Exports of food and non-alcoholic drinks rose 10.2% to £4.82bn in the first six months of the year, according to new research commissioned by the Food & Drink Federation (FDF).

The strong performance bucked the overall trend with exports of UK goods overall, which fell 13.4% over the same period.

The sector is already on track for its fourth consecutive year of record export growth and the FDF is predicting exports of food and soft drinks to break the £10bn barrier for the first time this year.

Star performers in the first half of this year included ice cream, up 55% to £43.4m, and soups, which rose 37.5% to £17.1m.

Europe remains the key region for exports as the destination for more than 80% of UK food and non-alcoholic drinks exports, fuelled by strong growth in The Netherlands, France, Italy and Spain.

“These figures are testimony to the efforts of UK food and drink exporters to keep building their overseas sales in what are very challenging international trading conditions,” said FDF director general Melanie Leech.

“Food and drink is one of the few sectors to have bucked the trend of falling exports – and that’s due in part to our strong reputation for supplying high-quality, innovative products.”

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Are these figures a sign of British quality - or simply the weakness of the pound? Do you have an export success story to tell? Click 'Post a comment' to have your say.