UK cheese exports grow 25% in H1 2017

By Jenny Eagle contact

- Last updated on GMT

UK cheese exports on the rise. Photo: iStock
UK cheese exports on the rise. Photo: iStock

Related tags: European union, United kingdom, International trade

The UK Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has reported record exports growth in H1 2017, with a 25% increase in cheese exports.

It claims the first half of 2017 saw exports of all UK food and drink grow to £102bn, up on 85% on H1 2016.

Stronger growth in EU countries

The UK's top three export products are whisky, salmon and beer. Contrary to recent export trends, stronger growth was reported to EU countries (+9.0%) than to countries outside the EU (+7.6%).

Ireland, France and the US are the top three destinations for UK food and drink in terms of overall value.

Positive growth was reported in all top 20 markets, apart from Spain and Japan. Spain saw a 17.6% decrease compared with H1 2016 due to a drop in commodity exports such as wheat and barley, while Japan was marginally down by 2%.

It is great to see such strong growth in our exports to EU Member States​,” said Ian Wright CBE, Director General, FDF.

The EU remains an essential market for UK exports as well as for supplies of key ingredients and raw materials used by our industry​.

We believe there are significant opportunities to grow our sector's exports further still​.

The continuing weakness of sterling is a concern. However, we hope that with the determination of businesses and the assistance of Government, we can open more channels and provide a further boost to the UK's competitiveness on the world market​.”

South Korea; China; Belgium

The three export markets that saw the greatest percentage growth in value in H1 were South Korea (+77%), China (+35%), and Belgium (+39%).

The US is the UK's top non-EU market for exports of branded food and drink, reaching £91.5m in H1 2017, up from £87.8m in 2016.

FDF Top 10 products

Top UK branded goods sold to the US in H1 included food preparations, bread, pastry, cakes, puddings and sweet biscuits. The US has been identified by the Government as providing significant opportunities for a trade deal post-Brexit.

While the fall in the price of the pound had helped to boost UK export competitiveness, this currency weakness has also led to an increase in the cost of many essential imported ingredients and raw materials. This has resulted in the UK's food and drink trade deficit increasing by 16% to - £12.4bn in H1 2017.

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