News / Good Trade Campaign

Food and drink exports fell by 9.7% in 2020

Food and drink exports fell by 9.7% in 2020 when compared to 2019, with the total value falling to £21.3bn, a new industry report from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and Santander UK has found.



Exports to both EU and non-EU markets fell by 8.0%, and 12.1% respectively. Most of the top 10 products exported by the UK also fell due to the pandemic. This includes a decline in volume of the UK’s top three products: whisky (-13.7%), chocolate (-2.3%) and cheese (-7.5%).

Despite this, pork sales to EU and non-EU markets increased in volume by 6.2% in 2020, with a total value of £629.7m. Sales of breakfast cereals also increased in volume by 12.6% with the top market being the Republic of Ireland.

The report also details “significant growth opportunities” for UK food and drink exporters, both in the EU and further afield. These include the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and joining the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP).

Orla Delargy, head of public affairs at Sustain said, “The Brexit deal has made it really difficult for food and drink companies to trade, with lots of additional red tape involving multiple parties such as customs agents and vets. With trade deals with partners such as Australia looming, there are concerns that UK food producers and farmers will be further undermined by cheap, low standard imports. Food and drink is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector and more than 2.6 million people signed petitions to protect food standards. This is not an issue for the government to take lightly.”

Published 26 Apr 2021

Good Trade Campaign: Campaigning for good trade that benefits people and the planet at home and overseas.

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