Food & Drink

From Sunday roasts to fusion cuisine, the UK is home to a plethora of places to dine. The vegan food revolution is in full flow as British consumers look to reduce their consumption of animal products, and this has created an exciting opportunity in the sector. Meanwhile, the British wine industry is one of the fastest growing in the world.

Sector at a glance

  • 4 million - The number of people employed in the UK’s food supply chain
  • £23.6bn - The value of food & drink exports in 2019
  • 3.2million - The number of Vines planted in the UK in 2019

Raising spirits

The Food & Drink sector is the largest manufacturing industry in the UK, bigger than automotive and aerospace combined. It contributes £31.1bn to the economy annually, and the food supply chain employs four million people. Small and medium-sized enterprises are well represented, accounting for 79% of businesses in the Food sector.

The industry is full of innovators, and with consumers pushing for healthier, sustainably sourced foods, and palates becoming more refined, there are plenty of opportunities for new ideas and growth. One of the sector’s biggest success stories is the whisky industry – the UK is the largest exporter of whisky in the world by a factor of six.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, the UK online grocery market was thriving. However, in September 2020, online grocery sales had risen by 77% year-on-year over the previous four weeks – with the cumulative increase in orders since the start of lockdown coming to £3.2bn. Even in trying times, the sector shows how it can evolve to meet challenges.