Exports of South West food and drink increased to £760million in the year to March 2018 – an increase of seven per cent compared to the previous 12 months, the latest HMRC figures show.
The most popular products from the region overseas are meat (£97million) and dairy products and eggs (£148million).
More firms are targeting China, with 24 per cent more food and drink exported to the country during the last year.
The Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for International Trade (DIT) have been supporting food and drink businesses in the region, including Bristol-based piemakers Pieminster and spirit-makers Bramley and Gage, to export as part of the government’s Food is GREAT campaign.
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 South West 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 South West-based companies have visited overseas markets around the world on trade missions recently, including the Food and Hotel China (FHC) show in Shanghai and Gulfood in Dubai.
Paul Shand, head of export for the South West at DIT, said: “Many South West food and drink firms, from breweries to cheesemongers and crisp makers to ice-cream producers, are already benefitting from a growing overseas appetite for local produce.
“Businesses taking the leap into exporting and succeeding are doing so as a result of having well-considered business plans, capitalising on government initiatives to help them foster buyer relationships in new markets, and by having a good understanding of tariffs, regulations and logistics – all of which local government trade advisers can help with.
“There’s plenty of support on hand to help companies that are hungry to sell overseas. And we have a team of dedicated International Trade Advisers in the South West to get firms started.”