The figures released by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) show that the value of exports to the EU shrank by 7.5 per cent 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 (+1 per cent) and value added goods were up globally, with significant increases of exports of tomato ketchup (+£3m) and bread, pastry & cakes (+£7m). Confectionery exports to Canada were also up £7m.
Dairy exports saw losses of £157m 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 £137m in value, largely as a result of a sharp fall in salmon exports.
To help food and drink companies crack the exporting journey and understand which markets offer the best growth opportunities in the current economic climate, FDF, Food & Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) and online export community Open to Export are launching The Food & Drink Export Feature on Monday 7 September.
A joint initiative between Open to Export, Government and industry, the Food & Drink Feature will run from 7 – 22 September. The initiative will include webinars, expert advice on currency issues, trade shows and niche markets, as well as case studies from successful exporters. Live webinars will include:
- Ask the Experts - Live Currency Q&A - 9 September;
- Finding Your Niche - 16 September;
- Business Opportunities for British Companies in Australia, featuring Coles, one of Australia's largest supermarket chains - 22 September.
FDF's Economics & Commercial Services Director Steve Barnes commented: “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 globally) and innovative products in the health and wellbeing categories.”