Food and Drink Federation: Next UK Government must build on existing links to champion great national success story

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has today launched its manifesto. It calls on the next UK Government to champion the nation’s food and drink sector, and support long-standing industry proposals to boost the thriving sector’s productivity. 

The food and drink manufacturing industry is a national success story with a powerful heritage. It employs over 450,000 people throughout the UK and is worth more than £31 billion to the economy.

FDF’s manifesto outlines five key policies the next Government must implement to ensure the industry continues to thrive, supporting the considerable contribution it makes socially, culturally and economically to communities throughout the country. They are:

  • Prioritise the closest possible UK-EU trade and regulatory relationship;
  • Tackle obesity and other dietary concerns through an holistic, evidence-based partnership which reflects real lifestyles;
  • Support efforts to make food production and consumption more environmentally sustainable, and help tackle climate change;
  • Work with industry to develop home-grown talent and boost skills to equip the industry for its future; and,
  • Drive productivity with the Food and Drink Sector Council the leading vehicle for partnership with Government.

The food and drink manufacturing industry sits at the heart of the UK’s £121 billion food supply chain. Together, the it produces, packages, distributes and sells a wide range of food and drink at every price point, more than ever before, in every corner of the UK.

To ensure resilience in the UK food system, the industry must remain competitive and improve productivity. Resilience underpins the efforts of the industry, ensuring it can provide affordable food to consumers and shoppers. It allows businesses within the sector to invest in better jobs, to innovate, and improve sustainability.

UK food and drink possesses an unrivalled reputation overseas for quality and provenance, supported by high environmental and safety standards. But with just one in five food and drink businesses exporting, there remains much untapped potential within the sector. The next Government must work with industry to create a dedicated future trade policy that builds on this fantastic opportunity while preserving our status as world-leaders for quality and choice.

FDF Chief Executive, Ian Wright CBE said:

“We know the next Government – of whatever political hue – will want to tackle issues like obesity and plastic packaging. To do that successfully, it will need to work effectively with the industry and the FDF.

“The food and drink manufacturing industry touches every person, every community and every constituency in the country. It’s the UK’s largest manufacturing industry. Its success is integral to the country’s wider economic prosperity, with an impact far beyond London and the South East.

“Strategic partnerships with government, including the Food and Drink Sector Council, have been long over-due but are finally delivering. The next administration must seize upon this once in a generation opportunity to develop these relationships and build the food and drink industry our people demand and deserve.”