The food and drink industry in the UK generates over 77.4 billion pounds annually and employs more than 500,000 people. The UK food and drink industry is one of the best and most competitive in the world. This industry is one of the UK's leading manufacturing industries. Also, the UK food market is one of the fastest growing in the world.
The UK has over 7,000 food and drink manufacturing units and most of these units employ about 100 to 250 people. The global food and drink industry is very competitive in nature and in the UK, many mergers and acquisitions have taken place in the recent past.
Some important subsectors of this giant industry are dairy products, bakery products, pet food, tobacco products, restaurants, hotels, brewing, food processing and catering equipment. The UK food and drink industry is a very important part of the global F & D industry and plays and important role in supply and sourcing of various ingredients.
With a net worth of about 7.3 billion pounds, this industry is a major contributor to the Scottish economy. It also owns a 27% share in manufacturing exports. The Scottish government recognizes the importance of this sector and thus, has launched a National Food and Drink Policy. The Scottish government is being partnered by major retailers to stock their food and drink products in their supermarkets. The food and drink industry of Scotland is very vibrant.
Raw materials are very easily available in Scotland and the country has been at the forefront of research and innovation in the field. It also boasts of a highly skilled workforce. A Scottish government agency known as the Scottish Development International (SDI) has been set up to monitor and encourage growth of this industry in Scotland.
The UK F & D industry exports food products all over the globe from Europe, Canada, and the USA to the Middle East.
The UK food and drink sector is being driven by research in nanotechnology and chemicals. Other secondary industries that have notably grown due to the F & D industry are packaging and health food. Main areas for development in this industry have been identified as health foods, ready or instant meals and other value added products.
Recent studies have shown that the organic food sector in the UK alone is worth about 1.2 billion pounds per year and the chilled food market close to 7 billion pounds. The UK is also trying to use food and drink to boost its tourism industry. For this, the government is promoting the rich food and drink culture of the country on both national and international levels.
The most rapidly growing region with respect to food and drink manufacturing is the East Midlands region of the UK. This region alone is responsible for production of about 15% of the UK's total food, drink and tobacco production. The production has seen a jump of 5% in the last five years.
An agency known as UK Trade and Investment has been set up to help companies looking to invest in the UK. The food and drink team of this agency provides full support and research services to companies.