UK exports of food and drink saw its biggest first quarter on record, increasing by 10.7 per cent year on year to £5.8 billion in the first quarter (Q1) of 2019.
According to the findings published by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), the voice of the food and drink manufacturing industry, UK’s largest manufacturing sector, export growth to non-EU markets increased by 12.2 per cent. This outpaced growth to EU markets which grew by 9.9 per cent.
UK branded goods exports have also increased over the past 10 years, rising by 110 per cent.
Growth of more than 20 per cent was recorded in five of the UK’s top 20 export markets, including the Netherlands, China, Sweden, Japan and Taiwan. Sales to Saudi Arabia rose by 198 per cent from the first quarter of 2009 to 2019. Between January and March 2019, exports grew by 28.6 per cent, moving Saudi Arabia into the top 20 export markets for the first time.
However, on the downside, findings show that growth may slow over the rest of 2019 with foreign buyers signalling they are no longer willing to buy from UK exporters due to ongoing Brexit uncertainty.
Ian Wright CBE, Chief Executive, FDF, comments: “The food and drink industry continues to out-perform expectations, delivering another quarter of exceptional exports growth despite the damaging uncertainty with which businesses have to contend.
“The rapid growth to Saudi Arabia, is just one example of this strength. With the right support in place our industry could deliver so much more. We urge Government to help us to provide the support our industry urgently needs to further enhance this growth.”
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View the FDF Exports Snapshot Q1 2019