“Brexit bonus” as UK food and drink exports top £22 billion in 2017

Posted: 12 February 2018 | | No comments yet

Scotch whisky, salmon and chocolate are big hitters in the growing overseas market place according to 2017’s UK Government figures.


RECORD: Dairy was one of the biggest success stories of 2017

The Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has described a climb of around 9 per cent in Britain’s overseas sales as a “Brexit bonus”.

Michael Gove’s department announced today that exports had exceeded £22 billion in 2017, up from £20.2 billion in 2016. Among biggest movers were milk and cream which were up by 61 per cent, salmon at 23 per cent and pork at 14 per cent.

Last year also saw more UK beer appearing on shelves as far as Japan and New Zealand, while gin continues to go through a ‘ginaissance’ with international sales of UK brands reaching over £500 million.

From January to December 2017 the UK sent £85 million worth of cheese to France, £21 million of chocolate to Belgium and even £2 million of tea to China.

Secretary of State Michael Gove said: “Farmers, fisherman and our food producers are all helping to deliver a Brexit bonus – with more exports of British food and drink than ever.

“Contrary to the constant negativity of the doom-mongers, the British economy is going from strength to strength showing that a Green Brexit can deliver for the whole country.”

The US remains the largest market outside of the EU – worth £2.3 billion last year and rising 3 per cent from the previous year. China now the 8th largest export market for UK food and drink. Over £560 million worth of food and drink was bought by Chinese consumers last year, who showed a particular preference for UK salmon, whisky and pork.

Food and Drink Federation Director General Ian Wright said: “UK food and drink is known across the globe for its provenance and quality. We are a proud home to many of the world’s most beloved brands.

“We must now build upon this platform in order to take advantage of new opportunities and the growing global appetite for great British and Northern Irish manufacturing as we leave the EU.”

The top UK exports include:

  • Whisky (£4.5 billion)
  • Salmon (£720 million)
  • Chocolate (£680 million)
  • Cheese (£623 million)
  • Beer (£603 million)
  • Shellfish (£600 million)

Top 5 overseas markets:

  • Irish Republic (£3.7 billion)
  • France (£2.3 billion)
  • USA (£2.3 billion)
  • Netherlands (£1.5 billion)
  • Germany (£1.4 billion)

The news comes at a time when major organisations in the nation’s food and drinks industry, including the FDF, have signed a joint letter urging the Government to maintain free and frictionless trade with Europe following Brexit.

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