The value of bread exports dropped 6% in 2005, compared to a rise in overall food and drink exports of 3% in 2005, latest figures suggest.

The data shows that bread exports overseas were worth £56.19 million in 2005, compared with £59.54m in 2004. Bread exports to France, Finland, Norway and Poland all dropped by over 20% year-on-year, although bakers saw significant gains in exports to countries including Germany, Denmark, Switzerland and Brazil.

Ireland is the UK’s biggest export market for bread, with exports amounting to £23.7m. France is second with exports of £9.63m, with Germany third at £4.46m.

The figures have been collated by market development consultancy Food from Britain (FFB) using HM Customs and Excise figures. FFB said overall food and drink sales overseas were up by 3% to £9.9bn over the last 12 months, and it believes there are more opportunities than ever for manufacturers overseas.