Yorkshire food and drink exports hit £1.2bn in 2018

Yorkshire food and drink exports totalled £1.2bn in 2018, marking a 3% rise on the year prior, according to the latest HMRC figures.

Qatar was the fastest growing market for the region’s food and drink last year, with exports rising by 123%. Exports to Australia also experienced a significant jump of 24% on 2017.

Coffee, tea, cocoa and spices remained the region’s largest food and drink export, totalling £201.9m. Sugar, sugar preparations and honey were the region’s fastest growing export, increasing by 24% to £65.2m.

Pura Panela, a Sheffield-based producer of natural dried sugar cane juice called panela, began exporting to the Middle East after it exhibited at Gulfood, the world’s largest food and drink trade show in Dubai.

During the event, the business received support from Defra and DIT, which arranged numerous meetings for the company with Middle Eastern food and drink trade buyers.

Hull-based Mummy Meagz, which is a vegan packaged-treat brand, is also targeting the growing demand for Yorkshire produce from international markets. The business, which plans to grow its exports sales to more than 50% of its overall turnover by the end of 2019, is currently in discussions with buyers in Australia.

Food Minister David Rutley said: “From farm to fork, the UK’s food and drink industry is renowned for quality and high standards. Appetite for our produce is growing, with food and drink reaching a record £22.5bn last year.

“I am pleased to see businesses in Yorkshire taking advantage of the increasing demand for high quality British food and drink, with products such as tea and coffee boosting our reputation around the world.”

Mark Robson, head of region, Yorkshire and the Humber at DIT, added: “The excellence of Yorkshire food and drink is increasingly being recognised, causing a surge in overseas demand for it. This is particularly relevant in markets like Qatar and Australia, making now the perfect time to export.

“It’s great to witness so many of our region’s businesses begin to export, or grow their international footprint by making a name for themselves overseas. Firms that export are more resilient, profitable and ultimately more successful, which is great news for the local economy.

“Overseas opportunities are out there for ambitious firms and we’ve got a team of dedicated International Trade Advisers to guide food and drink producers throughout the whole exporting process – from logistics and paperwork to due diligence on new markets. I’d urge businesses looking for support to get in touch.”