British Food Exports Reached Record Highs In 2022

April 1, 2023

British food and drink exports reached all-time highs in 2022, with exports to non-EU markets smashing through the £10 billion barrier for the first time.

Food and beverage export seen a rebound last year, surpassing pre-pandemic levels in most categories to reach a record £24.8 billion, according to the Food and Drink Federations (FDF) full-year trade snapshot.

According to the report, exports to Europe increased by 22% to £13.7 billion, while fast-growing economies like Vietnam almost doubled. Developing markets also performed well. Exports to non European Union countries have reached £11.1 billion for the first time, surpassing the £10 billion threshold.

Whilst disruption to supply chains and rapidly increasing energy costs have contributed to the increase in the value of British exports, most product categories have had robust volume growth over the past year.

According to the FDF, this demonstrated that there was a growing demand for British food and drink products across the globe.

The leading food export from the UK is still chocolate, valued at £824 million. Although, Cheese seen a sharp increase in international sales during 2022, and is projected to overtake it in 2023.

british chocolate export

With a value of £705, Salmon was third in terms of the value of British food exported in 2022, but both the value and volume were significantly down from the previous year.

british salmon export

Whisky once again was the dominant British export with a value of £6.4 billion in 2022, dwarfing all other products. Scottish whisky exports grew by 37.2% compared to 2021, representing £1.7 billion growth. This came primarily from Asia and Oceania, particularly Singapore, India, and Taiwan. However, the United States remains the biggest national market for the national drink.

Despite the recent upheaval, British food and drink was in high demand, according to Dominic Goudie, head of FDF’s international trade.

“This is supported by a border that prioritises the efficient movement of short shelf-life products, while protecting our vital trade with EU partners and beyond.”

Director of the UK Food and Drink Exporters Association Nicola Thomas added a statement saying: “These cheering export growth figures are testament to the dogged determination of UK food and drink exporters, not only to exploit global commercial opportunities, but also to break down the myriad of barriers which hindered their international trade drive in 2022.”

Thomas added “We are encouraged to see the increasing demand for British products in emerging markets such as Vietnam and the MINT territories which are helping to up new sales avenues for our more established exporters”

“In addition, recent FDEA research among our network of overseas in-market partners highlights a wide range of product categories in almost universal demand including snacking, non-alcoholic drinks, health & wellness, dairy and private label.”

“There is huge scope for UK companies to seize further opportunities in 2023” she said.

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