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FDF urges next government to champion the UK’s food and drink sector

Published:  20 November, 2019

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has launched its manifesto in which it has called on the next UK government to champion the nation’s food and drink industry, and support long-standing industry proposals to “boost the thriving sector’s productivity”. 

Unveiled this afternoon, the manifesto sets out the five key policies, which the FDF said it “needs the next UK government to implement to ensure the UK’s food and drink industry continues to be a national success story”.

The policies comprise; 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; supporting efforts to make food production and consumption more environmentally sustainable, and help tackle climate change; working with industry to develop home-grown talent and boost skills to equip the industry for its future; and driving productivity with the Food and Drink Sector Council. 

With just one in five food and drink businesses exporting, there remained “much untapped potential within the sector”, said the FDF. 

“UK food and drink possesses an unrivalled reputation overseas for quality and provenance, supported by high environmental and safety standards. 

“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,” said CEO Ian Wright CBE. 

The next government, of whatever political hue, would want to tackle issues like obesity and plastic packaging, he added. 

“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, had been “long over-due”, he added, but said were “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.”

The food and drink manufacturing industry employs over 450,000 people throughout the UK and is worth more than £31bn to the economy.