avocado smoothie m&s

Smoothie sales have surged

Fruit and veg juices have emerged as the fastest-growing sub-sector of the UK food industry, with sales rising 17 per cent in 2018, according to Santander’s analysis of the latest ONS Prodcom data.

Juice sales rose from £654 million in 2017 to £768m last year, with more than half of 16-24-year-olds having juice drinks at least once a day.

Among all fruit juice drinks, sales of smoothies rose fastest, with people spending £112m on smoothies alone in 2018.

Meanwhile, sales of UK-manufactured beer dropped to their lowest level in a decade at £3.1 billion, down from £3.7 billion in 2017 and a peak of £4.8bn in 2009.

Food and drink remained the largest UK manufacturing sector in 2018, reporting sales of £71.8bn – a three per cent increase on the year before.

Overall UK manufacturing sales hit a record high of £390.1bn in 2018 – an increase of £9.4bn (2.5 per cent) from the previous year.

Andrew Williams, head of food and drink sector at Santander UK, said:“Food and drink manufacturing is vital to the health of the economy and the UK is widely seen as a global leader in product innovation.

“The last decade has seen the food and drink industry shaken up with huge shifts in consumer buying habits, from growing interest in veganism to juice and smoothie diets.

“Manufacturers are having to respond quicker than ever to develop new products to meet customer demand – a pattern which is likely to continue as Brits explore the latest food fads.”

Ice cream was the second-fastest growing food manufacturing sub-sector, increasing 14 per cent from £383m to £437m in manufacturing sales value.

An unusually hot summer and a shake-up of manufacturers’ product offering, including allergy-friendly and low-calorie options, boosted sales across the UK. The rise of consumers adopting a plant-based diet saw sales of vegan ice cream jump by 26 per cent.

Despite the surge in sales of fruit and vegetable and ice cream, British staples of cheese (£7.8bn), bread, cakes and pastries (£6bn) and processed meat (£7.9bn) held their place as the foods with the highest sales in the UK overall.

UK manufacturing remains the ninth biggest in the world, contributing over 45 per cent of all UK exports.