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Report indicates how food and drink exports have been affected by lockdowns

The UK Food & Drink Federation (FDF) has reported a drop in UK food & drink exports during the pandemic of over £700 million to £5.1 billion.

A reduction of 12.7% compared with the same time-period last year. Worst hit were exports to EU countries, which fell by 17.4% to £3.1 billion, mainly due to the pandemic and its impact on the hospitality sector.

However, the Federation’s analysis, which it published on 27 May) showed an increase in branded exports to the USA, China and Australia, which together accounted for a 4.5% increase.

FDF's head of international trade, commented, "Manufacturers and the other hidden heroes working across the supply chain have ensured continued access to essential food and drink for UK shoppers during this crisis. But we can now see how COVID-19 has impacted valuable overseas sales of UK food and drink that were worth over £23 billion in 2019. The closure of the hospitality sector in high-value export markets in the EU and further afield has been devastating for many exporters. However, we can also see that opportunities do remain in retail channels in many markets."

However, a pandemic-induced recession should, by its nature, be temporary and economies are expected to bounce-back as soon as the shutters go up again. This will be the case throughout Europe.

The European Commission Spring 2020 European Economic Forecast on 6 May, revealed that real-time data suggested that economic activity in Europe had dropped steeply over the previous weeks as containment measures "put the economy into a state of hibernation", but economic output is expected to pick up again once businesses and customers resume their former interaction.

"Private consumption, which for several years has been the backbone of economic growth in Europe, is expected to contract by about 9% in both the EU and the euro area this year", the report stated. "This sharp fall is, however, forecast to be mainly concentrated in the current quarter, as the lack of opportunity to spend results in ‘forced savings’. It is then expected to start recovering quickly once containment measures are lifted."

food and drink exports