Food and Drink Federation calls on UK government to support the sector in its latest manifesto

The UK’s Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has released its latest manifesto seeking government backing for its key sector markets amid a backdrop of continued trading uncertainty surrounding Brexit.

As the organisation noted, the combined industries employ over 450,000 people in Britain, and are worth more than £31 billion to the economy, including major players across confectionery and bakery business fields.

FDF’s manifesto outlines five key policies the next Government must implement to ensure the industry continues to thrive, supporting the considerable contribution it makes socially, culturally and economically to communities throughout the country.

This includes prioritising the closest possible UK-EU trade and regulatory relationship; tackling obesity and other dietary concerns through an holistic, evidence-based partnership which reflects real lifestyles, and supporting environmentally sustainable food production.

In addition, the FDF said it would be seeking support from the government to tackle climate change, develop talent in the UK, as well as equipping industry to deal with future challenges through the Food and Drink Sector Council.

As the organisation added, the food and drink manufacturing industry sits at the heart of the UK’s £121 billion food supply chain. Together, the it produces, packages, distributes and sells a wide range of food and drink at every price point, more than ever before, in every corner of the UK.

To ensure resilience in the UK food system, the industry must remain competitive and improve productivity. Resilience underpins the efforts of the industry, ensuring it can provide affordable food to consumers and shoppers. It allows businesses within the sector to invest in better jobs, to innovate, and improve sustainability.

UK food and drink possesses an unrivalled reputation overseas for quality and provenance, supported by high environmental and safety standards. But with just one in five food and drink businesses exporting, there remains much untapped potential within the sector. The next Government must work with industry to create a dedicated future trade policy that builds on this fantastic opportunity while preserving our status as world-leaders for quality and choice.

FDF Chief Executive, Ian Wright CBE said: “We know the next Government – of whatever political hue – will want to tackle the issues of productivity, obesity and plastic packaging. To do that successfully, it will need to work effectively with the industry and the FDF.

“The food and drink manufacturing industry touches every person, every community and every constituency in the country. It’s the UK’s largest manufacturing industry. Its success is integral to the country’s wider economic prosperity, with an impact far beyond London and the South East.

“Strategic partnerships with government, including the Food and Drink Sector Council, have been long over-due but are finally delivering. The next administration must seize upon this once in a generation opportunity to develop these relationships and build the food and drink industry our people demand and deserve.”

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