UK Food and Drink Export Performance

UK food and drink export statistics for 2015

In this report:

Executive summary

  • Exports fell 4.4% to £12.3bn.
  • Exports to non-EU markets (-1.5%) fared better than EU markets (-5.5%), pushing the non-EU share up to 27.8%.
  • Exports of value added goods saw growth of 0.9%, the 15th year of consecutive growth.
  • Including alcoholic drinks, food and drink exports were £18.2bn, a fall for a second year, (-3.7%).
  • Exports of whisky (the UK's largest food and drink export) were down 4.3% at £1.7bn.
  • The food and non-alcoholic drink trade deficit increased (1.6%) to £22.8bn.

Key Indicators

Key Indicators

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What happened throughout 2015

  • The UK's economy grew by 2.2% in 2015.
  • GDP increased by 1.8% across the EU28.
  • Food and non-alcoholic drink exports were stronger at the end of the year, with Q4 2015 up 5.1% on Q1 2015.
  • Despite exports doing better in the second half of the year, Q4 2015 was down 3.5% on Q4 2014.
  • This was largely as a result of the strength of the pound, making UK exports to Euro countries more expensive.
  • Alongside the strong pound, a sharp fall in the price of oil reduced the price of imports, limiting impacts of declining exports on the trade balance.

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Value added in focus

FDF Ambitions

FDF Ambition

  • FDF's industry ambition is to grow exports of value added food and non-alcoholic drink by a third, from a 2014 baseline, reaching £6bn by 2020.
  • The growth seen in 2015 is slightly below the overall target, but non-EU exports remain on the projected growth path.

Value Added

  • Exports of value added products saw continued growth in 2015 to £4.63bn (+0.9%), bucking the overall trend.
  • The top 5 best performing categories saw combined growth of £66.5m on 2014 (+3.3%) led by growth in food preparations, breads, pastries, cakes and puddings and sweet biscuits.
  • Value added products saw strong growth to non-EU countries (+6.4%) to the value £1.43bn
  • EU accounted for 69% of value added exports, totalling £3.21bn, a slight fall on 2014 (-1.3%)
  • The increase in exports of value added products reflects an upward trend in exports of finished UK manufactured goods (+2.2%) on 2014.

Top 10 Value added exports

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See Value Added in detail

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Top Products by Sector

Top products by sector

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Top 10 EU and Non-EU markets

Top 10 EU markets

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Top 10 Non-EU markets

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Top 10 value gains by product and market

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More information


Last reviewed: 02 Mar 2016