An increased demand for quality British products like chocolate has driven exports to the EU and non EU markets to pre-pandemic levels for the first time since 2020, according to new data from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).
The FDF’s Trade Snapshot has shown there has been significant growth in exports to non-EU countries – particularly those which are set to agree trade deals with the UK.
Regarding the dramatic increase in exports to India, the FDF said it hoped the preferential trade deal currently being negotiated by the Government could push the number even higher.
“A carefully targeted trade deal that addresses India’s prohibitively high tariffs would help unlock valuable export opportunities for UK producers,” it said.
Chocolate was the UK’s most exported food product during the first half of 2022. Exports of the sweet treat were worth £368 million – up 12% on last year.
Food & Drink Exporters Association Director John Whitehead suggested the success of chocolate exports chimed with a wider trend for “quality British confectionery”. He added that British meat and dairy exports were also growing well.
Another staple British export, he said, was scotch whisky. “[It] remains the top performer with almost 23% growth since last year, ably supported by gin growing a massive 48%,” Whitehead explained.
Dominic Goudie, FDF Head of International Trade, said: “It is promising to see exports to EU and non-EU markets top pre-pandemic levels given the exciting opportunities presented by new trade deals with Canada, Australia, India and the Gulf Cooperation Council. These are vital to driving future growth in the UK food and drink sector.
“Our industry continues to show resilience in the face of multiple challenges including the war in Ukraine and sharply rising costs. It is important the Government supports food and drink exporters to help us drive further growth in new markets that will support the UK’s economic recovery.”
Moving forward, the FDF urged the Government to continue working with its experts both on Non-EU and EU trading. “The new Food and Drink Export Council can play a key role in helping businesses take advantage of new export opportunities around the world,” the federation said.
“Growth opportunities in Europe should not be overlooked and a priority remains to improve the implementation of the UK-EU trade agreement.”