Self-sufficiency in food is important for any country’s well-being. The food industry in the UK is the biggest manufacturing sector, worth 80 billion pounds. Even in a global downturn, the industry has continued to grow. The Food and Drink industry in the UK includes several industries such as agriculture, food processing, food retail and food service.
Food 2030, a food strategy presented by the Government, aims to produce more food with fewer resources, develop efficient food chains for easy distribution and build processing units to manufacture food products in such a way that it reduces the carbon footprint on the environment.
Food and Drink Sector in North West England:
Food and drink industry is important component of North West England’s economy and the sector shows good investment potential. There are many renowned food manufacturers in this region such as Nestlé, Halewood International, Fox's Biscuits, Heinz, Kellogg's, Patak Foods and Vimto.
North West England’s economy is vibrant and an ideal place to set up small to medium-sized businesses related to the food sector. The region is also ahead in several areas such as food technology, food hygiene and traceability, lean manufacturing, process innovation and food packaging.
The North West England Dairy sector is a major part of the UK’s overall dairy industry and is valued at approximately 1.1 billion pounds. The region is ideal for farming, dairy business, and the food and drinks industry located in the region is value for money for customers and consumers.
North West England enjoys a good connectivity to the UK and beyond through a network of motorways, fast rail links, international airports and deep-sea ports. The Food Technology Centre located in Cumbria, North West England provides state of the art facilities to businesses involved in food production in the region.
The English Food and Farming Partnership Conference has stressed the importance of attracting private investment in the Food and Drink industry. It is suggested that farming and food play a major role in a country’s economy as it directly affects the food price inflation. Growth in this sector is more likely to come from manufacturers. The Government of Scotland has set a target to increase the value of the Food and Drink industry to 12.5 billion pounds by the year 2017.
Food & Drink Sector in Scotland:
Three-fourths of the total area of Scotland is used for agricultural purposes. Some of the area in this agricultural land is suitable for breeding cattle and sheep. NFU Scotland, an organization that protects the interests of Scottish farmers, has welcomed private investment in the meat industry in Scotland. The European Fisheries Fund also aims to attract investment to boost production. Foreign investment is considered essential in this sector to improve the efficiency of the processing sector, and innovate new technologies useful for business.
Economic and environmental pressures have strongly influenced the development of technology related to agriculture and food industries in the UK. Hence, UK agro food processing and production technologies are amongst the top in the world. These technologies have a great value and demand in the overseas markets in countries such as Brazil, China, India, South Africa, South East Asia and Turkey.
UK food products have earned a reputation for high standards and innovation. The UK has over 7000 plus companies in the food sector who sell 30% of their products in overseas markets.
The main opportunities in this sector lie in selling a wide range of products such as dairy, meat products, breakfast cereals, seafood and value added grocery products in overseas markets.