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. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted growth this year due to the closure of hospitality and travel sectors, which has meant a loss of sales into restaurants, cafés, bars and the out-of-home sector across the world.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, food and drink exports was one of the great success stories for the UK and was a great way to highlight the strength of our industry over the last few years. Research shows that exporting businesses generate higher revenues, are more profitable and productive, and contribute more to the economy. At FDF, we highlight importance of exporting as well as 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 members' success stories can be found below.

FDF also works with Government and other stakeholders to improve the provision of specialist support to help more food and drink manufacturers to export. As part of this, FDF has developed proposals to transform the sector's growth potential through a new government-industry partnership on the delivery of specialist export support.

Below includes useful information on:

  • Key steps to export success and where to go to find support;
  • Case studies showcasing businesses across the UK that are successfully making in-roads abroad;
  • 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.



Export statistics

The FDF publishes quarterly export statistical reports, outlining the latest UK food and drink export figures. As the sector focuses on growing exports, the FDF showcases the success of our industry via case studies.

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Regional analysis

To highlight the geographical spread of the industry, the FDF produces regional analysis of key economic indicators including: the sector’s economic contribution in each region, how many people we employ, average wages and trade statistics.

All resources

Updates & milestones

FDF Exporter of the Year Award


This award category is for companies that are entering new markets, creating targeted products or growing sales in established markets. It is open to manufacturers but also to intermediary companies. The judges will look at achievement and ambition relative to the size of the company, not just the largest sales figures!

Enter in the FDF Awards – Exporter of the Year category before 28 February 2021, for your chance to win. It’s completely free to enter!

View the full criteria and enter now

Find our more about the FDF Awards

Five steps to exports 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 and UK food and drink exports fell by 13% in the first nine months of 2020. As we reach the end of the EU Exit transition period, exporters will face further challenges.

To support businesses with this double challenge, the FDF, Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) have today produced an export guide.

Five steps to exports success

This 5-step guide helps businesses successfully navigate the export process and signposts a range of support they can access. In the guide, key terms are explained, questions answered and support offered. It also includes an overview of useful contacts and links to webinars, events as well as trade fairs that can help businesses grow their exports.


Food and Drink Federation publishes February food and drink trade snapshot

Following the publication of ONS trade data earlier this month for February 2021, the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has produced its second Food and Drink Trade snapshot this year, looking at trade between the UK and EU for the month of February 2021.

Read more

Next Welsh Government must support growth of vital food and drink industry

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) Cymru and the British Soft Drinks Association (BSDA) have today launched what it sees as the key priorities for the next Welsh Government.

Read more

Food and Drink Federation publishes January food and drink trade snapshot

The Food and Drink Federation has produced a Food and Drink Trade snapshot looking at HMRC data for the month of January, which was published in the last few weeks.

Read more

Fall in food and drink exports exposes urgent need for business support

In the third quarter of 2020 alone, exports fell by 11.6% to £5.5bn when compared to the same period in 2019, as both exports to EU (-9.3%) and non-EU markets (-14.8%) declined.

Read more

All news

Related case studies

Exports has been one of the UK food and drink industry's major success stories. These case studies showcase businesses across the UK that are successfully making in-roads abroad.

Wyke Farms Ltd

Case Study

Exporter of the Year 2020

The Wyke Farms brand is one of the oldest and most widely distributed cheddar brands in the UK.

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Case Study


Nairn's know their oats. They have been baking with them since 1896. Using wholegrain oats grown in the nearby Scottish Borders, where the climate is perfect for slowly and naturally ripening the grains – the oats don't need insecticides. Nairn's aim is to make tasty, wholesome food that's as simple and natural as possible.

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Case Study

Joe & Seph's - exports case study

Joe & Seph's are a family business from London with a mission to produce the best-tasting popcorn in the world, and were awarded FDF Exporter of the Year in 2016.

All exports case studies

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How we can help your business

Free support for FDF members via Open Borders Direct

We are pleased to partner with Open Borders Direct®, to provide FDF members with free 3-month Helpline access for any member who is struggling to make head or tails of the paperwork or processes in importing or exporting. The team at Open Borders Direct® are committed to finding an answer for you; all you have to do is sign up using the Trade Association dropdown to take advantage of your three months free subscription – no credit card details are needed to access this offer.

Note: All business relationships are between Open Borders Direct® and the client, not FDF. FDF receives a small commission from Open Borders Direct® for any FDF member signing up to use Open Borders Direct®

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Export bootcamps

We have partnered with Export Bootcamps to bring you three courses;

  • SPS Export and Import Licence Training (26 May or 23 June)
  • Finding & Using Tariff Codes (27 May or 25 June)
  • How to Access Zero Tariffs from a Free Trade Agreement/Rules of Origin (28 May or 24 June).

If you are struggling with training costs, the SME Brexit Support Fund could give you up to £2,000 to help with training or professional advice, if your business has up to 500 employees and no more than £100 million annual turnover.

Find out more

Related topics


EU exit

The FDF produces a range of resources to help guide companies through the complexities arising as the UK leaves the EU. This includes our Brexit Roadmap resource. The FDF also runs various Brexit-related committees.

borders and customs

Borders and customs

The FDF ensures that its members are informed of what is required of them at the border, and represents members’ views to the Government, to ensure that the UK’s borders are as frictionless as possible.


Trade negotiations

The FDF is committed to ensuring that the sector’s priorities are at the heart of these negotiations, so that UK food and drink producers can access key markets with reduced trade barriers and tariffs.