Chocolate, beef, salmon, cheese, wine, whisky, beer and gin…
No, they’re not simply items from your favourite menu. In fact, they’re the top food and drink products exported by the UK.
And demand is on the rise. According to the Food & Drink Federation, there was an almost two per cent increase in UK food and drink exports between January and September 2018 and the corresponding period in 2017. The total number now sits at £16.4bn, with exports of branded goods sitting at £4.3bn. In the top ten (which also includes soft drinks and breakfast cereals), there was growth across the board in every category except for beer and salmon.
There appears to be a particular appetite for our produce across the EU, with export growth to these markets up by more than 4 per cent and EU export share now sitting at 62.1 per cent.
So what is the recipe behind the UK’s continued export success? It is clear that our farming and fishing industries maintain a strong reputation overseas, with that reflecting in the export figures. An explosion in the craft alcohol market has also been significant, particularly with gin which saw a 15% increase to take it to £612million.
As for the short-term picture, with Brexit continuing to cause uncertainty across the business landscape we can expect to see exports to the EU take a hit over the next year.
Greater focus on non-EU markets will be a sensible approach for businesses. The United States remains our biggest non-EU market and following Brexit there could be significant trade deals signed with the current administration. Looking further afield, there are huge opportunities in China, which is now the eighth largest export market for food and drink.
One thing that will be crucial for manufacturers is to ensure that they do not allow production standards to slip because of any cost-cutting measures brought about by economic uncertainty.
That is likely to lead to unsafe products being shipped, with recalls being required to protect consumers. As we know all too well, poorly handled recalls can do colossal damage to the reputation of certain food and drink – something nobody is hungry to see happen in the months and years ahead.
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What is Industry 4.0 and how could it affect our food chain? https://t.co/zHBTKEpcfs https://t.co/mQXxJMXSX2
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