The Food and Drink Federation’s president Jim Moseley, who is also managing director of General Mills, congratulated guests at last night’s dinner on the achievements of the industry in 2011.
Mr Moseley said the UK food and drink industry is “a bright jewel in the crown of UK industry.”
He said that signs of industry strength in 2011 shone through in strong innovation and export growth. The food and drink industry created 8,500 new products in 2011 and exports were valued at over £12bn.
Mr Moseley also said that the UK food and drink industry was a talented sector but warned that “we are all getting too old – Here I stand as ‘exhibit A’.”
Speaking the FDF’s approach to addressing this challenge Moseley referred to the establishment of the UK’s first food engineering degree course.
FDF, in association with sector skills council, Improve, and the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink is currently seeking a university partner to deliver this course.
Lord Green, Minister for Trade and Investment also spoke at last night’s event. He praised the strength of UK food and drink exports – particularly those developing outside traditional markets. He said China and Poland now represented two of the fastest growing UK export markets for food and drink.
During his speech Lord Green spoke of several SME success stories as well as the contributions of large companies manufacturing in the UK, like Nestlé.
Niche baby food manufacturer, Ella’s Kitchen and Birmingham-based Perfection Foods were held up as key examples of entrepreneurialism.
Key facts about UK food and drink manufacturing.
- Food and drink manufacturing in the UK has an annual turnover of £76.2bn
- It employs around 400,000 people
- 38% of employees are qualified to degree level or above
- It buys two thirds of what UK farmers produce