Food and farming contributes £120 billion to the UK economy annually and supports 4.3 million jobs right across the country. One of its success stories is exports, with UK agri-food and drink sales overseas reaching nearly £24 billion in 2019. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted growth this year due to 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 the world.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, food and drink exports was one of the great success stories for the UK and was a great way to highlight the strength of our industry over the last few years. Research shows that exporting businesses generate higher revenues, are more profitable and productive, and contribute more to the economy. At FDF, we highlight importance of exporting as well as the export success of our members to the media, stakeholders and government through our regular export statistical reports and member case studies. Some of our members' success stories can be found below.

FDF also works with Government and other stakeholders to improve the provision of specialist support to help more food and drink manufacturers to export. As part of this, FDF has developed proposals to transform the sector's growth potential through a new government-industry partnership on the delivery of specialist export support.

Below includes useful information on:

  • Key steps to export success and where to go to find support;
  • Case studies showcasing businesses across the UK that are successfully making in-roads abroad;
  • Our regular export snapshots which highlight top markets and products and can help members with their export plans as well as identifying target markets;
  • The latest regional export statistics highlighting growth across the UK.


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FDF UK Food and drink exports report

The FDF’s new UK Food and Drink Exports report reveals the latest breakdown of food and drink exports from across the UK during 2021.



Trade snapshot: Full year 2021

The FDF’s newly released 2021 Trade Snapshot analyses trends for UK food and drink trade in 2021.


EU customs and trade support

We have been working to put in place a range of solutions that will help members moving goods into and out of the EU. This includes a programme of training courses, free expert guidance, customs support and staffing assistance.


Export statistics

The FDF publishes quarterly export statistical reports, outlining the latest UK food and drink export figures. As the sector focuses on growing exports, the FDF showcases the success of our industry via case studies.

All resources

Updates & milestones

UK food and drink regional exports report

The FDF’s newly released food and drink exports report analyses trends for UK food and drink trade in 2021, with a focus on the four nations.

For the UK, exports are down in 2021, yet some regions are showing promising signs of recovery, especially Scotland, Wales, the North East of England and the West Midlands.

The share of exports destined for non-EU markets is increasing in most regions, with particularly strong growth in London. As the UK increases opportunities around the globe, it is also important for the sector to improve the implementation of the UK-EU trade agreement, as the EU remains the largest market for all regions.

This report shows the importance of the food and drink sector in every region of the UK, and support for our sector would deliver growth and jobs in every region, aiding the government’s levelling up agenda.

Five steps to exports success


Food and drink exports are a UK success story. Reaching nearly £24 billion in 2019, they have grown every year since 2015. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted our industry and UK food and drink exports fell by 13% in the first nine months of 2020. As we reach the end of the EU Exit transition period, exporters will face further challenges.

To support businesses with this double challenge, the FDF, Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) have today produced an export guide.

Five steps to exports success

This 5-step guide helps businesses successfully navigate the export process and signposts a range of support they can access. In the guide, key terms are explained, questions answered and support offered. It also includes an overview of useful contacts and links to webinars, events as well as trade fairs that can help businesses grow their exports.


Scotland flies the flag for UK food and drink exports

Food and drink companies across Scotland are recovering from the challenges of the pandemic with manufacturers taking advantage of new trading relationships around the world, according to research by the Food and Drink Federation.

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UK food and drink firms seek new trade opportunities but shadow of Ukraine looms

Despite a drop in trade with the European Union, UK food and drink manufacturers are searching for new trading opportunities further afield, according to new research by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

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The Food and Drink Federation comments on the potential impact for business following sanctions imposed on Russia

“We're urgently working with companies in our sector to understand the impact of the sanctions imposed on Russia. Businesses want to do the right thing in ensuring they abide by the measures taken by governments in response to Russian aggression.

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The Food and Drink Federation comments on the UK-New Zealand trade deal

A trade deal with New Zealand is a welcome one for the UK’s food and drink manufacturers. Already exports of chocolate, coffee, biscuits and soft drinks are worth around £10m a year and removing tariffs on these products will drive significant further growth as UK production becomes more competitive in a global market.

Read more

All news

Free support for FDF members via Open Borders Direct

We are pleased to partner with Open Borders Direct®, to provide FDF members with free 3-month Helpline access for any member who is struggling to make head or tails of the paperwork or processes in importing or exporting. The team at Open Borders Direct® are committed to finding an answer for you; all you have to do is sign up using the Trade Association dropdown to take advantage of your three months free subscription – no credit card details are needed to access this offer.

Note: All business relationships are between Open Borders Direct® and the client, not FDF. FDF receives a small commission from Open Borders Direct® for any FDF member signing up to use Open Borders Direct®

Find out more

Related case studies

Exports has been one of the UK food and drink industry's major success stories. These case studies showcase businesses across the UK that are successfully making in-roads abroad.

Wyke Farms Ltd

Case Study

Exporter of the Year 2020

The Wyke Farms brand is one of the oldest and most widely distributed cheddar brands in the UK.

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Case Study

Joe & Seph's

Joe & Seph's are a family business from London with a mission to produce the best-tasting popcorn in the world, and were awarded FDF Exporter of the Year in 2016.

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Case Study

Loch Duart Salmon

Loch Duart farms in the Hebrides and Sutherland in a sustainable manner making no compromise in our aim to produce extraordinary tasting Scottish salmon, which is sold to leading hotels, restaurants and retailers in the UK and worldwide.

All exports case studies

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Related topics


EU exit

The FDF produces a range of resources to help guide companies through the complexities arising as the UK leaves the EU. This includes our Brexit Roadmap resource. The FDF also runs various Brexit-related committees.

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The FDF is committed to ensuring that the sector’s priorities are at the heart of these negotiations, so that UK food and drink producers can access key markets with reduced trade barriers and tariffs.

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