Grow your own growth

British food and drink manufacturers received pledges of support from government yesterday as the industry’s need for R&D development was discussed in Westminster.

The UK food and drink industry is Britain’s largest manufacturing sector and one which has been earmarked for growth. In 2011 the sector saw a 12.2% rise in export volumes on 2010.

In December 2011 the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) launched 2020 Vision – a framework for 20% growth by 2020. Yesterday the details of this plan were discussed by Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Rt Hon Danny Alexander MP, food and drink manufacturers and members of the All-Party Parliamentary Food and Drink Manufacturing Group in Westminster.

The discussion followed on from last week’s launch of the Government-backed Farming, Food and Drink Exports Action Plan to boost exports of British food and drink to high growth markets, and sought to unlock further opportunities for growth.

A primary discussion point was the need to enhance the R&D capabilities of UK food and drink manufacturers and facilitate R&D, particularly for brands aiming to access developing export markets.

John Stevenson MP, All-Party Parliamentary Food and Drink Manufacturing Group chair, said: “Food and drink manufacturing in the UK is a Great British success story, making a significant contribution to employment, growing GDP, and producing iconic brands for the home and export markets. As the largest manufacturing sector, it is important that parliamentarians find ways to facilitate growth for the future.”

As the debate around how to support growth in the food and drink industry progress FDF have stressed the need for sustainability. Again published in December last year, findings from FDF’s report ‘Sustainable Growth in the Food and Drink Manufacturing Industry’, undertaken in partnership with Grant Thornton, point to ways in which this can be achieved.