U.K. Food and Beverage Exports Rise 2.2% on Gains Outside EU

U.K. exports of food and non-alcoholic beverages rose 2.2 percent in the first half, helped by gains outside the European Union, the Food and Drink Federation said.

Shipments climbed to 5.96 billion pounds ($9.7 billion) from 5.84 billion pounds a year earlier, the London-based trade group said today in a report on its website. Exports increased 7.2 percent for countries outside the EU and rose 0.7 percent within the bloc, which buys 76 percent of total shipments.

The smaller increase in sales to the EU was “largely due to the euro-zone debt crisis, which has resulted in sharp falls in exports to some key markets, namely France and Italy,” the federation said.

U.K. shipments of cereal and bakery products increased 6.3 percent to 1.05 billion pounds, and sales of other prepared foods rose 1.6 percent to 1.46 billion pounds, the group said. Sales of meat products dropped 0.4 percent to 819 million pounds as exports of sugar and sugar confectionery goods fell 3.3 percent to 184 million pounds.

Exports to Ireland, the biggest buyer of U.K. food and beverage products, rose 0.9 percent and shipments to France, the second-largest, slid 7.1 percent. Sales to Italy, which ranks eighth, dropped 13 percent.

The industry group represents food and beverage producers from Twinings, the tea brand owned by Associated British Foods Plc, to United Biscuits Holdings Plc, the maker of Carr’s and Jacob’s crackers, according to its website.

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