Exports Snapshot: Q1 2020

28 May 2020

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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  • In Q1 2020, food and drink exports fell by over £700m (-12.7%) compared to the same period in 2019. Sales to EU countries were the hardest hit, with the total value falling by 17.4%.
  • This decrease was largely driven by immediate impacts of COVID-19, including the closure of hospitality and travel sectors which has meant a loss of sales into restaurants, cafés, bars and the out-of-home sector across Europe.
  • While sales to the majority of our top markets have declined, demand has been more resilient from others, including Singapore, Canada and Norway, which have each seen sales growth of more than 10%.
  • The UK’s food and drink trade deficit also decreased compared with 2019, indicating decreased relative reliance on imports.
  • Declines were reported among the UK’s top ten products, with whisky, chocolate, cheese, salmon and gin seeing export value drops of over £20m in Q1. Pork, which saw an increase in value, and beef and vegetables, which saw volume increases, were exceptions to this.
  • Branded food and drink exports have declined to the EU, but have seen an uptick towards non-EU countries both in value and volume, driven by China, the US and Australia.
  • Exports of UK food and drink have a critical role to play in supporting the sector during these challenging times and driving the UK’s wider economic recovery. FDF is working with Government to address critical gaps in sector-specific export support that is urgently required.