British firms selling record amounts of fruit and vegetable juices overseas

Shipping orange drinks to Spain and soft drinks to the US, the UK now exports vegetable and fruit extracts to 96 countries

Not content with shipping curry to India and exporting cheese to France, British firms are now selling record amounts of fruit and vegetable juices overseas.

Sales of juices reached an all-time high of more than £65m in 2013, according to analysis by the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs of HM Revenue & Customs figures.

The new figures, released today, show how apple and orange juice are Britain's biggest international sellers with a combined £35m in sales. And juices produced in Britain, some of which are from home-grown fruit and others from imports, are now shipped to 96 countries including Spain, Italy, Brazil and the United States.

The demand for British-produced fruit and vegetable drinks has soared by almost 40 per cent since 2010, up from £46m to £65m, and making the UK the fourth biggest juice exporter in the European Union. The countries to which Britain started exporting juices for the first time in 2013 include the Cayman Islands, Croatia, Grenada, Guyana, Ivory Coast, Senegal and Seychelles.

Elizabeth Truss, the Environment Secretary, said: "It's testament to the can-do attitude of our UK juicers that they're selling orange juice to the likes of America and Spain, countries famed for their orange production – though given we're already selling ice to Sweden and cheese to France it shouldn't come as a great surprise."

She added: "With 96 countries worldwide now enjoying our juices there's potential for industry to drive sales even further."

Gavin Partington, head of the British Soft Drinks Association, said the "worldwide demand" showed that the UK was producing "some of the best juices in the world".

The growing demand for British juices is part of a food and farming sector worth £103bn, which employs one in eight people in Britain. And exports of food and drink are at £18.9bn – a record high.

One British company which has benefited from this boom in exports is fruit juice and cordial firm Belvoir Fruit Farms. The Lincolnshire company is best known for its Elderflower Pressé, which is made from flowers that are grown locally. Its exports rose 60 per cent between 2013 and 2014, to £2.6m.

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