15 May 1998

Food exports fall by 1%

FOOD and drink export sales fell by just 1% in 1997, despite difficult trading conditions, Food from Britain has con-firmed.

Total sales of British food and drink came to £9.9bn compared with last years record figure of £10.1bn, in line with earlier predictions. That keeps the UK in the worlds top dozen largest food exporters.

Export tonnage actually increased by 1%. That suggests exporters had to reduce margins to retain market share in recession-hit parts of the EU and to offset the increasing strength of sterling, says FFB.

The equivalent of 3.2m tonnes of grain (260,000t more than 1996) was exported in products like malt, breakfast cereals, frozen poultry portions, frozen and fresh pork and whisky. Sugar, butter, salmon and smoked salmon were also strong performers.

HIGHS AND LOWS

&#8226 EU exports – down 7%, including:

France down £224m (-14%)

Germany down £54m (-7%)

Holland down £71m (-12%)

&#8226 Exports elsewhere – up 9%, including:

USA up £100m (+16%)

Russia up £29m (+26%)

Japan up £14m (+5%)