. Backed by Government and business, it is a not for profit social enterprise dedicated to helping UK companies grow through export.

It is a free service providing:

  • Guides and articles giving advice and insights into each stage of the export journey
  • Webinar programme which gives insights and practical guidance on different topics on a monthly basis
  • Export Action Plan – a tool to help exporters assess their readiness and their first steps to export
  • Ask the Experts forum in which exporters can ask questions to our community of experts and receive answers to any of their export questions

EU SME Centre

The EU SME Centre is a European Union initiative that provides a comprehensive range of hands-on support services to European small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), getting them ready to do business in China.

A team of experts provide advice and support in four areas – business development, law, standards and conformity and human resources. Collaborating with external experts worldwide, the Centre converts valuable knowledge and experience into practical business tools and services easily accessible online. From first-line advice to in-depth technical solutions

To gain full access to the Centre's services, simply sign up here to create an account.


Last reviewed: 04 Feb 2019