Wales only UK nation to exceed pre-Covid food export levels in 2021
Wales was the only UK nation that exceeded pre-Covid food and drink export levels last year, according to a new report by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).
The increase has been driven by strong exports of cereals, up 173% since 2020.
Overall, Scotland, Wales, the West Midlands and the North-East of England had the strongest export growth, reflecting recovery from supply chain problems caused by Covid.
England was the worst performing UK nation during 2021.
Food and drink exports totalled £10.2bn in 2021, down 9% from 2020, and 15% lower than in 2019.
The biggest food and drink export category in England was beverages, with a value of £2.3bn with sales up nearly 8% in 2021, but still down on pre-Covid levels.
Ireland is Wales’ largest export partner, with exports up 7% since 2020.
Strong growth was also seen in exports to France and Belgium, growing 42% and 163% respectively.
The report says that Scotland now accounts for the largest share of UK food and drink exports, with almost 30% of total exports, worth £5.7bn, up 14.6% since 2020.
France is Scotland’s largest export partner, overtaking the United States, with exports now worth more than £1 billion.
Scottish food and drink exports to China nearly doubled in 2021 to nearly £225 million, making up 4% of the nation’s exports.
The FDF’s chief executive Karen Betts said: “It’s very encouraging to see exports starting to recover across many parts of the UK, with companies starting to pull out of Covid-related disruption and adapting to the UK’s new trading relationships.
“Every product we export is rooted in our culture and our communities, and it’s great to see that our food and drink is sought out by consumers all over the world.”
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