Despite political uncertainties caused by Brexit and the General Election, the UK’s food and drink sector has showed positive growth according to a new report from trade body Make UK and Santander. The report confirms that food and drink is the largest manufacturing sector in the UK, although the country still imports twice as much food and drink as it exports.
According to the report the sector is worth 15.9% of total manufacturing GVA with sales in 2018 of £85.6 billion, a sharp increase of 7.6% in just two years from 2016. As a result, the sector is now a major employer across the UK with some 440,000 employees, up 5.3 per cent since 2016 and now at the highest level for fifteen years.
A large element of this growth has come from overseas, with sales abroad up by just under one quarter in the last two years alone. The EU remains the biggest total market accounting for just under two thirds (61 per cent) of exports worth £13.9 billion, with Ireland the largest single destination (21.4 per cent worth £4.2 billion) closely followed by The Netherlands, France, the USA and Germany. However, the Rest of the World is seeing significant growth.
Make UK Chief Economist, Seamus Nevin, said, “The food and drink sector continues to benefit from British public’s desire to eat, drink and be merry. Despite the economic and political uncertainty, the sector seems to be shielded from the difficulties experienced elsewhere and is driving hard for growth in the UK and overseas. It is now a key contributor not just to manufacturing but a significant employer in many regions of the UK.”
Photo Caption: Seamus Nevin of Make UK
Photo credit: YouTube