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Manufacturers upbeat, despite market gloom

By Rod Addy , 24-Sep-2007

Food manufacturers are enjoying continued growth and remain positive about the future, despite widespread jitters and negative coverage of the sector, according to research group Plimsoll Publishing.

“Our summary of the market finds 47% of companies in the sector in a surprisingly confident mood,” said David Pattison, senior analyst at Plimsoll. “This has been fuelled largely by their latest results, but we have identified 61 companies which are the driving force behind the resurgence, having increased sales by 15% and lifted their profitability from 2.9% last year to 7.1%.

“We always knew that for many companies 2007 was a make or break year, but with all the talk of a slow down in the UK economy the figures from this elite group are really refreshing.” A total of 500 food manufacturers were covered by Plimsoll’s research.

Pattison said bad publicity in the shape of job losses could have led some people to think the food industry was in decline. However, he denied this, saying that total output for the sector had continued to rise, while sales were up 2%. “Behind all this is increased productivity and capital investment. Successful companies have been chasing new levels of efficiency to compete on the UK stage.”

Pattison said there were some areas of concern. He warned many would struggle to survive if, as expected, the wider economy was in for a bumpy ride in the next six months.