Fruit and vegetable juice was the fastest-growing sub-sector in the UK food industry, rising 17% from £654m in 2017 to £768m in 2018, according to a new report from Santander. Smoothie sales saw the largest increase, with Brits spending £112m on those alone in the past year.
At the same time, sales of UK-manufactured beer dropped to their lowest level in 10 years – down 16% to £3.1bn – as young people increasingly turned to alcohol-free alternatives. Beers sales peaked at £4.8bn in 2009.
Growing interest in veganism
Commenting on the report, Santander UK head of food and drink Andrew Williams said: “The last decade has seen the food and drink industry shaken up, with huge shifts in consumer buying habits – from growing interest in veganism to juice and smoothie diets.
“Manufacturers are having to respond quicker than ever to develop new products to meet customer demand – a pattern which is likely to continue as Brits explore the latest food fads.”
Food and drink remained the largest UK manufacturing sector in 2018, reporting sales of £71.8bn, an increase of 3% from 2017. It trumped the next biggest manufacturing industry – motor vehicles, trailers and semi-trailers – to the tune of £15bn.
Ice cream in growth
Ice cream was the second fastest-growing food manufacturing sub-sector, increasing 14% from £383m to £437m in manufacturing sales value.
Despite the growth of both fruit and vegetable juice and ice cream, cheese (£7.8bn), bread, cakes and pasties (£6bn) and processed meat (£7.9bn) maintained their positions as the foods with the highest sales in the UK.
“Food and drink manufacturing is vital to the health of the economy and the UK is widely seen as a global leader in product innovation,” Williams added.