Welsh food and drink sector sees record exports

Welsh food and drink exports hit a record high in 2021 of £641m.

Wales also recorded the highest percentage increase in the value of food and drink exports among the four UK countries between 2020 and 2021, increasing by £89m, a growth of 16.1% .

The highest value export category for Welsh food and drink in 2021 was meat and meat products at £187 million.

Cereals and cereal preparations saw a 173% year-on-year increase from £51m to £139m, and dairy and bird eggs reached £106m.

The range of products exported is diverse, as is the range of countries to which Welsh companies export.

Welsh food and drink exports to the EU were £465m in 2021, an increase of £51m on 2020, accounting for 73% of the total.

Eight of the top ten Welsh food and drink export destinations were within the EU, with the two non-EU countries being the United States and Saudi Arabia.

The Republic of Ireland remained the most important destination for Welsh food and drink exports at £113m. Other top destinations include France (£100m), the Netherlands (£49m) and Germany (£44m).

There has been a significant increase in exports to Belgium, which were worth £56m in 2021, a 162% increase from £21m in 2020. The highest value category for the country is dairy products and bird eggs.

Rural Affairs Minister Lesley Griffiths said: “It is great news that Welsh food and drink exports have reached their highest ever value.

“The past two years have been very challenging and these figures clearly demonstrate the resilience and determination of our Welsh businesses to succeed in overseas markets.

“Wales industry also leads the UK’s four countries with the highest percentage increase in the value of food and drink exports.

“I am delighted that the Welsh Government’s Food and Drink Export Scheme is helping businesses expand their trade into new and existing markets in countries around the world.”

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