Exports Snapshot: Full Year 2018

25 March 2019

We publish regular reports outlining the latest UK food and drink export statistics, which can help your company to prioritise markets for exporting. Our reports include: data on the UK's top food and drink exports, key export markets, areas for growth, and updates on FDF's trade-related policy work.


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  • Headline data indicates a modest increase in UK food and drink exports, up 2.5% (y-o-y) to £22.6bn in 2018, compared to growth of 9.7% in 2017.
  • Export growth to EU markets was positive (+4.3%), whilst exports to non-EU markets declined slightly over 2018 (-0.3%), raising the EU share of exports to 61.4%. Although there has been a fall in exports to the UK’s non-EU trading partners, three of the top 20 non-EU markets have shown growth rates exceeding 10% (China, Australia, and Singapore).
  • Positively, the food and drink trade deficit narrowed by 1.4% in 2018, standing at - 24.0bn, which is £348.0m smaller than the same period in 2017.
  • As shown in Figure 1, the overall value of exports has nearly doubled over the past decade, from £13.3bn in 2008 to £22.6bn last year.
  • Beer and salmon have reported consistent negative growth in 2018. This fall in salmon was mainly driven by the US (overall drop of £55bn, or 8,718 tonnes), and was closely followed by France, which saw a 6,406 tonne drop in salmon imports from the UK.
  • On the other hand, whisky, chocolate, and cheese, the UK’s top 3 food and drink exports, have all shown growth over 2018 in volume and value. Notably, chocolate and cheese both saw faster growth in export volume over 2018 compared with 2017.