Opportunities for U.S. agricultural exports to the United Kingdom

As the 14th largest export destination, the United Kingdom (UK) has been an important and growing market for U.S. agricultural products. A shared heritage and cultural ties have continued to bolster U.S.-UK trade. The United States is the second-largest UK agricultural supplier, behind the European Union (EU). The market presents many opportunities for intermediate and consumer-oriented products.

Consumer Oriented Products to the UK Continue to Dominate
In 2021, the top U.S. agricultural exports to the UK include wine and related products ($195 million), tree nuts ($173 million), prepared foods ($152 million), and distilled spirits ($107 million).

The UK is the second largest market for U.S. wine and related products; fourth largest for distilled spirits; fifth largest for bakery goods, cereals, and pasta; eighth largest for ethanol; and fifth largest for fresh vegetables. Consumer-oriented products accounted for 58 percent of total U.S. agricultural exports to the UK. The EU is a strong competitor for U.S. agricultural products since EU member states have low transportation costs, faster delivery times, and face no import tariffs. The United States is the largest non-EU supplier of consumer-oriented products to the UK.

Growth opportunities present across UK food and industrial sectors
At least nine U.S. agricultural products have potential to expand in the UK market: (1) food preparations, (2) dried and processed fruits, (3) tree nuts, (4) fresh fruits, (5) hormone-free meat products, (6) alcoholic beverages, (7) vegetable oils, (8) organic products, and (9) ethanol. U.S. exporters can find more opportunities in the industrial, food retail, and ingredients markets.

In recent years, sustainability and package regulations have played a more prominent role in consumers’ and retailers’ decision-making process. More consumers have paid attention to what they eat and their impact on the environment. Also, UK manufacturers and retailers have sought for alternatives to plastic packaging as the new Plastic Packaging Tax will take effect on April 1, 2022. 

For more information: fas.usda.gov

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