The creation of the Sector Council recognises the importance of the many sub-sectors that make up the nation’s £112 billion ‘farm to fork’ food chain and employ almost four million people.
Since April, FDF and its members have been working closely with Defra and BEIS on an ambitious set of proposals as part of a food and drink manufacturing sector deal to increase productivity gains, while providing much-needed stability to one of the industry’s most affected by Brexit.
The Government’s recent Made Smarter Industrial Digitalisation Review report estimated that the food and drink industry could add an additional £55bn to the economy over the next decade through improved digitalisation alone.
While exports of food and drink have grown to record figures over the past year, just one in five food and drink manufacturers currently sell to foreign markets, presenting a considerable untapped opportunity for the industry.
It is hoped that the Sector Council will enable industry growth, with exports, innovation and skills seen as priority areas for both food and drink manufacturing and the other sectors which make up the food chain.
Ian Wright CBE, FDF Director General said:
“This is great news. We have been calling for a Food and Drink Sector Council for some time and this is recognition from Government of the central importance of the food and drink supply chain to the economy.
“UK food and drink is a major national asset and the envy of the world. The creation of the Council acknowledges the importance of the sector to both national security and economic growth, and will allow us to unlock our very significant productivity potential and secure our position as a global leader in safe, sustainable, and high-quality food and drink.
“We will continue to work closely with both Defra and BEIS to ensure we secure a transformative sector deal for food and drink manufacturing.”