British food and drink exports hit record highs in 2017 in a huge boost for the economy ahead of Brexit.
Sales of goods to overseas markets jumped to £10.2billion in the first six months of the year, up 8.5 per cent from the same period last year, according to the food and Drink Federation (FDF).
The top three exported goods were whisky, salmon and beer.
South Korea and China were the export markets with the biggest growth, as East Asian markets have a growing taste for British beer.
Overall Ireland, France and the US are the biggest festinates for food and drink out of the UK.
America imported £91.5million of Britain’s branded food and drink, with the Government prioritising the country for a trade deal after Brexit.
Exports to the EU grew by around nine per cent, as the weaker pound helped boost competition for British companies.
But China, India and the UAE are the top three target markets that food and drink companies would like to target.
Ian Wright CBE, director general of the FDF, said: “The growth of food and alcoholic drink exports is very encouraging.
“We want to work with Government to take advantage of increased demand for UK products overseas and the opportunities that leaving the EU is expected to create.
“It is great to see such strong growth in our exports to EU Member States.
“The EU remains an essential market for UK exports as well as for supplies of key ingredients and raw materials used by our industry.
“We believe there are significant opportunities to grow our sector’s exports further still.”
Food Minister George Eustice MP added: “These encouraging figures show that the UK’s high quality foods and high standards are sought after around the world.
“We have ambitious plans to produce and export more of our fabulous foods around the world and more businesses are trying exporting for the first time.
“Last week we announced further market access to China for pork producers and UK beef will soon be heading to the Philippines.
“We will continue to work with industry to open new opportunities.”