British chocolate exports rise as global demand helps independent chocolatiers get cooking
Demand for British chocolate is on the up, helping more independent businesses to get off the ground, new figures revealed today.
As the nation tucks in to chocolate Easter eggs, data showed today that it isn't just Brits who have a taste for UK-made treats.
Exports of British chocolate have risen by 84 per cent since 2010, with over £680m worth being snapped up by foreign consumers last year.
Meanwhile, demand for artisanal choccies both here and abroad has bolstered the number of independent businesses in the sector. The chocolate industry is now worth £1.1bn to the UK economy.
"There has been a huge growth in the number of independent chocolatiers in the UK and they are very adept at creating delicious products that are shaping consumer tastes around the world," commented food and farming minister George Eustice.
"There are great opportunities to increase our food and drink exports and increasing market access around the world is a major focus for government."
The biggest export market for UK-made chocolate was the Republic of Ireland, which Royal Mail has called Britain's "first-step export market".
Almost a third of exported goodies went to Ireland in 2017, as consumers picked up £214.2m worth.
The next biggest markets were the Netherlands, which ate £70.2m worth, and Germany, where consumers had an appetite for a £50.6m chocolate feast.
The news comes after recent data showed an uptick in exports of food and drink from the UK, as global consumers lap up British booze as well as favourite foods such as beef and salmon.
Today the government said it was working with British food producers to help increase levels of exporting.
Baroness Fairhead, minister of state for trade and export promotion, said: "Export support is a key way that the Government can help businesses succeed and grow, which is why I am currently developing a new Export Strategy to break down the barriers companies face when doing business on the international stage."
Despite the booming food sector, experts have warned that the UK is "falling to the back of the pack" compared to European counterparts, after disappointing export figures for the first quarter of 2018.