The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has published an analysis showing that food and drink exports increased by 1.8% to £16.4bn from January to September 2018, when compared to the same period in 2017.

Exports of branded goods also grew by £35.2m to £4.3bn, up 0.8%.

Comparative data indicates slower growth of food and drink exports from England to the rest of the world, compared with exports growth rates from the other three nations of the UK.

Comparative regional data shows that growth rates of food and drink exports in the North East and East Midlands lag behind England’s other regions.

Export growth to EU markets (+ 4.1%) was positive, while exports to non-EU markets declined (- 1.8%), with the EU exports share growing to 62.1%.

All of the top 10 export products reported growth over the January to September period, apart from salmon.

The fall in exports of salmon, down 20.1%, is primarily a result of a fall in sales to France (-19%) and the US (-36.2%).

In volume terms, this represents a decline of 16.6 thousand tonnes, which is equivalent to £94.3 million.

The most recent data on food and drink exports from the four nations of the UK, confirms that England has shown growth of just 6.2%, compared to the increase of 9.2% seen in Wales.

FDF is now in formal negotiations as part of the Government’s Industrial Strategy activity to boost specialist export support with an aim of delivering ambitious long-term export targets.

Ian Wright CBE, the chief executive of the Food and Drink Federation, said: “Despite the tumultuous times, UK food and drink exports continue to grow. These results record a very creditable performance across many product categories and destination markets.

“However, it is clear that businesses must work ever harder to deliver. Access to high quality market insight, advice and practical support is increasingly vital for success. That’s why the FDF is seeking collaboration with DEFRA, BEIS and DIT.

“We believe that together we can deliver ambitious new methods of export support which will give us the tools to take on our rivals in the highly competitive global food marketplace.”

Elsa Fairbanks, director, Food & Drink Exports Association (FDEA), added: “The FDEA has received positive feedback from members in our recent 2018 Export Survey – exporters of all sizes from around the UK.

“As the reality of the changing trading environment emerges, there is concern that sales may start to fall in the EU after Brexit and many exporters are exploring opportunities in new areas further afield.

“In light of this, we fully endorse the need for practical help and support to ensure that companies are prepared for what lies ahead.”

To read the full analysis, click here.