Food and drink sales to European markets showed the biggest gains, up 8%. Exports to France were up for the first time in seven years. The total value of exports was £8.9bn in 2002, a level last seen in 1998. Meat exports rose 18% as the industry continued to recover from foot and mouth and BSE. That was mainly lamb and pork exports, with beef exports only showing slight improvement. Added value products were the star performers, accounting for 63% of 2002's exports, worth £5.6bn.
FFB's Simon Waring said: "These results are the most encouraging we have seen for six years. Indications for trading in early 2003 show this upward trend is set to continue."