The US is also proving a receptive market for British goods, with exports up a buoyant 12%. However, Asian markets are still suffering and exports are down 3%.
Food from Britain announced the figures after its sixth annual Food and Drink Exporter of the Year awards where Weetabix took top prize. Wal-Mart was also honoured, winning international retailer of the year.
The ceremony, at London's Intercontinental Hotel, rewarded British national and regional exporters and attracted a record number of entries. FFB chairman Gordon Summerfield said he was confident the upward trend would continue. "There is a lot to be positive about. Exports affected by foot and mouth, such as lamb, pork and dairy products, are starting to get back to pre-restriction levels."
He added: "These latest figures prove that with resilience and long-term commitment, British food and drink manufacturers can weather difficult trading conditions and deliver strong international sales."
The top food and drink export market is Ireland, worth £725.9m, up 6%, while South Korea has shown the biggest growth, up 47% to £134.6m, driven by a 35% rise in whisky.
The emphasis is firmly on value added products over commodity foods which has helped the total figure. Value added food accounts for 60% of exports, spurred on by ethnic and convenience food. Beer also does particularly well.
>>p36 Export awards