As Britain prepares for Brexit, we report the latest news, views and analysis about how quitting the EU is likely to affect food and drink manufacturers.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s speech last month on the direction of travel post-Brexit, in which the UK would quit the EU Single Market, received a mixed response from business leaders and politicians.
More uncertainty will be created in the currency markets, which could hit UK food and drink importers, a foreign exchange specialist has warned, after it emerged that a ‘hard Brexit’ was more likely following Prime Minister Theresa May’s 12-point plan for leaving the EU, announced last month.
Food and drink manufacturers may face higher labour costs after Brexit, because they’ll have to compete for fewer non-UK EU workers, warns law firm DWF.
The sugar tax is a “blunt instrument” to tackle childhood obesity that “victimises” a sector already lowering sugar and calories in its products, according to law firm DWF.
The Business Leaders’ Forum – organised by the Food Manufacture Group – showcased the optimism in the food and drink sector, despite Brexit and international challenges, according to sponsor DWF, but raised more questions than answers, said Charpak, another sponsor of the event.
Britain’s prospects of securing a trade deal with the US post-Brexit were one of the main items up for discussion (along with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization) during Prime Minister Theresa May’s meeting with President Donald Trump last month.
The GMB union has urged the government for assurances that the food sector’s UK workers won’t be caught in the crossfire of Brexit, while food manufacturers and farmers compete harder for a reduced number of non-UK EU nationals.
The government has been warned against relying solely on World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules to ensure Britain’s export success after Brexit.
National Farmers Union director general Terry Jones tells Mike Stones the food industry needs to speak with unity to make the best of Brexit.
Greencore said it was confident of mitigating any Brexit-related cost increases, as it reported a 9.1% rise in like-for-like sales to £417M on a constant currency basis, in the 13 weeks to December 30.
New food and drink exports could take 10 years to develop, says agri-food consultancy Promar International, ahead of a trade mission to the US this week by a team from the Department for International Trade (DIT).
Irish businesses – including food and drink firms – are better prepared for Brexit than their UK counterparts, according to Greencore boss Patrick Coveney.
Weetabix will invest £30M in its Northamptonshire factories to expand its UK and international brands, the company’s chief executive revealed, but also warned of price rises as the pound’s value falls.
The UK food industry urgently needs assurances from the prime minister about the security of EU nationals working in the UK after Brexit, says Food and Drink Federation (FDF) director general Ian Wright.
The long-awaited new industrial strategy, due to be unveiled by Prime Minister Theresa May today, is “a landmark opportunity” to plan business in post-Brexit Britain, according to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
A lack of transparency behind the EU health claims approval process is stifling innovation and proving costly to businesses, the director of a global ingredients firm has claimed.
Speciality cake and bread manufacturer Finsbury Food Group reported “solid trading” in its half-year financial update, despite UK sales falling by 2.9%.
Food manufacturers must adapt to new markets ahead of Brexit, and add value wherever they can, said the Oxford Farming Conference’s chairman.
2 Sisters has denied union claims that Brexit was to blame for the planned 280 job losses at The Pizza Factory.
Premier Foods has launched a £10M cost-saving plan, after it reported a 10% drop in annual expected profit in its third-quarter trading update.
Food industry organisations have cautiously welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May’s assurances about the right of non-UK EU workers to continue working in the UK after Brexit, in a keynote speech delivered yesterday (January 17).
The UK is to quit the EU Single Market of 500M consumers – the biggest market for British food and drink exports – Prime Minister Theresa May has confirmed in a keynote speech yesterday (January 17).
Irish food and drink exports have topped €11bn (£9.76bn) annually for the first time – but the value of exports to the UK fell by 8% following currency fluctuations and the Brexit vote.
Mondelēz International has blamed increased costs for the expected 20% price rise of its Freddo chocolate bars to 30p this spring.
Brexit-related food price rises must not be used as an excuse to exploit workers and customers, the GMB union urged, after Premier Foods revealed it was in talks with retailers over a 5% price rise.
Premier Foods is in talks with retailers over raising its prices by about 5%, the food manufacturer confirmed on Tuesday (January 10).
British manufacturers – including food and drink firms – are preparing for “another bumpy ride” in 2017, as almost half expect more risks than opportunities over the coming year, EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, revealed.
The food and farming industries must work together to protect themselves against Brexit threats, while maximising its opportunities, urges Arla Foods’s md Tomas Pietrangeli.
Tweets criticising the government’s apparent lack of detailed planning for the food industry after Brexit dominated social media coverage of the Oxford Farming Conference. The continued availability of migrant labour was a particular concern – as our tweet selection reveals.
Brexit will bring an end to food industry red tape, promises George Eustice, minister of state at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).
Environment secretary Andrea Leadsom has tried to reassure food manufacturers and farmers worried about continued access to migrant workers after Brexit.
Organic farmers in Scotland have called for standards to remain the same after Britain quits the EU.
Happy Christmas from everyone at the Food Manufacture Group and best wishes for the New Year.
Scottish bakery ingredients supplier Macphie has reported a 7% rise in sales to £47.6M in its financial results for the year to March 2016 released today (December 23).
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has repeated calls for barrier-free access to the EU’s Single Market after Brexit, following food industry calls for continued access to its 500M customers.
The food and drink industry is facing its worst labour shortage in over a decade, and some firms risk failing to fill vacancies in the peak demand period before Christmas, the head of a labour providers’ association has warned.
Food and drink manufacturers should prepare to lose free access to the EU’s 500M consumers, because of the government’s insistence on controlling immigration, Walkers Shortbread md James Walker has claimed.
Boparan Holdings – owner of 2 Sisters Food Group – is preparing for “one of our toughest” years, warned ceo Ranjit Singh, after the food giant’s parent company reported an 11.9% rise in operating profit to £19.8M in the 13 weeks to October 29.
Brexit has left government and industry faced with the “most important, complex and troubling issue in peacetime history”, the boss of the food and drink sector’s biggest trade body has claimed.
Overseas investors are showing an increased appetite for UK and Irish food and drink firms – aided by a low pound exchange rate following the Brexit vote – but clouds are gathering on the horizon as concerns rise about the sector’s continuing access to labour from the EU.
Premier Foods and Walkers Shortbread are joining a range of food and drink manufacturers at a meeting today (December 14) organised by the Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) designed to help add nearly £3bn to the sector’s export sales.
Brexit will create new opportunities for UK food and drink manufacturers, claimed luxury ice cream producer Simply Ice Cream.
The UK’s decision to leave the EU is likely to result in import substitution as the cost of sourcing ingredients from overseas markets grows, Premier Foods chief executive Gavin Darby has claimed.
Food prices will rise without access to non-UK EU workers, warned 32 food and drink organisations, including the Food and Drink Federation and the British Retail Consortium.
Brexit is the greatest policy challenge facing UK farmers at present, with continued uncertainty about access to the single market and huge concerns about access to workers from EU Member States – particularly within the horticulture sector, the deputy president of the National Farmers Union (NFU) has warned.
Food and drink manufacturers could cut energy consumption by 27%, which reduce costs and environmental impacts, by increasing investment in energy technology, claims a new report from Barclays.
Brexit poses no threat to businesses, believes 74% of manufacturers, including food and drink firms, while consumer confidence dropped to a six-month low.
A £3M local supply chain project has been launched to help Scottish food and drink firms build connections with suppliers, processors and retailers, the Scottish government revealed on St Andrews Day (November 30).
Some of Britain’s biggest food businesses – including 2 Sisters, Müller and Wyke Farms – have urged the government to ensure continued access to the EU’s Single Market and labour after Brexit.
The sale of a West Midlands bacon producer has saved the jobs of 13 employees, after the company entered liquidation last week – partly due to rising costs caused by the UK’s Brexit vote.
Calls for a mandatory ‘method of production’ label on meat and dairy products could be fraught with challenges, according to a leading food industry lawyer.
Tesco’s chief executive has warned its food and drink suppliers that the supermarket will delist their products if they try to raise prices “without a justified reason”.
EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, has welcomed Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge to pump an extra £2bn a year into research and development.
The British Frozen Food Federation (BFFF) has urged the government to deliver quickly its food and drink export plan, after a survey revealed less than half its members thought Brexit would boost export sales.
It is “absolutely crucial” that the UK continues to adopt a precautionary approach to food safety post-Brexit, the head of a consumer watchdog has claimed.
Mondelēz International is suffering a social media backlash after changing the iconic shape of its Toblerone bar to offset rising costs.
Billionaire property tycoon Donald Trump is to become the 45th US president – in a shock election victory, after pledging a “Brexit, plus, plus plus” to “Make America great again” – leading critics to question the impact of his presidency on world trade and economic growth.
Domestic growers and farmers face a “catastrophe” if their subsidies are not maintained after the UK leaves the EU, the head of a logistics firm has claimed.
Food and drink manufacturers’ Brexit-related price rises could turn consumers to own-label brands, says Shore Capital analyst Clive Black.
Walkers crisps and fish fingers maker Birds Eye were the latest to blame the weak pound on price increases, after they raised their prices by up to 10 % and 12% respectively.
Foreign investment in UK food and drink firms accounted for more than a third of all acquisitions in the third-quarter of this year, as overseas companies look to cash in on the weak pound, which cut takeover costs by up to 20%.
2 Sisters’ parent company Boparan Holdings reported a 40% increase in like-for-like operating profit to £25.3M in its fourth-quarter trading update, despite the uncertain market following the Brexit vote.
Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit plans have been thrown into confusion after she lost a High Court battle to trigger Article 50 without a vote in Parliament – causing a jump in the pound’s value.
Brexit enthusiasts who believe leaving the EU will result in lower food and drink tariffs are suffering from “ludicrous utopianism”, the former deputy prime minister has claimed.
Irish food and ingredients firm Kerry Group reported 2.2% growth in its consumer foods division in its financial update for the nine months to September 30, despite Brexit uncertainty and fluctuating currencies.
Brexit could derail mergers and acquisitions (M&A) activity in the months ahead, despite the UK food industry being ripe for consolidation, a business advisory firm has warned.
European food and drink manufacturers’ organisation FoodDrinkEurope has welcomed the signing of an EU trade deal with Canada, viewed by some as a model for the UK’s trade arrangements with the union after Brexit.
Morrisons has raised the price of 92 Unilever products, including Marmite, just days after Tesco’s highly public row over Unilever’s price increase demands.
A £2.5M EU funding boost to support sustainable growth and investment in Scottish aquaculture has been unveiled by rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing.
The UK needs a more joined up food policy after Brexit, to overcome sustainability, obesity and food safety issues, according to Which? chief policy adviser Sue Davies.
Dairy processor Müller has announced a two pence per litre (2ppl) rise to its milk from December 1, to 22.95ppl, after both Arla Foods amba and First Milk announced similar price rises for November.
The food sector is so competitive that price wars between retailers may reduce the financial impact of Brexit on shoppers, said grocery think-tank IGD chief executive Joanne Denney-Finch.
The government needs to speed up its long-term strategy plans to support the growth of the manufacturing sector claims EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation.
Some manufacturers could relocate their operations overseas in whole or in part following the Brexit vote, a senior food industry consultant has suggested.
The government should tell food and drink manufacturers how it plans to transpose EU law into UK law before the sector can prepare for Brexit, says DWF’s head of food group Dominic Watkins.
Nestlé may raise its product prices after cutting its annual growth forecast from 4.3% to 3.5%, due to deflation and a “softer” market.
Any deregulation of food made with genetically-modified organisms (GMOs) in the UK after Brexit is likely to result in a huge rise in imports of GM products from Asia and the Americas, a technical expert has warned.
The food industry faces a “huge threat” due to the environment secretary Andrea Leadsom’s lack of an effective Brexit plan, claims the GMB union.
Brexit is going to prove “messy, acrimonious and fairly ugly”, the director general of the National Farmers Union (NFU) Terry Jones has warned.
A seasoned civil servant, Andrew Kuyk may have joined the PTF at the right time, says Noli Dinkovski.
Food manufacturing workers and shoppers should not become “collateral damage” victims of the government’s “chaotic” handling of Brexit, claims the GMB and Unite unions, after Unilever and Tesco rowed over the price of Marmite and PG Tips.
Food and Drink Federation (FDF) director general Ian Wright has urged manufacturers “don’t panic”, over Brexit worries, while acknowledging the UK was at the point of “maximum uncertainty” regarding exit planning.
Almost 70% of food and drink firms are less confident about UK business prospects than they were before the EU referendum, while many report some of their non-UK EU staff plan to return home after Brexit, warns a Food and Drink Federation (FDF) survey.
Non-UK EU workers make as vital contribution to the logistics sector as their counterparts do in the National Health Service and the construction industry, said the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
Building a third runway at Heathrow airport will become even more important after Brexit, argues the Freight Transport Association (FTA).
The British Retail Consortium (BRC) has warned that a hard Brexit – involving quitting the Single Market of 500M customers – would push the price of meat and wine up for consumers.
Food manufacturers will face three key challenges after the UK quits the EU, reveals research by farm business consultant Andersons.
Up to 1,500 food and drink industry jobs could be lost in Scotland after Brexit, which could cost the sector £150M, warn researchers.
The biggest challenge facing the UK in the wake of the Brexit vote is the level of uncertainty over what leaving Europe means, the new head of the Provision Trade Federation (PTF) has claimed.
The National Farmers Union (NFU) has appointed Nick von Westenholz to the new position of Brexit boss, as part of the organisation’s move to help put farming and food at the centre of the government planning for life after EU membership.
Small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) that invest in exporting and e-commerce are more confident about their business prospects and anticipate faster growth than businesses that do not, according to a new report commissioned by Enterprise Nation and Amazon UK.
European food and drink manufacturers’ organisation FoodDrinkEurope has failed to back calls for a European-wide Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA).
Corporation tax in the UK could be reduced to 12.5% from its current level of 20%, former trade minister Lord Francis Maude of Horsham has predicted.
Scotch whisky exports grew in the first half of 2016, despite worries about the UK’s future trade relationships with the EU and other countries.
Scotland’s food and drink manufacturers expect to boost turnover by an average of 24% over the next five years, and to create 14,000 new jobs, according to a survey by the Bank of Scotland.
The new boss of the Provision Trade Federation (PTF) has questioned the viability of continuing to support farmers with subsidies following the UK’s decision to leave the EU.
Today’s blockade of the main motorway into Calais has made drivers a sitting target, warned the Freight Transport Association (FTA), whose membership includes lorry drivers of food and drink manufacturers.
The manufacturing sector achieved record 25-year growth last month, after the steep downturn following the EU referendum, according to the Markit/ Chartered Institute of Procurement & Supply purchasing managers’ index (PMI).
Welcome to Next Month’s News, the latest edition in Food Manufacture Group’s new podcast series predicting what topics will dominate our headlines over the next four weeks.
The value of food and non-alcoholic drink exports rose by 8.7%, up by £528.3M over the past 12 months to £6.6bn, compared with the previous year, according to the Food and Drink Federation (FDF).
Free trade deals will be needed to secure exports of Scotch Whisky after the UK leaves the EU, according to the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).
The cost of manufacturing food and drink products has risen 4.3% over the past 12 months across all sectors, according to latest data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
The number of EU workers in the UK rose by almost 90,000 in the run up to the EU referendum, according to new figures released by the Office of National Statistics (ONS).
Policy pressure group Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) was criticised for not considering food security in its paper, ‘New model farming: resilience through diversity’, according to the National Farmers Union (NFU).
Food manufacturers face a “particularly challenging” time following the Brexit vote, as nearly 40% of the industry’s workforce are migrants and the overall damage to the economy is likely to reduce staff wages.
The director at a UK pork processor has voiced his concerns over the impact of Brexit on his workforce and the wider sector.
A skills shortage and the impact of Brexit are the two main challenges facing the food industry, the newly appointed chairman of the Society of Food Hygiene & Technology (SOFHT) has claimed.
Andrea Leadsom, the former Conservative contender for prime minister, had her first official outing as environment secretary last month at the launch of the Industry Approved Apprenticeship Programmes from the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink.
The boss of the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) believes the Conservative government will set out a timetable for the UK’s exit from the EU at the time of its party conference, which takes place from October 2–5.
Brexit will deliver “unique opportunities” for British food and drink manufacturers to boost exports, while allowing the industry to develop unfettered by the chains of EU red tape.
The challenges of Brexit will be at their most severe for manufacturers – including food and drink producers – over the next six months to a year, culminating in a recession until at least the end of 2017, warns a new survey by the manufacturers’ organisation, EEF.
George Eustice has retained his position as food and farming minister in the latest ministerial appointments by new Prime Minister Theresa May.
Brexit and the sugar tax topped food and drink manufacturers’ concerns this year, according to the Food Manufacture Group’s exclusive industry-wide survey. We explore the headline results of the survey with the editor of Food Manufacture Rick Pendrous.
Five possible scenarios could determine the future of the UK food and drink sector’s trading relationship with the EU after Brexit, according to the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB).
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has added to the Prime Minister (PM) Theresa May’s in tray with a four-point wish list to maintain the competitiveness of UK food and drink manufacturing.
Now that the UK has voted to leave the EU, food and drink manufacturers face even more business challenges than they did before. The scale of those challenges was revealed by our exclusive survey of Food Manufacture Group readers.
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has launched a six-step manifesto to help Britain’s biggest manufacturing sector cope with Brexit – the “UK’s most significant peacetime challenge ever”, according to its director general Ian Wright.
Food businesses face a bill of at least £2,675 to recruit every foreign worker, after the UK leaves the EU, warns law firm Simpson Millar LLP.
Despite all signs to the contrary, I don’t think many of us on the Remain side really expected a Brexit vote in our heart of hearts. Which made the result to leave the EU even more of a shock when we woke up on Friday June 24.
An integrated supply chain that standardises legislation, systems, policies, and engineering methods is needed post-Brexit, according to a leading university academic.
Food prices could remain low fuelled by intense competition by retailers despite Brexit, a leading economist has claimed.
The Food and Drink Exporters Association (FDEA) has warned of a possible “consumer backlash” against British products in Europe, after Britons’ shock vote to quit the EU.
Greene King, the brewer and pub operator, has warned that consumer confidence will be hit by Brexit.
The vested interests of east European Member States will delay and frustrate the UK’s bid to conclude a swift trade deal with the EU, an EU insider told a meeting organised by the Provision Trade Federation (PTF) yesterday (June 28).
Scotland is open for business and will continue working with colleagues across Europe, Scottish rural economy secretary Fergus Ewing has said.
Markets could be swarmed with “knock-offs” of classic regional British foods such as Cornish pasties and clotted cream thanks to the UK’s decision to leave the EU, according to market analyst Mlex.
A year of static sales and falling beef prices has created an “intensely” competitive marketplace, according to meat manufacturer Dovecote Park, as analysts warned that the price of meat imported to the UK would increase.
The first signs of Brexit’s short-term impact on the UK economy were highlighted in a survey from the Institute of Directors (IoD), which revealed nearly two-thirds (64%) of IoD members thought that quitting the EU would be negative for their business.
The UK food and drink sector has given a mixed response, so far, to voters’ decision to quit the EU. Here, we report food and drink industry leaders’ first reactions to the historic decision.
Food and drink manufacturers are coming to terms with the decision to leave the EU, after voters decided decisively in favour of Brexit, ending the nation’s 43 year membership of the union.
The result is in and the Great British public has decided – we are to leave the EU, after more than 40 years membership. Here we report reaction to the vote in favour of Brexit as featured on the social networking site Twitter.
As food and drink manufacturers study the impact of British voters’ historic decision to quit the EU, we explore how the vote may impact on the sector’s prosperity, based on the predictions of two leading campaigners – on either side of the argument – who set out their views in articles written exclusively for Food Manufacture earlier this month.
No, we can’t predict the result of tomorrow’s EU referendum debate. But we can offer you a sneak preview of the possible outcome by voting in our very own Food Manufacture poll.
The boss of Unilever is the latest senior food industry figure to speak up in favour of remaining in the EU, amid a spat over the use of the company’s logo on an official Leave campaign leaflet.
The UK economy – including its largest manufacturing sector, food and drink – will be blighted until 2020 if the country votes for Brexit, claimed The Economist Intelligence Unit.
Prime Minister David Cameron visited Greene King’s brewery in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk yesterday (June 14), in a bid to persuade staff to vote in favour of EU membership in next week’s referendum.
Poultry processor Moy Park has voiced strong support for continued EU membership, ahead of the referendum on Thursday June 23.
Environment secretary Liz Truss has claimed the future success of the UK’s food and drink manufacturing sector hinged on it remaining a part of the EU, in a speech to industry leaders last month.
The UK’s largest manufacturing industry, made up of mostly small and medium-sized firms, supplies over half of our food with a turnover of £85bn and employs over 3.5M people.
Most respondents (60%) in a ‘state-of-the-industry’ survey, conducted by this website, fear a vote to leave the EU on June 23 will be bad for their businesses, increasing the costs of imported ingredients, while hitting exports and access to labour from the EU.
Market fears over the UK’s potential exit from Europe are driving up food and drink costs, warns buying specialist Lynx Purchasing.
The EU is a friend to our food and drink industries. As former executive chairman of Marks & Spencer, I have experience of the benefits that our membership of the EU provide.
2 Sisters Food Group founder Ranjit Singh Boparan has claimed a vote to leave the EU – Brexit – could spell disaster for the UK food industry.
EU membership is “vital for the success” of the UK food and drink manufacturing sector, argues Sir Stuart Rose, chairman of Britain Stronger in Europe and former executive chairman of Marks & Spencer.
Rising output reported by food and drink manufacturers has boosted the UK manufacturing sector, despite lacklustre export demand, according to a new Confederation of British Industry (CBI) report.
Food and drink manufacturing business leaders should help their staff understand the business benefits of EU membership, ahead of the referendum on June 23, according to environment secretary Liz Truss.
Food and drink sector mergers and acquisitions (M&A) climbed by 11% in the first quarter of this year, with 51 deals completed, according to business consultancy Grant Thornton.
Britain’s ability to develop genetically modified (GM) foods was a central theme of a debate on next month’s EU referendum between two former Tory food ministers yesterday (May 12) in London.
A UK decision to quit the EU would cost the Scotch whisky industry more than £1bn in lost exports and over 40,000 jobs, warns the Scotch Whisky Association (SWA).
The UK electorate will decide next month whether or not the country remains part of the EU. And while the food and drink manufacturing sector appears to have come out firmly in favour of staying in, which way the vote goes will be a political rather than economic decision and determined by individual voters’ views.
Support for a Brexit in next month’s EU referendum is stronger among smaller food and drink operators, with many not expecting it to make a very big difference to their businesses, according to a new survey conducted by the publisher of this website.
Many manufacturing business leaders are delaying investment until after the EU referendum on June 23, according to TV business broadcaster Steph McGovern.
UK beef and lamb producers could gain access to the £60M US market after recent trade talks.
Thousands of businesses are struggling to absorb the impact of the new National Living Wage (NLW), insolvency firm Begbies Traynor has warned.
Food and drink manufacturing leaders and other business executives who support EU membership have been urged to promote the benefits of membership far more actively, in hard-hitting comments from Food and Drink Federation (FDF) boss Ian Wright, delivered in a panel discussion at the trade event Foodex.
A vote to leave the EU in the June 23 referendum could spell disaster for UK food and drink exporters, warns new research from insolvency firm Begbies Traynor.
Leading UK food and drink manufacturers have given “an overwhelming endorsement” to the campaign for the UK to remain in the EU.
Leaving the EU could spark a “food factory crisis”, according to new research on the consequences of a British exit, or Brexit, from the EU, from the Food Research Collaboration (FRC).