Latest figures from Defra reveal the total UK soft fruit exports soared to a record breaking £22.1 million in 2018, an increase from £13 million in 2017, writes Elizabeth Peni Brooks.
Last year, British soft fruit producers sold their goods into 34 international markets – a 55% increase on the previous year – with the Netherlands (£6 million), Spain (£5.8 million) and the Republic of Ireland (£3.4 million) being the biggest consumers.
12 of these 34 international markets opened their doors to British produce for the first time in 2018.
Speaking at the Fruit Focus Show in Kent, Farming Minister Robert Goodwill praised the British soft fruit industry for the innovative ways fruit is being produced on its farms.
He said “For soft fruits, the proof is in the pudding with exports having risen dramatically in the last year.
“This clearly shows the global demand for delicious, British-grown produce.”
Blackberries, strawberries and raspberries are some of the UK’s most popular soft fruit exports to international markets, together amounting to more than £18 million in overseas sales.
Since 2013, the demand for UK soft fruit has risen consistently with the total value of exports rising by £16.8 million – more than a 300% increase.
Mr Goodwill said the figures highlighted the untapped opportunities for farmers and food producers as the UK leaves the EU.