Wales is the only UK nation to exceed pre-COVID export levels, according to new research by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).
The FDF’s UK Food and Drink Exports report reveals the latest picture for country and regional exports of food and drink for 2021.
The report shows exports in Wales were worth £558m, 13% higher than in 2019 and before the supply chain problems caused by COVID and the new UK-EU trading relationship. An important sign that the food and drink industry can play a vital role in levelling up the country.
Key findings from the report include:
- Wales, alongside Scotland and the North East of England, has seen the strongest recovery in response to the challenges of COVID and the new UK-EU trading relationship
- In 2021, exports were worth £558m which was largely driven by strong exports of cereals, up 173% since 2020.
- Strong growth was seen in exports to France and Belgium, growing 42% and 163% respectively.
The share of exports to non-EU markets is increasing in Wales, and there are big opportunities to drive further export growth as the UK Government delivers new trade deals with increased market access. However, a key priority for our sector remains improving the implementation of the UK-EU trade agreement.
One unknown is the impact of the war in Ukraine. Already we are seeing the conflict push up energy prices and impact on supplies of certain key ingredients, including vegetable oils, cereals and white fish.
The FDF Cymru’s chief executive Pete Robertson said:
“From cereals to coffee and ham to honey, we are proud that produce from Welsh food and drink companies is now a much sought after good around the world.
“With more opportunities to export expected in the near future, Welsh food manufacturers are leading the way in putting the UK on the map while providing vital jobs for local people at the heart of our communities.”
Welsh Government Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said:
"It is excellent news our Welsh food and drink businesses have exceeded pre-covid export levels and are leading the growth across the UK nations.
"We have fantastic companies in the sector and I am proud of the resilience they have shown during a difficult couple of years."
For more information on the new report or for media opportunities, contact the FDF Communications Manager, Jack Atchinson on 07701 380755 or email firstname.lastname@example.org