The UK has witnessed an increase in food and non-alcoholic drink exports, according to industry data.
Overseas sales recovered in 2013, rising by five per cent year-on-year to £12.8 billion following static export levels in 2012, with strong performance by the value-added products market.
Figures published by the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) revealed that sales from the UK to the 28 European Union (EU28) nations experienced a three per cent increase in international trade last year, with peaks in quarters two and four reflecting economic performance across the region.
The EU28 is responsible for 75 per cent of total overseas sales in the industry and signs that business is recovering in the region have been welcomed.
FDF economic and commercial services director Steve Barnes claimed that the strong performance was in contrast to an overall fall in UK goods exports in 2013 and "testament to the strong demand for quality British food and drink".
The organisation reported that Ireland and France continued to be the largest export markets for the UK in 2013, with gains recorded over the 12-month period. Furthermore, China increased its purchasing of food and non-alcoholic drink by 82 per cent to £201 million, making it the second-largest non-EU market.
Sales to non-EU markets from the UK climbed by 11.5 per cent last year compared with 2012 and food commodities performed particularly strongly, with Australia increasing its purchasing by 18 per cent to £124 million.
The top-performing product category in 2013 for UK businesses in the sector was chocolate, with international sales up by nine per cent to £571 million, followed by salmon, with a growth rate of 38 per cent to £465 million, while cheese exports rose nine per cent to £443 million.
Other categories that saw a sharp rise in demand and high sales last year included lamb, soft drinks, breakfast cereals and beef.
Mr Barnes stated that the FDF "will continue to help exporters overcome barriers and inspire new businesses to start exporting as part of our 20/20 Vision for sustainable growth".
Including alcoholic drinks, the UK experienced 3.7 per cent growth in exports during 2013 to £19.4 billion, compared with 2012.