Prospects for UK agri-food exports

This analysis examines export opportunities for UK producers, both ones that exist currently and those that may emerge over the coming decade.

Pinpointing the opportunities

The expansion of the middle classes in emerging markets across the globe is strengthening the demand for protein and imported foods. And globally the British brand is well-regarded, being associated with quality and high safety standards. So how can UK producers and exporters capitalise on these favourable circumstances?

Read the AHDB chair's introduction 

Who is this analysis for?

We aim to help producers and exporters build an understanding of the opportunities and challenges of trading in different world regions. Policymakers and trade negotiators will also find useful the review of economic potential in overseas markets.

Analysis by world region 

Europe: The EU remains one of the UK’s most important trading partners and will continue to be a key opportunity in the future due to the proximity of the market and well-established relationships.

Asia: Asia holds significant potential for UK exports due to its large population, increasing middle-class wealth, rising meat consumption and consumers’ high regard for food safety and quality.

North America: The main opportunity for UK exporters in North America will be for premium red meat and dairy products which are differentiated from domestic production.

Middle East and North Africa: MENA offers significant opportunities for UK exporters, especially for the lamb and dairy sectors due to the region’s strong population growth together with limited production capacity driving food imports higher over the next decade.

Central/South America: Currently, the UK has export health certificates to export red meat to only two countries in the region, which includes South America and CAPDR (Central America, Panama and the Dominican Republic). Strong competition from the USA, Brazil and Argentina adds to the challenges the UK faces in this market, but there is potential ahead, particularly for offal.

Sub-Saharan Africa: There’s room to expand on the amount of commodity level red meat the UK currently exports to Ghana, Cote d’Ivoire and South Africa as well as increasing premium cuts into South Africa.

Where does the UK currently export to?

The European Union (EU) remains the UK’s most important trading partner. But now the UK is free to strike trade deals with other nations, so it is worth exploring where the most fruitful opportunities lie. 

Read about top export markets outside of the EU

What drives international demand?

We present data on gross domestic product (GDP), population growth and income per capita.

Read about the three main drivers of agri-food demand

Continuity of supply

When examining the UK’s potential to maximise exports, it’s important to determine how much the UK produces of each agri-food product and how much is available to export. 

Read about how much of each UK agri-food product is available for export

Who are the UK’s main competitors for exports?

This section examines the key competitor producers.

Read about who are the UK's main competitors

What can the UK learn from key exporting nations?

Here we look at the strategies of successful exporters: the USA, Australia, Ireland and the Netherlands.

Read about successful exporting nations