Food and Drink

What’s impacting the food and drink sector?

The food and drink industry is a core component of the UK’s manufacturing sector. It represents over 15% of manufacturing turnover and employment in Britain. One of the main focuses for the food and drink sector is innovation, which has been particularly crucial during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. There are other key areas which have impacted the sector recently:

Realigning business models in the food and drink sector

COVID-19 had a significant impact on the food and drink industry, both from a positive and negative perspective. Many businesses in the sector reviewed their operations in line with the change in consumer behaviour.

There was a marked increase in online services, with many changing their business models from B2B to B2C. This required streamlining stock or focussing buying decisions on essential products. Whilst many food and drink producers and manufacturers continued to work throughout the pandemic, shift patterns changed in line with the changing consumer demand and revised safety requirements.

As we move out of the pandemic and lockdown lifts, we expect to see a continuation of the requirement to change and a necessity to continue flexing business plans.

origami map of uk

Impact of Brexit on food and drink manufacturing

As with the wider manufacturing sector, there has been some uncertainty as to how significant the impact of Brexit would be, particularly considering the end of free movement of labour within the EU. ¼ of businesses in the food and drink sector utilised labour from EU countries.  However, since Brexit, the resilience of the food and drink sector has been established.

How can you make your supply chain more sustainable?

Increasingly more consumers are seeking sustainable solutions. They are looking to make purchases from eco-friendly businesses who can demonstrate a fully sustainable supply chain. 4 in 5 consumers feel not enough is being done to address issues around sustainability and climate change (GlobalData “Sustainability in UK Retail, 2019). Over the last few years, businesses have shifted plans and realigned themselves to become more sustainable, in line with the UK Government’s plan to become a Net-Zero carbon country by 2050.

More food and drink #BrighterThinking:

Contact Menzies Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector Team

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Caroline Milton - FCA


Caroline Milton is a Menzies Partner specialising in business audit and accountancy compliance advisory and heads up Menzies Manufacturing sector team.