UK food and drink exports reach £16.4bn in first nine months
Staff Writer |
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has published analysis showing that food and drink exports increased by 1.8% to £16.4bn from January to September 2018, when compared to the same period in 2017. Exports of branded goods grew by £35.2m to £4.3bn, up 0.8%.
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The food and drink trade deficit narrowed by 1.3% and it now stands at -£18.0bn, which is £243.0m lower than the same period in 2017. Export growth to EU markets (+4.1%) was positive, while exports to non-EU markets declined (-1.8%), with the EU exports share growing to 62.1%.
All of the top 10 export products reported growth in January to September, apart from beer and salmon. The fall in exports of salmon, down 20.1%, is primarily a result in a fall in sales to France (-19%) and the US (-36.2%). In volume terms, this represents a decline of 16.6 thousand tonnes, which is equivalent to £94.3 million.
For the first time, FDF has done a national and regional export comparison across the UK. When looking at the most recent data on food and drink exports from the four nations of the UK, England has shown growth of just 6.2%, compared to the increase of 9.2% seen in Wales.
Similarly, FDF analysis of English regions reveals that the East Midlands and North East of England recorded the slowest growth rate for food and drink exports between 2015-2017, growing by just 2.6% and 0.8% respectively.
These rates are much lower than leading export regions, with the South East showing growth of 8.4% and London 7.2% during the same period.
The variation in growth across nations and regions indicates that there may be businesses in some parts of the country where export potential remains untapped.
As such, to realise this potential and help address fragmentation in UK export growth, FDF submitted a Sector Deal proposal to Government this summer which included export proposals around market research, in-market support, and an export portal which were submitted to Government this summer.
Following this submission, FDF is now in formal negotiations as part of the Government's Industrial Strategy activity to boost specialist export support with an aim of delivering ambitious long- term export targets. ■
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