Food and Drink

Our experience in the food and drink sector has been built up over many years by serving the needs of our food and drink clients, many of which are manufacturers and those in the peripheral sectors such as packaging, marketing and distribution. We understand and keep up to date with the challenges that food and drink businesses face.

The food and drink industry

Coronavirus impact
The long-term impact of coronavirus on the food and drink industry is as yet unclear. For some, there have been unprecedented uplifts in demand in spite of running at maximum capacity, whilst others in the catering trade supply chain or niche producers have seen falls in demand and have needed to shut down some of their capacity. Meanwhile, reliance on digital technologies has greatly increased - with vast numbers of employees working from home bringing challenges relating to communication and staff well-being. The uncertainty in the market has meant that many are considering their business analytics and forecasting software in order to better understand business performance and forecast as accurately as possible. Others are looking more closely at business efficiency due to financial pressures with a view to reducing stock levels and improving their ability to adapt to the rapidly changing environment. 

A return to strategic growth
At the heart of UK Food and Drink is the basic fact that people need to eat and drink! Increasingly the world has become aware of the wide range of quality products that the industry produces and international markets will continue to be attractive going forward.

Consumer choice has and will continue to evolve with people seeking quality, innovative products whilst also increasingly ‘buying local’. Many others are making more health conscious choices, alongside a balance of ‘treat’ items. What this provides is a wide spectrum for the industry to develop suitable products for UK retails, food service and hospitality / tourism sectors.  Add the international aspect and you have a large accessible market for UK Food and Drink companies to attack.  

To make the produce, convert and then sell to the end customer, people with a range of skills are required and attracting people with the right skills is becoming increasingly difficult. With many food and drink businesses reliant on migrant labour and EU nationals, political uncertainty will only create a further challenge.

The environment and health
The heightened focus on the role of plastics in packaging and concerns about health and obesity rates are also high up on the agenda for many food and drink businesses and our knowledge of the industry enables us to provide the most practical advice to our clients and ensures that they can continue to meet changing consumer demands.

Our events
We organise a variety of food and drink sector events including factory tours, seminars and round table discussions. Regularly these events are run in partnership with the Food and Drink Federation and are focussed on topical challenges that food and drink businesses are up against. Our clients are invited to these events and therefore gain access to a forum where we encourage and facilitate the sharing of ideas to combat these issues. 

Since the coronavirus outbreak, we have been organising a variety of virtual events for the food and drink industry including webinars and round table discussions. We will continue to provide valuable insights for our food and drink clients during this period.

Our food and drink team
We have a national team dedicated to the food and drink industry which enables us to understand the challenges that businesses within the industry are up against. What we have seen has driven the Food & Drink sector in recent times is a focus on collaboration, provenance, premiumisation and a growing synergy with Agriculture and Hospitality/Tourism.

Our partnerships

The Food and Drink Federation
We are delighted to sponsor the Food and Drink Federation, the voice of the UK food and drink industry in the UK. We are proud to support an organisation that helps its members operate in a highly regulated marketplace whilst communicating the industry's values and concerns to Government, regulators, consumers and the media. 

Scotland Food and Drink
We are a supporter and a member of Scotland Food and Drink.  Over a number of years we have supported collaborative events and shared knowledge.  This includes Leadership Dinners, FD Forums and input into future strategic plans for the sector.  This has allowed us to understand the increasing drive in Scotland to bring more synergies to F&D and Hospitality / Tourism.  Examples of this are visitor experiences at whisky and gin distilleries which enable showcasing of product and a fantastic hospitality/ tourism experience.

Latest insights

Protecting margins a key focus for food and drink manufacturers
20 July 2022
The latest food and drink statistics reveal UK food and drink exports have maintained a steady uptick in Q2 2022, with overall exports for May 2022 sitting at £2.07bn, up from £1.98bn in April 2022. This follows rapid acceleration in exports at the start of 2022, marking a return to pre-pandemic levels.

UK food and drink exports to Europe return to pre-pandemic levels
16 June 2022
The latest food and drink statistics for April 2022 reveal UK food and drink exports have accelerated rapidly at the start of 2022, with exports to the EU sitting at £1.07 billion, showing a return to pre-pandemic levels.

UK food and drink manufacturers still to feel full impact of Ukraine crisis
19 May 2022
The latest food and drink statistics for March 2022 reveal UK food and drink exports are sitting at the strongest level since October 2020, with exports at £2.3 billion, showing manufacturers are successfully managing to navigate new markets post-Brexit and pandemic.

Manufacturers facing the highest food inflation in a decade
21 April 2022
UK food and drink exports in 2022: The latest statistics reveal a huge uptick in exports to the EU at the start of the year with a 96 per cent and 55 per cent increase for January and February, respectively, following a 12-month downward trend in 2021. 

The Russia-Ukraine conflict to cause further supply chain challenges
18 March 2022
The latest food and drink trade statistics for January 2022 reveal a slight increase in UK imports, while exports decreased slightly, with the latter demonstrating the prolonged impact of Brexit and the recent Omicron variant on staffing shortages and supply chain issues.

Brexit encourages the UK to pursue international markets outside the EU
17 February 2022
The latest food and drink trade statistics are indicative of the tumultuous year the UK economy has faced, with significant fluctuations in import and export figures throughout 2021 driven by the impact of Brexit and the recent Omicron variant.

Year on year food and drink exports down for fifth month running
24 January 2022
The latest food and drink trade statistics show a mixed picture. Monthly food and drink exports continued to creep up in November 2021; but they are still 2 per cent down when compared to last year, which has been an ongoing trend since June 2021. 

New variant Omicron could add more pressure to an already strained supply chain
16 December 2021
This month we’ve seen another increase in exports with marginal increases to EU markets and an uplift in non-EU exports. However overall annual exports remain down 8 per cent on last year.

Supply chain overhaul is needed to de-risk food and drink sector
19 October 2021
This month we’ve seen another dip in the value of UK food and drink exports globally when compared to the same period in 2020 – down 1.9 per cent on August last year.

July's UK food and drink esports down 3.7 per cent on last year
21 September 2021
The UK exported nearly £21.4bn globally for the 12 months to December 2020 so is there a chance that parity could be achieved in the 12 months to December 2021 despite the Brexit related issues that the sector has faced? 

UK food and drink exports at highest level since Brexit 
17 August 2021
It’s good to see UK food and drink exports at its highest level since the UK left the EU; monthly exports to the EU are up 153 per cent, from 392m in January to 992m in June. The direction of travel looks good; however, exports to the EU have slowed by five per cent when compared to last month - highlighting the acute impact the ‘pingdemic’ and supply chain disruption has had on output. 

Monthly food and drink exports for May up 20 per cent on last year
12 July 2021
With so many negative headlines around about the drop in exports of UK food and drink to the EU since Brexit, it’s great to see that the ONS data for May suggests that exports to the EU are up by 7 per cent on the same month last year. It is important to acknowledge that exports of UK food and drink across all international markets for May were up by more than 20 per cent on the same month in 2020.

UK food and drink businesses are getting to grips with Brexit
15 June 2021
The UK Food and Drink sector remains strategically important to our economy and to many consumers globally. This appetite is driven by the industries focus on quality and provenance of products along with an entrepreneurial flair which is helping the sector navigate around the twin challenges of Brexit and COVID.

A hard winter but a better spring beckons for the food and drink sector
31 March 2021
Like a lot of the economy the Food and Drink (F&D) sector has faced many challenges caused by COVID.  In addition a perfect storm of further full UK lockdown for Q1 2021 and Brexit actually happening have further added to these challenges….but spring beckons…