Growing global appetite for British food and drink exports

5 Mar 2020 12:32 PM

Food and drink exports to non-EU markets grow by 4.9% in 2019.

Growth in British food and drink exports driven by demand to non- EU markets such as the USA and Japan confirm 2019 as a major year for the industry, according to latest HMRC figures.

Statistics reported by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs, (HMRC), show the UK exported nearly £24 billion worth of high-quality food and drink, up by 4.9% on the previous year and up by over 18% since 2016.

The USA was the UK’s second biggest export market for food and drink last year, worth £2.4 billion and up by 8.0% in 2019.

Demand from Japan is also on the rise, with UK food and drink exports growing 14.1% to £311.5 million.

This year we will negotiate new free trade agreements (FTAs) across the globe, including with the USA to help UK businesses to trade with and invest in expanding markets.

Fewer barriers to trade and a buoyant economy translate to real opportunities for business, increased investment into the UK, more jobs, more choice and lower prices for UK consumers.

In Japan, the home of sushi and sashimi, a growing appetite for British produce saw annual UK seafood exports rise to £16.6 million, up 65.4% on 2018. British salmon also did well in Japan, exports more than doubled and totalled £13.3 million last year.

One business already taking advantage of growing demand in Japan is The Scottish Salmon Company. The Edinburgh based firm has recently secured a deal to supply Japanese sushi chain ‘Genki Sushi’ with their quality brand Tartan Salmon.

During Prime Minister Abe’s visit to the UK in January 2019, the ban on Japanese imports of British lamb and beef was lifted. Since then, latest figures show that during 2019 exports of British meat to Japan increased by nearly 200% and reached nearly £9 million.

As part of the UK government’s ongoing Food is GREAT campaign government and British industry are aiming to boost UK trade in food and drink exports and will continue to work with exporters to help them break into new markets.

Secretary of State for International Trade, Liz Truss yesterday said:

“These latest figures show the ever-increasing demand across the globe for high quality British food and drink.

“Our food and drink industry will play a crucial role as we look to deepen trade and investment relationships with like-minded partners, such as the US and Japan.

“Our new free trade agreements seek to secure benefits for every region and nation of the UK, for small businesses and entrepreneurs and for every industry.”

Ian Wright CBE, FDF Chief Executive and Co-Chair of the FDSC yesterday said:

“Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing industry. We have a global reputation for producing innovative, high quality products.

“Oceans of untapped export potential still remain. We are working closely with Government to unlock these opportunities and future trade deals will play a big part in ensuring food and drink remains a national success story.”