Export growth has been fuelled by strong performance in new and emerging markets including Eastern Europe and the Far East. China entered the top 20 export destinations for the first time with a 55 per cent increase on 2010, partly due to changing tastes and an increasingly westernised diet. South Korea increased by 37 per cent and Hong Kong by 41 per cent. Established non EU markets also performed well with exports to the US rising by 25 per cent between 2010-2011. The non EU share of the £12 billion total was 23 per cent compared to 77 per cent for the EU.
FDF Director General Melanie Leech said: “Whilst the domestic market is growing at a steady rate we are seeing very strong performance from food and drink exports. There remains considerable interest in British heritage brands and around our health and wellbeing innovation. Companies understand the importance of developing new markets, competing successfully in many cases against other experienced exporters in France, Germany and Spain.
“We were delighted to work with Government on the export action plan launched earlier this year, which should be of benefit in particular to SMEs which are by far the biggest sector of our industry and have the potential to grow in existing and emerging markets.”