The first quarter (Q1) of 2018 saw exports of food and drink rise by 5.5% (year-on-year) from £5.0bn in Q1 2017 to £5.2bn.

Positive growth was recorded amongst all of the top ten products, including beef and chocolate, however this was not the case for salmon and beer, which were down £40.7m.

Of the top ten product categories, breakfast cereals saw the fastest growth, up 30.3% to £111.2m

These figures were unveiled by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) which is currently working with the Government to secure an ambitious sector for the food and drink industry.

The Japanese market recorded significant growth in categories including sweet biscuits (119%), pork (88%), soft drinks (90%) and cheese (507%).

Detailed plans outlining how the industry might fulfil its export potential have been made, building on research undertaken which identifies markets that manufacturers would like to target.

Elsa Fairbanks, director of Food & Drink Exports Association (FDEA), said: “We are greatly encouraged that 2018 has got off to such a strong start across a wide range of countries both established markets within the EU and emerging markets in Asia.

“It is a testament to the investment and effort that UK food and drink exporting companies are putting into international sales. Hopefully this will encourage more businesses to research new opportunities outside the UK.”

The full exports report, including supporting information about Q1 2018 food and drink exports, can be found here.