Delivering sustainable growth through exports
Food and drink exports are one of the key drivers of growth for our industry.
markets growing more steadily, manufacturing companies have been working hard
new opportunities. These have arisen through taking established British
into new export
destinations and also building on the overseas interest in our innovation in
sectors such as health
Our exports have continued to grow throughout 2011, after breaking through the
£10 billion barrier during the previous year, and the pace shows no signs of
slowing with many
burgeoning new markets and product sectors. In 2011 our food and non-alcoholic
drink exports totalled £12.1 billion - an increase of 11.4% on the previous
With an export strategy and action plan in place, which has been the result of
Government and industry partnership, exports is the sector where our industry
will be focusing much of its attention over the coming decade.
“During my time as FDF President I have been able to witness the industry
confirm its role as a key advanced manufacturing industry, trusted
partner of Government and a strong driver of economic growth.”
“Exports are key to the industry's ambition of 20% growth by 2020
and will sit along side continued demand from the domestic market. I have
heartened to hear reports of companies of all sizes that have been able to
secure lucrative contracts and take their products forward in to new and
established markets. British products are in high demand so let's make
sure we get them in to international shopping baskets.”
FDF President, Jim Moseley
“Our food industry should be congratulated
for its continued success. It's a vital part of the
British economy and can play a key part in the
UK's economic recovery."
“ I want to make sure food businesses get the
right support to exploit the potential for export
led growth, which I believe can be achieved
through the Government's export action plan.”
Food and Farming Minister, Jim Paice
“Food and drink is the biggest manufacturing sector in the UK,
employing around 400,000 people. It is also a major export success
story. The UK leads the world in product development, proving that
firms can be innovative even in the most traditional of industries.
There are consumers in both our traditional export markets and in
emerging economies that are eager to buy British produce. However,
in this industry as elsewhere, not enough UK firms export. Working
with existing networks, we need to encourage more firms to ask
themselves the question: “What would exporting do for my business?”
Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint, Minister of State for Trade and Investment
Breaking into new markets
The UK's main trade partners have traditionally
been the Western developed nations. Ireland
remains our largest export market, accounting
for sales of £2.9 billion, but we are still making
significant gains in our key EU territories of
France, Germany and the Netherlands, all
countries that have their own well developed
strategies for exporting.
Whilst retaining their strong EU focus, in recent years our
manufacturers have broadened their search for export
destinations into the emerging markets of Eastern Europe
and China. All of these countries are large importers but
currently account for only a small percentage of UK exports.
Growth in private consumption and changing diets in favour
of Westernised products have opened up opportunities
for ambitious UK companies.
In 2011 China entered our
top 20 export growth destinations for the first time with a
55% increase on 2010 figures. Exports to Poland rose by
50%; the Czech republic by almost 44% and Latvia saw
an increase of almost 50%, building on a 32% increase
from 2009-2010. Northern Europe also performed strongly
with the Netherlands and Belgium recording almost 30%
increases each and Denmark and Sweden 21% and 18%
Top 10 food and drink export destinations
Established non-EU export markets such as the US and Japan have fluctuated over
recent years but still remain strong with growth in exports to the US
by 25% between 2010-2011.
The total EU share of this year's £12 billion increase was £9.4
billion, a rise of over 11.3%. Non EU accounted for £2.7 billion,
recording a similar percentage increase (11.8%) to the EU.
Top 10 export destinations
% change 2010-11
Our spread of growth
Interesting percentage rises were recorded in
many key product sectors. The highest rise
was seen in the butter and spreads sector
with a surge of almost 62%. This consolidated
a 40% rise the previous year where triple
figure percentage increases were seen
amongst some EU customers.
Strong increases were seen in sectors including beef
(32%); fish fillets (32%); fresh fish (21.4%); milk and
cream - not concentrated or sweetened (20%); cheese
(18%); chocolate (16%) and sweet biscuits (13.5%).
Non-alcoholic drinks also performed well with increases
in coffee (28%); waters (19.4%) and soft drinks (14.6%).
There was an increase of 9.7% in prepared foods, many
of which are produced by FDF members, that include
sauces; condiments; ice creams and crisps.
sugar confectionery also recorded a fall of almost 15%
- mainly due to a sharp decrease in sugar exports but
added value sugar confectionery rose by almost 11%.
Some sectors recovered well from dips in recent years.
These included breakfast cereals, where there has
been contraction in EU markets, but companies have
broadened their export activity to give greater emphasis to
non EU customers and this has resulted in a continuation
of the increases recorded in 2010.
Increases in commodity sectors
UK Exports of Food & Non-alcoholic drinks by Sector,
|Other Prepared Foods (*)
|Cereals and Bakery
|Meat and Animal products
|Fish and Seafood
|Fruit and Vegetables
|Tea, Coffee, Cocoa and Spices
|Sugar & Sugar Confectionery
(*) Inc. fats & oils, preserved fruit/veg, fruit juice, soups, sauces &
condiments, ice cream, vinegar, animal feeds and other miscellaneous products
Source: HMRC Trade Info
View all Top export sector statistics.
Export case studies
Burton's Biscuit Company; In 2010, around 13% of the
company's turn over came from over seas markets. This in creased by over in
and the company is on track to triple its international sales by 2014.
Chokolit; The business has seen its exports increase
rapidly over the last few years, increasing in 2011 to 25%.
Dorset Cereals; Their exports have continued to increase, doubling in the last five years to £5
Eat Natural; About 22% of Eat Natural's turnover in 2011 was exports, a proportion that has
increased by over 40% since 2010. Eat Natural anticipates this trend continuing
in the future.
Geeta's Foods; A 20% increase in Geeta's annual turnover is due to a continued increase in
exports in recent years.
Honeybuns; 4% of turnover was due to Honeybuns' exports sales - a figure that has steadily
increased since it began exporting in 2006.
Mackie's of Scotland; 10% of Mackie's £2.5m turnover last year was due to export sales and the
company is now set to target the biggest grocery retail market in the word -
Nestlé UK; Over the past five years Nestlé has invested £100 million in the factory
(Tutbury) to produce new generation of beverages.
View all the UK food and drink industry export case studies.
Last reviewed: 13 Apr 2012