China’s growing taste for pork and other western items helped UK food and drink exports grow 2.5 per cent in the first six months of the year, to £6.1 billion.
The figures from the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), which do not include alcoholic drinks, come against a backdrop of struggling exports across the wider economy.
Although 2013 began slowly, this was offset by strong second quarter as the economic outlook in Europe improved. Non-European Union markets grew even faster: China entered the top ten markets for British food and drink firms for the first time, a climb largely accounted for by a boom in pork exports, up by 126 per cent to £102 million in the first six months of 2013.
A deal signed by the UK government last year helped, as it cleared the way for certain pork products to be sold to China, including offal, ears and trotters.
FDF’s economic and commercial services director, Steve Barnes, said: “The performance to non-EU markets was … a credit to companies investing to grow internationally.”