Last year saw record exports UK food and drink worth more than £22 billion pounds.

UK food and drink businesses are selling their products to 217 markets. Sales of milk and cream have increased by 61%, salmon by 23% and pork by 14%.

Leading the export market by some margin is whisky which raised £4.5 billion through international sales. UK beer has been embraced by Japan and New Zealand, while gin continues to go through a ‘ginaissance’ with international sales of UK brands reaching more than £500 million.

From January to December 2017 the UK also sent £85 million worth of cheese to France, £21 million of chocolate to Belgium and even £2 million of tea to China.

Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Defra, said: "Farmers, fisherman and our food producers are all helping to deliver a Brexit bonus - with more exports of British food and drink than ever.

Contrary to the constant negativity of the doom-mongers, the British economy is going from strength to strength showing that a Green Brexit can deliver for the whole country."

This growing hunger for UK produce reveals the huge opportunities for producers and manufacturers as the UK prepares to leave the EU. The US remains the largest market outside of the EU, worth £2.3 billion last year and rising 3% from the previous year.

China is the 8th largest export market for UK food and drink. Over £560 million worth of food and drink was bought by Chinese consumers last year, who showed a particular preference for UK salmon, whisky and pork.

Food and Drink Federation director general Ian Wright CBE said: "UK food and drink is known across the globe for its provenance and quality. We are a proud home to many of the world’s most beloved brands.

"We must now build upon this platform in order to take advantage of new opportunities and the growing global appetite for great British and Northern Irish manufacturing as we leave the EU."

Major UK exports include whisky (£4.5 billion), salmon (£720 million), chocolate (£680 million), cheese (£623 million), beer (£603 million) and shellfish (£600 million).

The top five countries that the UK exports to are Irish Republic (£3.7 billion), France (£2.3 billion), USA (£2.3 billion), Netherlands (£1.5 billion) and Germany (£1.4 billion).