Bakery products were key performers of the UK’s food exports in 2012 – helping to contribute to the total of £12.1bn in 2012, according to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).

The FDF said the export market for cakes increased by 7.9% to £200m and sweet biscuits also improved by 2.7% to £279m.

However, unsurprisingly, last year’s poor UK harvest impacted heavily on the supply of grain available for export – in Q4 alone, the value of cereal exports fell by £160m (compared to Q4 2011).

Further contraction in exports to the EU27 (-1.4%) was again counterbalanced by continued growth to non-EU markets, up by 4.6%.

Despite staying at 2011 levels, food and drink exports remain resilient compared to exports from other UK industry sectors, which fell by 4.5% overall.

Steve Barnes, FDF’s economic and commercial services director, said: “Despite a very tough trading year, food and drink exports remain resilient. Last year’s poor UK harvest and the continued contraction of key EU markets have both had a significant impact on overall performance.

“Nevertheless, food and drink manufacturers have continued to make strong inroads abroad, travelling further afield to drive sales of great British-made products. At a time when other sectors are struggling to find demand overseas, this achievement should be applauded and encouraged.”

• For further analysis of the FDF export figures see the 22 March issue of British Baker