Exports of South West food and drink increased to £760m in the year to March 2018, an increase of 7% compared to the previous 12 months, the latest HMRC figures show.
The most popular products from the region overseas were meat (£97m) and dairy products and eggs (£148m).
The statistics also show that more firms in the region are targeting China, with 24% more food and drink exported to the country during the period, when compared to the previous twelve months.
One business that’s seen an uplift in sales first hand is Wellington-based Somerdale International.
The dairy company exports British cheese brands to more than 50 countries worldwide including the US, Australia and the Caribbean, and has announced plans to double its exports to China in the next two years.
Treasury secretary Liz Truss visited Cornwall to herald the thriving food industry in the South West and encourage more businesses to export sought-after Cornish foods abroad.
Ms Truss used the visit to several food manufacturers in Cornwall this week to unveil new figures that showed food and agricultural exports in the first quarter of 2018 were up for the fourth year in a row.
From January to March 2018, £175 million worth of food and agricultural goods were exported from the region around the globe, up £10 million on last year.
In 2017, nearly £700 million worth of Cornish food and agricultural goods were exported around the world, and the Chief Secretary hopes that this figure will be bettered this year.
The Treasury Secretary said: “Food manufacturers in this region have made a flying start to 2018 and it’s hugely encouraging to learn, once again, that food exports are up for the first quarter of this year.
“Exporting boosts the earnings of a business, and the wages of local workers, it also enhances the reputation of Britain and Cornwall around the world.
“I want to see more people abroad enjoying a taste of Cornwall, like the magnificent clotted cream I’ve seen made during my visit.
“It is so important that local traders in this part of the world have the opportunity to increase their trade and create jobs and I’m here to learn how we can help them do this.”
While visiting Cornwall, Ms Truss was hosted by groups of businesses and also visited several food manufacturing factories.
The South West region now has the second-lowest unemployment rate of all UK regions. #
With employment increasing by 37,000 this year alone, with a record high 2.8 million people now in work.
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 as part of the Food is GREAT campaign.
The campaign is the UK Government’s cross department initiative to showcase UK food and drink overseas and to help firms to export.
As part of DEFRA and DIT’s support, in 2017 the government took a number of South West based companies to markets around the world on trade missions, including the Food and Hotel China (FHC) show in Shanghai and Gulfood in Dubai.
Paul Shand, regional director at the Department for International Trade in the South West, said: “These latest figures highlight the first-hand experience of the many companies in the South West that are already feeling the benefits of increased global trade and finding success in overseas markets.
“We want firms to export their products and take advantage of the support available through DIT. We have 25 International Trade Advisers in the South West that can help businesses navigate the exporting process.”
The ONS stats also show that UK exports continue to grow faster than imports with the overall trade deficit narrowing by £12.8 billion from £41.6 billion to £28.8 billion.
Our BQ Bulletin emails will land in your inbox at 7.30am, Monday to Friday, with a mix of the latest local business news, national news, and features to inspire you. Sign up here!
Click here to read our privacy statement