Food and Drink Exports hit record levels in 2017

Date: 28/02/2018
Author: GMCC
Company: GMCC

According to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), the value of food and drink exports have reached record levels in 2017 to reach £22bn with over 13.4 million tonnes of goods sent overseas, an increase of 10% in comparison to 2016. UK food and drink businesses now sell their products to no more than 217 markets.

The Republic of Ireland was the UK’s top export market in 2017 with £3.7bn worth of food & drink, just before France and the United States. The USA is the only country outside the European Union in the Top 5 export markets, with sales rising to 3% in 2017.

The industry export growth was primarily driven by the sales of beers, gin, milk, cream, cheese, chocolate, salmon, pork and whisky. British alcohol has also seen a significant increase in its sales overseas with 484 million bottles of whisky exported in 2017. Scotch whisky now accounts for 20% of all UK food and drink exports. UK beers have also attracted an increasing demand, appearing on shelves as far as Japan and New Zealand. Over the last ten years the value of gin exported from the UK has doubled to break the £500m barrier in 2017 with around £184m sent to the USA.

But food & drink exporters are worried about the uncertainty around Brexit, as establishing new trading relationships around the world are becoming one of the priority. The Food and Drink Federation director stated that “UK Food and Drink brand are known across the globe for their provenance and quality” and that “we must now build upon this platform to take advantage of new opportunities and the growing global appetite for great British and Northern Irish manufacturers as we leave the EU.

This shows a growing interest in British food & drink products overseas, and great opportunities for UK producers and manufacturers outside the EU. Keep your eyes open for our upcoming events and trade missions around the Food & Drink sector.

Do you work in the Food & Drink sector? Are you looking to expand your business overseas? Email me at to see how we can support you.