food and drink exports pass £10 billion mark –

food and drink exports pass £10 billion mark Published:  14 March, 2011

UK food and drink (non-alcoholic) exports grew for the sixth year in succession and passed the £10 billion mark for the first time in 2010.

Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice will announce the news today (14 March) at the International Food Expo (IFE11) held at ExCel London.

UK food and drink export figures showed a healthy 11.4% increase on 2009 figures, bringing in a total of £10.83 billion, and highlighted healthy emerging markets amongst non-EU countries.

Amongst the highest performing sectors were dairy (up 24.6% to £977.1m), fish and seafood (up 13.8% to £1,326.9m), meat (+11.7% to £1458.9m), prepared foods including soups, sauces and ice creams (+10.3% to £2,591.8m) and cereals and bakery (+8.1% to £2,079.2m).

Amongst the top 20 countries, Ireland remains the principal importer of UK products followed by France, Netherlands, Germany and Spain. Strong performance was also recorded in Hong Kong (+36.3%), the US (+28.9%) and the United Arab Emirates (+22.7%).

Highly encouraging has been the growth of new markets outside the current top 20 export destinations. South Africa recorded a +60.7% increase with a 70.1% increase in sweet biscuits and 170.6% increase in unsweetened cakes and baked goods. China recorded a 28.5% increase – incorporating a 1633% increase in dairy – and Israel a 38.9% overall increase with a 23.3% rise in sugar confection.

Food and Farming Minister Jim Paice said: “This is excellent news – showing Britain that our food and drink industries are real areas of strength and growth at the same time as showing the world how good our food is. People now recognise that Britain produces some of the best food you can get anywhere. The export sector is incredibly important to our producers, so the fact that we now export more than £10 billion worth of food and drink shows that discerning consumers across the globe value what we produce and that this vital sector is playing its part in Britain’s recovery.”

FDF Director General Melanie Leech said: “This is excellent news for British food exporters and for the British economy. These figures show that our products are sought across the globe for their quality and great taste. The food and drink industry must be at the heart of the UK’s strategy for economic growth – and we look forward to working in partnership with the Minister and his colleagues in Defra, BIS and across Government to ensure that we maximise the economic potential of our sector and ensure that we play our part in contributing to global food security.”