21 November 2016
Food and drink exporters target growth in non-EU markets
Back to list of articles
Exports of branded food and non-alcoholic drinks shot up by 13.7% in the third
quarter of 2016, according to new figures from the Food and Drink Federation
(FDF). Sales to non-European Union (EU) markets grew at twice the rate of the
however, the EU still remains the top destination for branded exports, buying
thirds of the total. This represents the biggest quarterly export sales we have
ever seen and builds on Q2, which was in turn the largest up to that point.
The overall value of UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports rose to £3.4bn in
Q3, up 12.1% on the same period in 2015. Latest year-to-date figures now show
impressive double-digit growth with total exports of £10.1bn during the first
quarters of 2016.
The weaker pound since late 2015 and sharp falls seen post referendum mean that
UK exports have become increasingly competitive in recent months. We hope to
a further upswing in exports in the coming months as companies capitalise on
The three export markets which saw the greatest value growth in the year-to-date
were Spain, up £158m, China, up £124m and Germany, up £60m. Ireland, France and
the Netherlands remain the top three destinations for branded UK food and
non-alcoholic drink, buying 42% of total exports. The top three product
were chocolate, salmon and cheese, with exports of wheat experiencing the
value growth, up £147.4m (+80.0%) year-to-date 2016, when compared with 2015.
In October, Defra published a new International Action Plan for Food and Drink
that sets out how government and the industry will work to create opportunities
and increase capability for UK exporters over the next five years. This
nine priority campaigns across 18 countries targeting additional exports worth
The plan is a key strand of the Government's Great British Food campaign, which
was introduced to celebrate the UK'S food and drink industry, drive growth and
jobs in the sector, and establish Britain's reputation as a great food nation.
See more in our exports snapshot
Ian Wright CBE, Director General, FDF, said:
“The growth of food and non-alcoholic drink exports we've seen in Q3 is very
encouraging news for our industry. It is also a positive step towards
the excellence of UK food and drink to the world. It is very pleasing to see
non-EU exports performing beyond expectations, with UK firms taking advantage
increased competitiveness following the currency changes since the summer.
“As the UK leaves the European Union a growth in exports is hugely important to
our sector. We hope that with the determination of businesses, and the
assistance of the Government's International Action Plan for Food and Drink, we
more channels and provide support to new and existing food and drink exporters
as they seek new markets overseas.”
Food Minister George Eustice MP, said:
“Whether it's Scottish salmon or Wensleydale cheese, the global appetite for the
British brand is showing no sign of slowing. These latest figures are welcome
news for our food and drink businesses and for an industry that's at the heart
“We will build on this success through our new action plan, which will boost
food and drink exports and help even more exporters grasp the opportunities our
worldwide reputation brings.”
Elsa Fairbanks, Director, FDEA, said:
“The FDEA is very encouraged by these figures which reflect our experiences both
among our members and also buyers around the world. We must also remember that
EU markets still represented 71.5% of UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports
Q3 2016, and this should be borne in mind as we leave the EU.
In our experience, EU retail and foodservice buyers are very positive about the
quality and innovation behind UK products and stress to us the importance of
maintaining close links going forward”.
Export case study
In 2015, export accounted for 21% of total sales, they forecast this figure to
reach 30% by 2018. Since the summer, Joe & Seph's have seen some positive
in export sales. In France for example, the weaker pound has resulted in a
RRP which has increased sales. Likewise, it has also helped open new markets
that were previously prohibitively expensive to export to (due to higher
costs and distributor margins), such as Iceland where they launched in to 8 Hag
Kaup stores, which is forecast to drive significant incremental revenue for the
Note to editors
- The overall value of UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports rose to £3.4bn in
the third quarter of 2016, up 12.1% on the same period in 2015.
- During Q3, exports of branded food and non-alcoholic drink that consumers know
and love increased by 13.7% to £1.3bn. Exports to the EU were up by 10.4% and
non-EU countries by 20.8%.
- The branded food and drink category represents quality, value-added products
that are known and loved by UK consumers and produced by the UK's food and
manufacturing industry. 96% of these manufacturers are small and medium sized
- The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is the voice of the food and drink
manufacturing industry – the UK's largest manufacturing sector. For more
about FDF and the industry we represent.
- FDEA is a trade association dedicated to UK food and drink exporters
representing the industry at international trade shows and providing a network
to assist companies internationally.
- View more about our export case study.
Contact FDF press office for a photo or further information via 0207 420 7118
Contact Matthew Evans, Corporate Affairs Division, at: Matthew.Evans@fdf.org.uk, or (0) 20 7420 7152.
Back to list of articles