Manufacture of cocoa, chocolate and sugar confectionery is worth £1.1bn to the UK economy, said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Department for International Trade.
More than £680m of chocolate from the UK was bought by foreign consumers last year and exports have grown from £370m in 2010 - an 84% rise.
Opportunity to increase exports
The number of independent chocolatiers in the UK has also grown, with more artisanal and specialised products launched to meet consumer demand.
The UK government said it was supporting small businesses by helping them look at export opportunities in the 149 worldwide markets that import UK chocolate.
George Eustice, food and farming minister said: “There has been a huge growth in the number of independent chocolatiers in the UK and they are very adept at creating delicious products that are shaping consumer tastes around the world.
“There are great opportunities to increase our food and drink exports and increasing market access around the world is a major focus for government.”
UK company examples
Amelia Rope Chocolate started as a kitchen business in 2007 creating truffles and chocolate-dipped crystallised flora and now sells products in Hong Kong and Asia.
The company’s hand-foiled salted butter caramel Easter eggs were served to business class customers on the Eurostar last weekend.
Easter eggs were sold in biodegradable bags rather than cardboard and plastic.
Amelia Rope, founder of the company, said: “Exporting is vital for me and my brand. It can be hard work but I am quite resourceful. I’m excited about now expanding into the US and the Middle East.”
The Grown Up Chocolate Company founded in 2010 now has 37 employees and also benefits from exporting overseas.
It had an annual turnover of just over £2m last year and plans to expand to a larger site.
James Ecclestone, from the company, said: “Exports are a key part of what we do and represent over a quarter of our business. Our products are sold as far away as Australia, and we are keen for more people around the world to enjoy our artisanal, indulgent chocolates.”
The Department for International Trade is working with business to develop an export strategy that will look at barriers to export and identify ways in which government can help UK companies increase exporting activity and unlock opportunities overseas.
Baroness Fairhead, minister of state for trade and export promotion, said: “It is great to see British businesses exporting increasing amounts of chocolate around the world as they seek to meet the ever-growing demand for our produce.”