UK food and soft drink exports down 5% in first half of 2015

UK food and soft drink exports down 5% in first half of 2015

Revenues from UK food and soft drink exports fell over 5% in the first half of the year, with the rise in the value of sterling against a depreciating euro making the country less competitive in the eurozone.

Exports reached GBP6bn (US$9.2bn) in the six months to the end of June, down 5.3% on the first half of 2014, according to data from industry body the Food and Drink Federation.

The FDF did not provide figures for exports to eurozone countries but said sales to the EU as a whole fell 7.5% to GBP4.3bn. Sales to markets outside the EU were up 1% at GBP1.7bn.

Steve Barnes, the FDF’s economics and commercial services director, 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 [the] 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 rose in only two of the UK's top ten markets - Spain at six and Saudi Arabia, the tenth-largest market.

China, the 11th largest market for UK food and soft drink exports, saw sales fall 11% to GBP95m.

However, sales to each of the markets ranked 15 to 20 in the list - the UAE, Thailand, Australia, Japan, Canada and Portugal - were up.

Of the UK's top ten categories by export sales, only sweet biscuits, vegetables and condiments saw revenue rise. Exports of salmon, the second-largest category, fell 28%