Exports Working Group: Final report

Published February 2022

The FDSC Export Working Group has been meeting since 2019 under the leadership of Graham Hutcheon. The group's aim was to help the UK become a world-leading exporter of high-quality food and drink products, encouraging more SMEs to export, including both existing and new exporters, and delivering accelerated growth in UK export sales.

In 2021, Defra and DIT announced the creation of an Exports Council in 2022, taking over the work from the Exports Working Group. This report outlines the core objectives of the group and presents recommendations to continuing this work through the Exports Council.

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Feeding the Future: Working together to build the National Food Strategy

Published October 2021

Food industry solutions for the National Food Strategy – accelerating the transition to the food system of the future.

Our food system has been built over the last 75 years to provide British shoppers with an extraordinary range of affordable, convenient, great tasting food and drink, from Britain and around the world. Throughout time the food industry, from farm to fork, has played an essential role in meeting the changing needs of consumers, and solving the challenges of a complex, international supply system.

The food industry has welcomed and supported the development of a National Food Strategy, which is now more timely than ever. This report addresses the key challenges of increasing productivity, raising skills, investing in innovation and technology, improving sustainability, and enabling healthier diets.

We now have a unique opportunity for industry and government to work together to accelerate the transition to the food system of the future.

Read the press release
Download the Executive Summary
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Building a Thriving Food and Drink Sector: FDSC Transition Working Group report

Published July 2021

The FDSC Transition Working Group was formed in late 202 to identify areas where Industry and/or Government should further their co-operative endeavour to enable the industry to thrive.

Imports was the main area identified as a gap, where greater understanding of the drivers and opportunities for onshoring and substitution with domestic product would support greater growth and resilience for the industry.

Additionally, the report, highlighted three key areas for additional consideration by the Food and Drink Sector Council:

  • The need for a clear vision and policy for the industry that is aligned with government; the collection,
  • The collection, collation, analysis and leverage of sound data and evidence to inform industry and government
  • That innovation is critical for the success of the industry and its ability to support government goals.

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Covid-19 Recovery Plan

Published July 2020

Rebuilding the food industry, renewing the food system

Panic buying, empty shelves, the fear of food shortages. Within days of the Covid lockdown, the UK food system faced its biggest challenge since 1945 – to keep the nation fed.

The next challenge is for our food systems to recover from this crisis and take forward the lessons learned from the past four months.

The Food and Drink Sector Council has launched its Covid-19 Recovery Plan, outlining six key areas that will be central to restart all sectors of the food industry, protect food industry employees and serve the changing needs of the public.

Read the press release
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Agricultural Productivity Working Group report

Published February 2020

Productivity is the key to unlocking future opportunities in Agriculture.

The industry and government must together size the opportunities presented by new policy frameworks and technology to lead a transformation in our farming industry.

With the UK leaving the EU, imminent changes to agricultural policy and the pressure to achieve net zero emissions, the report, prepared by industry experts for the Food and Drink Sector Council, highlights the steps that together, industry and government can take to overcome the productivity challenge that has long faced the British farming industry.

Preparing for a Changing Workforce: a food and drink supply chain approach to skills

Published October 2019

Access to skills is a growing problem across the sector, and according to the Food and Drink Sector Council's Preparing for a Changing Workforce Report, the majority of companies expect the situation to become more difficult, as we see record lows in unemployment (3.8%), parts of the industry where one third of workers could retire in the next 15-17 years and a forecasted 120,000 fewer migrants overall by 2023.

This report outlines the future workforce and skills needs of the UK food and drink sector, and has brought together the entire supply chain to develop key recommendations for both government and industry that will deliver a real step change.

Last reviewed: 18 Feb 2022