Exports Snapshot: H1 2019

24 September 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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  • H1 2019 exports of food and drink increased by 5.1% (y-o-y) to £11.3bn. This has largely been driven by growth in the value of exports to non-EU countries (+9.8%), with growth over four times that of exports to the EU.

  • The UK’s food and drink trade balance has declined, indicating that relative dependence on imports has increased by 0.8% since H1 2018.

  • While year-on-year growth in the value of food and drink exports exceeded 11% in Q1, the second quarter of the year saw a decline on the same period in 2018 (-0.6%). Evidence from members suggests that the figures we reported in Q1 were significantly inflated by the impacts of stockpiling.

  • In line with this, a large proportion of members have reported that they predict exports in the wider UK economy to decline over the remainder of 2019.

  • Exports to the UK’s top trading partner, Ireland, have fallen in value on H1 2018, for the first time since H1 2015. The two key drivers of this decline were weaker exports of cereals & flours and meat-based products. On the other hand, growth to the UK’s remaining top five markets (France, USA, Netherlands, and Germany) has been positive.

  • Other key markets that have seen negative growth include Spain, Hong Kong and the UAE, where the value of a variety of exported products has fallen, including: sauces, ice-cream, meat products, and confectionary.

  • All of the UK’s highest value exported products have grown in H1 2019, with whisky, salmon, wine, gin, and pork increasing by over 10% on the same period last year. Salmon, beef and gin have also all seen volume growth above 10%.