Business leaders and academics claim that clearer, long term legislative changes are needed to help the food industry achieve its potential, at an event organised by the Institute for Manufacturing and the FDF.
Most panellists agreed that one of the biggest challenges facing continued investment in the food and drink manufacturing sector is a lack of clarity from the Government about where the industry is heading and the threat of rapid and unexpected changes in legislation related to the sector.
Nick Bunker, UK and Ireland president for Kraft foods, said: “When you look at the challenges we face – from the health of the nation to the health of the planet – it’s clear we can only respond effectively if we have a successful food manufacturing sector here in the UK.”
“But our success cannot – and should not – be taken for granted. It’s not a question of funding, it’s much more about the stability and consistency of regulation. This is crucial if companies are encouraged to invest.”
Melanie Leech, director general of the Food and Drink Federation, which campaigns for the interests of the food and drink industry, echoed Mr Bunker’s points: “We need coherent, consistent, long-term strategies that include legislation.”
The debate was chaired by Nick Hussey, the director of Manufacturing Insight. The organisation, established by the department for Business, Innovation and Skills, the employer’s federation EEF and the Regional Development Agencies to raise the profile of manufacturing in the UK.
Mr Bunker continued: “Business as usual will no longer be good enough. The IfM report paints a picture, and in many ways not a pretty picture. Despite the negative public image of the food manufacturing industry, it is a sector which does provide well-paid and secure employment.”