‘What’s next for the food sector’ webinar round-up

Thank you to Ian Wright, CEO of the Food and Drink Federation for sharing his thoughts on the future of the UK Food Industry, alongside their partners Santander at our recent webinar.

Ian highlighted 6 major issues facing the industry, describing a current inflexion point / cross roads –

 

  • The impact of Brexit on exports which are recently down by 40%, and will likely settle at somewhere between 20% and 40% smaller over time
  • 90% of UK food manufacturers import goods and ingredients from the EU. As yet new regulations brought about by Brexit haven’t yet impacted but are likely too in the near term, causing supply chain bottlenecks and manufacturing disruption
  • While a temporary work around is in place the wrangle over ‘bangers for Bangor’ is yet to be fully resolved and is likely to cause further disruption in the future because of the difficulties enshrined in the agreement signed by the UK government
  • There is a chronic and growing labour shortage in the UK across manufacturing, farming / processing and distribution. The government will need to act to help businesses recruit more labour or it will have a serious impact to on-shelf availability and UK manufacturing viability
  • New obesity regulations for companies larger than 250 employees, limiting the advertising and promotion of unhealthy foods are a big challenge ahead for manufacturers and retailers (with the potential unintended outcome that larger businesses de-camp to the EU)
  • Regulatory responsibility for plastic packaging recycling will be passed to manufacturers in order to support the UK government’s environmental aims

 

While these are significant challenges, impacting on food price inflation and the manufacturing cost base, Ian highlighted the strength, resilience and entrepreneurial spirit of the UK industry and highlighted Yorkshire’s strength as a major contributor to UK Food PLC.