British food and drink exports hit a record level of £10.6 billion for the first half of 2018 – up by 4% compared to last year.

UK food and drink businesses are now selling their products to more than 200 global markets, with the US, China and Hong Kong amongst the top countries importing the best of British.

6.7 million tonnes of edible goods were shipped to foreign shores, including 16 million bars of chocolate, 400 thousand tonnes of vegetables, over 500t of strawberries and 64 million litres of ice-cream.

Traditional barbeque produce, such as sausages and cuts of beef, have risen by 48% and 17% respectively.

This is due in part to new meat export markets opening in recent years – and will be bolstered further in the future by news China will lift its BSE ban on British beef, estimated to generate £250 million in the first five years alone.

Taiwan will also soon be importing UK pork for the first time – worth an estimated £50 million over five years to the UK’s industry.

What’s it worth?

Iconic British produce such as £2 billion of whiskey, £235 million of beer, and smoked salmon worth £308 million are also being snapped up from international supermarket shelves.

Major UK exports during the first half of 2018 include:

  • Whisky £2.0 billion;
  • Cheese £322 million;
  • Chocolate £321 million;
  • Salmon £308 million;
  • Gin £280 million;
  • Shellfish £242 million;
  • Beer £235 million.

Food Minister George Eustice said: “Consumers across the globe know British produce is delicious. They also know it is high in quality and backed by high standards of animal welfare.

“This is why we are continuing to see a huge growth in the worldwide demand for the best of what British farmers and food producers have to offer.

This world-leading industry already boosts our economy by over £110 billion each year.

A team of the Government’s leading trade experts are on hand to provide guidance to UK businesses as they enter into overseas markets for the first time or consider expanding their current global customer base.

One ice-cream company who has benefitted from this Government guidance is Somerset firm Granny Gothards, whose includes British-inspired flavours such as clotted cream; blackberry and apple; and whisky and marmalade.

Established in 2012, the business already exports to Bahrain, Abu Dhabi, and Dubai and has recently branched out into China.

Founder, Amanda Stansfield said: “Seeking expert advice is key for any business looking to export produce to China.

“The support from Government trade advisers has been vital in navigating this process.”