UK food and drink exports rose by more than 11% in 2010, driven by double-digit growth in shipments of dairy products, seafood, meat and prepared foods.

Export revnues reached GBP10.83bn (US$17.38bn), up 11.4% on 2009, data released by the UK Food and Drink Federation today (14 March) showed.

Dairy exports were up almost a quarter to GBP977.1m. Fish and seafood sales climbed 13.8% to GBP1.33bn, while meat sales increased 11.7% to GBP1.46bn.

Sales of prepared foods - including soups, sauces and ice creams - rose 10.3% to GBP2.59bn.

Ireland remains the top export market for UK food and drink exports, with the top five markets made up by France, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain.

FDF director-general Melanie Leech said: "These figures show that our products are sought across the globe for their quality and great taste. The food and drink industry must be at the heart of the UK's strategy for economic growth."