UK food and drink exports dropped 1% in the first half of the year to just over £4bn, with Europe proving a tough market for suppliers to crack. Food From Britain said the continuing weakness of the euro and increased price competition had caused the drop and warned that exports to Europe would be almost impossible to grow in the current climate. Exports to the EU fell 5% in the last six months but losses were offset by gains in areas including Central and Eastern Europe ­ up 13% ­ and the Middle East and North Africa ­ up 11%. Marketing and international management director Simon Waring said: "These figures clearly show that UK food and drink manufacturers need to adopt a global strategy to combat tough trading conditions. By spreading their exports to a number of markets, they will be able to ride these market fluctuations." - FFB Export Awards, see pages 10 and 11. {{NEWS }}