Trade Snapshot: H1 2023

15 September 2023

The FDF Trade Snapshot shows that exports for the first half of 2023 have risen to almost £12 billion, up nearly £0.5 billion from the same period in 2022. The data shows strong growth in sales to European markets. This report also looks at trade with India and Turkey.


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  • The value of UK exports increased by nearly 4% to reach £11.9 billion in the first half of 2023, driven by 7.6% growth to the EU.
  • Ireland remains our biggest market, with sales rising nearly 10% to reach £2 billion, placing the sector on track for record exports in 2023.
  • Sales to non EU markets were marginally down overall, however there was strong growth in Singapore (+53.7%), China (+23.7%) and Taiwan (+17.2%).
  • Exports to China were up nearly a quarter, driven by whisky (+37.6%), as well as strong growth in salmon (57.0%), protein concentrates (89.0%) and cheese (295.7%)
  • High global food and drink price inflation continues to impact export values, with sales volumes down for most of our top 10 products.


  • Imports increased 6.8% in value, driven by strong EU growth led by double-digit increases from the Netherlands, Ireland, Belgium, Spain and Germany.
  • Strong growth from Ireland was driven by rising imports of cheese (+100.6%) while a sharp rise in milk and cream (40.0%) saw Belgium overtake Spain.
  • Volumes fell in many of the UK’s top 10 imports, with the notable exception of cheese, which saw imports rise 9.6% by volume and 21.5% by value.
  • Non-EU imports fell slightly, but the implementation of a new risk-based approach in the Border Target Operating Model may provide a boost for some non-EU markets.
  • New duty suspensions applying to fruit juices played a role in Brazil’s 25.0% growth, moving ahead of the US as the UK’s biggest non-EU supplier