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UK: Food and drink exports jump - study

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UK exports of soft drinks and food have hit record levels, boosted by a growing taste for UK products in Central European countries, according to a new study.

Research commissioned by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) reveals that exports were worth GBP9.23bn (US$15.17bn) in 2008, up 20% in value terms on the year before.

If alcoholic beverages - notably Scotch Whisky - are included, exports hit GBP13.6bn, said the report, published today (11 June)

Soft drinks was the star performer, with the sector increasing exports by 30%.

"Amid all the economic gloom, this is a genuine 'good news' story," said Melanie Leech , director general of FDF.

"UK food and drink manufacturers have built a strong international reputation for quality and innovation over many years - and it's clear that our sector continues to perform strongly on the export stage, despite challenging global circumstances.

"As the government this week looks to promote the importance of international trade through World Trade Week, these figures are a timely reminder of the important economic contribution made by the UK's biggest manufacturing sector."

Central Europe was one of the standout regions for exports, with growth fuelled by the demand for a wide range of UK food and drink products in the former Eastern Bloc countries.

Exports to Hungary were up 74.3% to GBP40.2m; exports to Poland were up 53.6% to GBP116.4m; those to Latvia were up 51% to GBP8.6m; to Slovakia up 45.2% to GBP11.5m; and to Lithuania up 32.7% to GBP9.7m.

Report author Chris Brockman, market research manager of Leatherhead Food International, said: "These figures represent yet another impressive performance from the UK food and drink exporting community. Exchange rates have clearly swung round in the favour of UK exporters, but the weakening of global markets means that competing on the international stage remains a challenge."


Sectors: Soft drinks

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