UK food and drink exports to EU plummet after Brexit

Monday, June 21, 2021

Sales plunged because of post-Brexit changes and the impact of the pandemic, say sector representatives.

In the first three months of 2021, sales to non-EU countries accounted for 55 per cent of all UK food and beverage exports, down from less than 40 per cent a year earlier, according to Food and Drink Federation data.

Exports to non-EU nations rose 0.3 per cent to £2 billion, way better than exports to Europe, but this was not enough to stop total food and beverage exports falling 28.1 per cent to £3.7 billion.

That means that, for the first time in a decade, the aggregate exports of food and drink fell to £3.7bn, down from £5.1bn a year earlier.

"The loss of two billion pounds of exports to the EU is a disaster for our industry, and is a very clear indication of the scale of losses that UK manufacturers face in the longer-term due to new trade barriers with the EU," said Dominic Goudie, the federation's global trade chief.

John Whitehead, Director at Federation of Food and Beverage Exporters, said: "Whilst some of this large drop can be put down to end-of-year stockpiling, significant business has been lost as a direct result of the additional bureaucracy, customs delays and costs of trading with the EU."

Dairy exporters have been the most affected.

Compared with 2020, dairy and cream exports to the EU dropped by more than 90% and cheese exports by two thirds over the same period.