UK Food and Drink Industry

There are many essential steps in the chain that links the primary producer of foodstuffs to the consumer. Some consumers are served their food directly by caterers. Most derive their food from a retailer, who provides the essential service to the consumer, their customer, by making available their needs and wants in a convenient and affordable manner.


UK Food and Drink Industry

In a less visible, but no less important part of the chain, upstream from the retailer and downstream from the primary producer is the food and drink industry. The food and drink industry is crucial the health and wellbeing of not only the individual UK consumer: it is crucial to the health and wellbeing of the UK economy.


The sector is the largest component of the UK manufacturing industry. Measures such as turnover, employment, or gross value added, all compute at approximately 14 - 16% of the total. In addition, this performance is stable. The industry has been, is, and will continue to be, a major factor in the lives and economic health of the people and the country.


The industry is characterised by fierce competition. For a business to prosper, innovation is essential, and the drive to maintain a competitive edge underpins a significant investment in the research and development. UK food manufacturers spend over £1billion per year on R&D, though this amount is not evenly distributed throughout the industry. A relatively small number of companies account for the large majority of the R&D investment.


A precompetitive vision for the food and drink industries
Future food security is a key global challenge: we need to produce more, from less and with less impact to meet growing demand and the consequences of climate change. Using science and innovation will be critical to success. We have consulted widely with industry and academic stakeholders to identify the research priorities needed to maintain and enhance the UK's competitive position in global food manufacture.  The precompetitive vision for the food and drink industries has been developed to complement the UK agricultural technologies strategy, describing the shared innovation priorities of the food and drinks manufacturing sector, intercalating with the agricultural technologies strategy through the whole supply chain to the consumer and also considering health and diet influences at an entire population level. Progress in all the areas outlined in the vision is essential for a resilient, resource-efficient and safe food manufacturing supply chain for 21st century populations, here and across the world.


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