United Kingdom: Food and drink exports in H1/2015 fall in value as exchange rates bite

London / UK. (fdf) The British Food and Drink Federation (FDF), Food + Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) and Open to Export launch Food + Drink Export Feature to help SMEs looking for exports support.

The value of UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports has dropped, reaching a total of six billion GBP in the first six months of the year – a fall of 5.3 percent on the same period in 2014.

The figures released by FDF show that the value of exports to the EU shrank by 7.5 percent in the first half of the year. The rise of Pound Sterling against the sharply depreciated Euro has made UK exports less competitive in key Eurozone markets.

Exports to non-EU markets continued to grow (plus one percent) and value added goods were up globally, with significant increases of exports of tomato ketchup (plus three million GBP) and bread, pastry + cakes (plus seven million GBP). Confectionery exports to Canada were also up seven million GBP.

Dairy exports saw losses of 157 million GBP on record highs in the same period last year, however exports remain above pre-2014 levels and exported volumes are up for both processed and unprocessed milk and cream. Similarly, fish and seafood exports lost 137 million GBP in value, largely as a result of a sharp fall in salmon exports.

FDF’s Economics + Commercial Services Director Steve Barnes said: «Food and drink has been bucking the trend when it comes to exports for years and the value of the sector’s exports is still declining less than UK exports overall. However, we are starting to see the negative effect of exchange rates, particularly in Eurozone which remains the key destination for UK food and non-alcoholic drink exports».

«The good news is that volumes in many categories are still up and exports of value added goods to both EU and to non-EU countries are rising. Exports continue to be a key area of growth for food and drink companies and we hope that businesses will make use of the raft of free materials and expert advice during the upcoming Food + Drink Feature on Open to Export».

Elsa Fairbanks, Director of the FDEA commented: «Our latest export survey revealed that although the strength of Sterling is a growing concern, FDEA members continue to see growth potential across Asia and the Middle East as well as established markets in North America and the EU. Success is coming both from traditional products like cheddar cheese (up 20 million GBP globally) and innovative products in the health and wellbeing categories».