“Food and drink manufacturing continues its rise as a major UK growth industry,” said Santander. “The manufacture of dairy, meat and pastry products is worth £21bn to the UK economy alone.”
In a top 10 list of the nation’s largest manufacturing sectors the operation of dairies and cheese making was listed in fifth position, with year-on-year growth of 12% to £7,929M in 2014. See the table below for more detail.
Processing and preserving of meat
Listed in seventh position was the processing and preserving of meat, with production valued at £6,596M in 2014 – up by 7% on the previous year.
The manufacture of bread, fresh pastry and cakes appeared in eighth position. The sector’s production was 4% up at £6,281M compared with 2013.
Taken together, UK food and drink production represented the nation’s largest manufacturing sector.
Overall, UK production grew 3%, or £9.2bn, to £364bn at the end of 2014, according to analysis of the latest official PRODCOM Report from the ONS.
The manufacture of luggage, handbags and saddlery was said to be the fastest growing UK manufacturing sector, up 54% year-on-year and worth £205M.
Largest single category manufacturing sector
The manufacture of motor vehicles remains the UK’s largest single category manufacturing sector, worth £36bn to the economy as at the end of 2014, according to the statistics.
Charles Garfit, head of manufacturing, Santander Corporate & Commercial, said: “We believe that a significant part of the growth in UK production is down to a focus on luxury products, as evidenced by the growth in handbags and luggage as well as the success of a number of upmarket UK car marques.
“Santander is also increasingly working with and supporting manufacturers of high-end food and drink products, usually with a strongly ‘British’ branding as these sorts of products are becoming increasingly well received domestically and also around the world.”
Meanwhile, other major sectors exhibiting major growth included the manufacture of air and spacecraft related machinery, valued at £21bn and the manufacture of pharmaceutical preparations, with a value of £10bn.