Exports of South West food and drink rose by 8% in 2017 compared to the previous 12 months, the latest HMRC figures show.
The amount of food and drink exports from the region increased to £810 million in the year to December 2017. Best sellers overseas included seafood (£173 million), dairy/eggs (£149 million) and meat (£94 million).
The national export picture shows that total goods exports from the UK increased by 11.6% to £244.8 billion and total food and drink exports increased by 8% to £22 billion in 2017.
One South West-based business that experienced this growth first-hand is Bruton-based Wyke Farms. The family-owned business exports 40% of its wide range of mature, vintage and smoked cheeses to more than 160 countries worldwide including France and Germany.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) have been supporting food and drink businesses in the region as part of Food is GREAT.
The campaign is the UK Government’s cross department initiative to showcase UK food and drink overseas and to help firms to export.
As part of Defra and DIT’s support, in 2017 the government departments took a number of South West based companies to markets around the world on trade missions, including the Food and Hotel China (FHC) show in Shanghai and Gulfood in Dubai.
Paul Shand, Regional Director at the Department for International Trade in the South West, said: “These latest figures highlight the first-hand experience of the many companies in the South West that are already feeling the benefits of increased global trade and finding success in overseas markets.
“We want firms to export their products and take advantage of the support available through DIT. We have 25 International Trade Advisers in the South West that can help businesses navigate the exporting process.”
The ONS stats also show that UK exports continue to grow faster than imports with the overall trade deficit narrowing by £12.8 billion from £41.6 billion to £28.8 billion.