Exports of Yorkshire and the Humber food and drink increased to almost £1 billion in the year to March 2018, up 13% compared to the previous 12 months, according to the latest figures from HMRC.
The most popular products from the region overseas were meat (19% increase to £161 million), dairy products and eggs (28% increase to £75 million), and beverages (14% increase to £57 million).
The statistics also show that more firms in the region are targeting the Middle East, with 33% more food and drink exported to the UAE during the period, when compared to the previous twelve months.
There was also a marked increase in appetite for Yorkshire produce from North America, with local businesses growing exports to Canada and the US by 7% and 6% respectively.
Exports to Japan grew by 6%, a market considered to be a growing opportunity for UK food and drink businesses.
Food Minister George Eustice said: “Our food is known for its high quality and great taste and there has been a huge growth in the worldwide demand for British produce.
“Through the Food is GREAT campaign the government provides invaluable support to food and drink companies in the Yorkshire and Humber so they can access foreign markets and see their businesses grow.
“I hope these latest figures – which show the success of local businesses who have branched out abroad – will encourage other firms to take the first step in their exporting journey.”
As part of Defra and DIT’s support, a number of Yorkshire and the Humber based companies have been able to visit overseas markets around the world on trade missions recently, including the Food and Hotel China (FHC) show in Shanghai and Gulfood in Dubai.
Mark Robson, Head of Regions, Yorkshire and the Humber at the Department for International Trade, said: “Many Yorkshire food and drink firms, from breweries to cheesemongers and crisp makers to ice cream producers, are already benefiting from a growing overseas appetite for local produce.
“Businesses are successful in taking the leap into exporting when they have well-considered business plans, when they take advantage of government initiatives to help them develop relationships with buyers in new markets, and when they have a good understanding of the tariffs, regulations and logistics of their new market. These are all things that local International Trade Advisers can help with.
“There’s plenty of support on hand to help companies that are hungry to sell overseas, including 29 International Trade Advisers right here in Yorkshire and the Humber, who are ready to help firms get started.”