The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has revealed that food and drink exports in Q1 2018 have grown by 5.5% to £5.2 billion, from £5 billion in Q1 2017, and that exports to EU markets grew faster than those to non-EU markets.
“Food and drink exports showed continued growth in January-March 2018. This growth was based on robust demand for the UK’s high-quality products. Much of the demand comes from nearby markets, as demonstrated by strong growth to EU 27 countries. There are also significant opportunities further afield. However, these require more specialist in-market support. For example, a recent trip to Japan highlighted the strength of demand that exists for quality UK products and the desire to build trading relationships,” said Ian Wright CBE, chief executive, FDF.
Each of the top ten categories saw growth, except for salmon and beer, which were down £40.7 million and £16.1 million respectively, from Q1 2017. The fastest growth was registered by breakfast cereals, up 30.3% to £111.2 million.
Future plans for the food and drink industry include targeting new markets manufacturers, such as Japan, where UK exports of food and drink have grown over the past ten years. The Japanese market recorded significant growth in categories such as sweet biscuits (119%), pork (88%), soft drinks (90%) and cheese (507%). It is hoped the Rugby World Cup in 2019 and the 2020 Olympics in Japan will present further opportunities to build on this growth and strengthen trading ties between the UK and Japan.
“We are greatly encouraged that 2018 has got off to such a strong start across a wide range of countries both established markets within the EU and emerging markets in Asia. Growth in our largest market, Ireland highlights the need for a frictionless border between North and South,” said Elsa Fairbanks, director at Food & Drink Exporters Association.