73,000 new food and drink jobs in England and Wales

By Nicholas Robinson contact

- Last updated on GMT

More than 84,000 jobs will be created in food and drink in the UK
More than 84,000 jobs will be created in food and drink in the UK

Related tags: Drink manufacturers, United kingdom, Scotland, England, Drink federation

More than 73,000 jobs will be created by food and drink businesses in England and Wales by 2020, as a result of innovative new products and increased export opportunities.

A survey of 173 English and Welsh food and drink firms with turnovers between £5M and £100M – carried out by Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking – showed that 100% of respondents predicted their businesses would grow within the next five years.

Lloyd’s survey follows a report from the Royal Bank of Scotland showing an extra 14,000 jobs would be created in Scotland’s food and drink industry​ by 2020.

The majority (82%) of firms surveyed claimed their businesses would grow by up to 25% in the next five years.

Mergers and acquisitions was another reason for the growth, especially for those with an annual turnover of more than £750M.

Increase their exports

Future food and drink in figures

  • 73,000 new jobs by 2020
  • 100% of businesses to grow over next five years
  • 82% forecast up to 25% growth by 2020
  • 72% of businesses will expand into new markets
  • 74% see greater public health awareness as positive
  • 44% see EU exit as biggest challenge
  • 35% believe volatile energy prices are problem

Source: ​Lloyds Banking Commercial Banking

More firms (72%) would also increase their exports by capitalising on the provenance of their products, the survey said.

Western Europe was the most popular export market for English and Welsh firms, however, the number of businesses targeting the area was down by 16% on last year to 60%. More firms would target non-EU countries, the survey said.

The second most popular target market was North America (49%), followed by the Far East (43%).

Britain’s food and drink industry was “world class”, ​said Food and Drink Federation director general Ian Wright.

“Although many of the most dynamic and best-loved food and drink brands originate here in the UK, our producers are exporting innovative techniques and ways of working worldwide,” ​Wright said.

‘Manufacturers’ track record’

“Our continued and growing success abroad speaks to the popularity of UK plc and our food and drink manufacturers’ track record of producing original, quality products.”

‘World class’ industry

“Our continued and growing success abroad speaks to the popularity of UK plc and our food and drink manufacturers’ track record of producing original, quality products.”

  • Ian Wright, FDF

Despite being optimistic about their future, the firms surveyed cited a lack of skills as one of the major obstacles to growth.

Over a quarter (28%) of respondents said the retirement of hundreds of thousands of workers by 2020 would challenge their ability to grow.

Head of mid-sized businesses at Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking Andrew Connors said: “Productivity presents an ongoing challenge for the UK economy.

“Against this backdrop, the continued commitment from food and drink manufacturers to drive productivity and innovation through R&D ​[research and development] is a clear indication of the crucial role this sector plays in the broader economy.”

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Related topics: Ambient foods

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