Exports

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

Food and farming contributes £120 billion to the UK economy annually and supports 4.3 million jobs right across the country. One of its success stories is exports, with UK agri- food and drink sales overseas reaching nearly £24 billion in 2019.

In Scotland, we are the largest export industry, with manufactured food and drink exports increasing by 8 per cent to £7 billion in 2018. Welsh food and drink exports reached £566 million in 2019, up 5 per cent on the previous year. Of the £5 billion of food and drink produced by Northern Irish businesses, over two thirds were exported.

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. At the FDF, we highlight the export success of our members to the media, stakeholders and government through our regular export statistical reports and member case studies. Some of our member's success stories can be found here.

Below includes useful information on:

  • Key steps to export success and where to go to find export support;
  • Our regular export snapshots which highlight top markets and products and can help members with their export plans as well as identifying target markets;
  • The latest regional export statistics highlighting growth across the UK.

Five Steps to Export Success

Food and drink exports are a UK success story. Reaching nearly £24 billion in 2019, they have grown every year since 2015. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted our industry. UK food and drink exports are down 14% and all of the top 5 markets recorded negative growth. As we reach the end of the EU Exit transition period, exporters will face further challenges. Our success in restarting and expanding exports will be key to the UK's post-COVID-19 economic recovery.

To support the recovery of UK food and drink exports post-COVID-19, the FDF, Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) have produced an export guide to help businesses successfully navigate the export process. The guide signposts a range of support that can help exporters that have been impacted by COVID-19 and support businesses post EU Exit transition.

Key terms are explained, questions answered and support offered through five simple steps, concluding with an overview of useful contacts and links to webinars, virtual and physical meet-the- buyer events as well as trade fairs that can help your business to grow its exports.

UK export statistics

FDF publishes quarterly statistical reports on the UK's food and drink export performance, helping companies understand which markets have the most potential and supporting their export plans.

Each quarter we work with one of our export partners or professional affiliates to give our members further practical guidance or insight into that quarter's focus market. Our latest reports can be found below.

Previous reports

UK Food & Drink Trade Regional Map


Last reviewed: 01 Oct 2020