UK takes advantage of new trading relationships
The FDF has released a report on the recovery made by different areas in the UK following challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic and other hurdles.
Food and drink exports across the UK are recovering from the challenges of the pandemic with manufacturers taking advantage of new trading relationships across the world, research from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has found.
The federation’s UK Food and Drink Exports report, released earlier this week, revealed the latest breakdown of food and drink exports from across the UK during 2021.
The report shows that Scotland, Wales, the West Midlands and the North East of England have had the strongest export growth, reflecting recovery from supply chain problems caused by the pandemic, and showing that businesses are adapting to the new UK-EU trading relationship.
Scotland accounts for the largest share of UK food and drink exports, with almost 30 percent of total exports. This was worth £5.7 billon, up 14.6 percent since 2020. While Wales is the sole UK nation to exceed pre-Covid export levels. This was by strong exports of cereals, up 173 percent since 2020, and now worth nearly £140 million to the economy.
The North East saw the largest increase reaching £280 million – a 20.4% percent increase from 2020; and the West Midlands grew by £810 million, a 12.6 percent rise from two years ago.
The report also found that the share of exports to non-EU markets is increasing, with strong growth in London, as companies take advantage of the opportunities to grow exports through the UK Government’s new global trade deals.
However, the FDF is of the belief that more can be done to improve the implementation of the UK-EU trade agreement and help companies recover exports in the EU.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is not factored into this report, so its full effect on the food and drink sector is not calculated. It has been proven that the invasion has had a great impact on global supply chains, including those on which the food and drink sector relies for some key ingredients.
“It’s very encouraging to see exports starting to recover across many parts of the UK, with companies starting to pull out of COVID-related disruption and adapting to the UK’s new trading relationships with countries around the world,” said the FDF’s Chief Executive, Karen Betts. “Every product we export is rooted in our culture and our communities, and it’s great to see that our food and drink is sought out by consumers all over the world. Our report also shows the vital role that food and drink manufacturing plays in every community across the UK’s four nations, and how central our sector is to prosperity at home as well as in driving exports overseas.”
“It’s brilliant to see food and drink companies from every corner of the UK selling their products to the world, growing our economy and supporting jobs across the country,” added the the UK’s Minister for Exports, Mike Freer.