Exports sales of cakes have fallen 12.5% in the first nine months of 2018 – a decline of £23.9m year on year.

The slump in cake sales came as total exports of food and drink rose 1.8%, according to Food and Drink Federation (FDF) data comparing January to September this year with the same period in 2017.

UK cake exports were worth £166.8m this year, which is 12.5% below the £190.7m recorded a year ago and puts exports back in line with the £154.7m recorded in 2016. In the past quarter (July to September), cake exports have fallen 19.2%.

A year ago, cake exports were benefitting from good sales to France and also a strong performance from Premier Foods’ overseas division, with Mr Kipling and Cadbury cake sales booming in Australia.

This year, however, Premier reported that sales at its international business fell 9% year-on-year in the 26 weeks ended 29 September due to capacity issues that resulted in phasing shipments of Cadbury cakes to Australia. Premier also said sales had been impacted by wholesalers raising the price of some Premier products they export.

In contrast to the decline in cake exports, overseas sales of UK bread products have risen 5.3% to £92.9m.

In terms of total food and drink exports, sales to EU markets rose 4.1%, while sales to non-EU markets fell 1.8%. The EU accounts for 62.1% of the UK food and drink export market.

“Despite the tumultuous times, UK food and drink exports continue to grow,” said FDF chief executive Ian Wright. “These results record a very creditable performance across many product categories and destination markets. However, it is clear that businesses must work even harder to deliver.”

Graham Stuart, minister at the Department for International Trade, added that the recently launched UK Export Strategy set out support for businesses as the government looks to increase exports from 30% to 35% of gross domestic product.