FDF report shows increase in UK Q3 food and drink exports
The report shows that all of the UK’s highest value exported products have grown, with whisky, salmon, wine, gin and pork increasing by over 10 percent on the same period last year.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has published a report showing that Q3 food and drink exports have increased by 8.3 percent year-on-year to £6.2 billion, largely driven by export value growth to non- EU countries (+13.1 percent), which was over twice that of exports to the EU. Food and drink exports accounted for 6.4 percent of total UK exports over the year-to-date.
According to the report, sales of branded goods to the EU have declined (-3.2 percent) in Q3 and over the first nine months of the year (-2.1 percent), which is said to have been provoked by ongoing uncertainty around the terms of the future UK-EU trading relationship.
When looking at the UK’s top markets for branded goods, most of those within the EU have declined over the year-to-date, which the report suggests provides evidence that key buyers are starting to look elsewhere due to current uncertainty in the UK.
Outside of the EU, food and drink exports to the UK’s seventh largest trading partner, China, have seen a significant increase since Q3 2018, rising by £64.6 million. This is reportedly the largest value increase in over two decades.
Approximately 17 percent of UK food and drink exports to China were branded products. Among these, the fastest growing product was said to be prepared foods for infants. Top UK products sold in China included meat (131.2 percent), fish and seafood (3.6 percent) and spirits (35.5 percent) in the first nine months of the year.
The UK’s high production standards and reputation for quality reportedly led to the successful conclusion of a UK-China agreement in June 2019, securing significant market access for UK beef. The FDF report states that Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has forecast that this could be worth around £230 mn over the next five years. Latest exports figures allegedly show that £7.6 mn of UK beef has already been exported to China in 2019.
The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) and Defra co-fund an Agriculture and Food Counsellor post to help increase UK food and drink exports to China, which, according to the report, has provided essential sector-specific expertise in China to support UK food and drink, delivering new market access for UK products over the last four years.
Gavin Darby, President of the Food and Drink Federation, said: “This is the fourth consecutive year of food and drink export growth in Q3. While the overall value of UK exports across all industries has declined year-to-date, food and drink has shown great resilience to buck that trend, delivering growth of 6.3 percent on 2018 already. Although sales of branded goods to the EU have declined, encouragingly our sales to non-EU countries has increased by over 9 percent so far in 2019.
“At the same time, there remains significant untapped growth potential for UK food and drink exports. If we are to build on recent successes, the government must ensure we have a dedicated future trade policy for food and drink which recognises our industry’s unique ability to deliver jobs and growth in every UK community. They should also co-invest in the FDF’s proposals for a genuinely business-led approach to specialist exports support.”