Qatar demand sees Yorkshire food and drink exports soar to £1.2bn

Photo of Doha's West Bay. PA
Photo of Doha's West Bay. PA
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The export of food and drink products from Yorkshire rose three per cent last year, with demand from the Middle East making a big contribution to the increase.

Yorkshire and the Humber food and drink exports totalled £1.2 billion last year with coffee, tea, cocoa and spices the region’s largest food and drink export, totalling £201.9 million.

Sugar, sugar preparations and honey were the region’s fastest growing export, increasing by 24 per cent to £65.2 million.

Exports to Qatar increased by 123 per cent during the period, making it the fastest growing market for Yorkshire food and drink

Exports to Australia also experienced a significant jump of 24 per cent on 2017.

Food Minister David Rutley said: “From farm to fork, the UK’s food and drink industry is renowned for quality and high standards. Appetite for our produce is growing, with food and drink reaching a record £22.5 billion last year.

“I am pleased to see businesses in Yorkshire taking advantage of the increasing demand for high quality British food and drink, with products such as tea and coffee boosting our reputation around the world.”

Sheffield-based Pura Panela, which produces a natural dried sugar cane juice called panela, has played a part in this sector’s growth. The company began exporting to the Middle East after it exhibited at Gulfood, the world’s largest food and drink trade show in Dubai.

Mark Robson, head of region, Yorkshire and the Humber at DIT, said: “The excellence of Yorkshire food and drink is increasingly being recognised, causing a surge in overseas demand for it. This is particularly relevant in markets like Qatar and Australia, making now the perfect time to export. It’s great to witness so many of our region’s businesses begin to export.”