UK food and drink exports grew last year as salmon sales leaped

EXPORTS of UK food and non-alcoholic drink increased by five per cent to £12.8bn last year, buoyed by a massive 82 per cent rise over the year in sales to China.

Figures from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) released today show the growth was in line with strengthening economic performance in the EU, which is the UK’s main export market.

After a flat year in 2012, exports rose by three per cent in the EU and 11.5 per cent outside the EU.

While Ireland and France remained the UK’s biggest food and drink export markets by value, China became the second largest non-EU market, with British pork exports up by 92 per cent and Scottish salmon leaping 90 per cent. Those markets alone were worth £33m.

The top product categories were salmon, with exports up 38 per cent, chocolate, cheese and soft drinks, all up nine per cent and lamb, up eight per cent.

FDF director Steve Barnes said: “In contrast to UK goods exports falling in 2013, food and drink exports are back in growth, testament to the strong demand for quality British food and drink and the growing importance of export to our industry.

“The recovery of exports to key EU markets is particularly welcome news for food and drinks manufacturers as exports to the EU28 account for 75 per cent of total export sales.”