Key industry data


  1. The UK food & drink manufacturing sector employs more than 117,000 EU workers almost 1/3 of our workforce
  2. The UK is Ireland's largest trading partner for food and drink. 41%of its food & drink exports go to the UK (€4.4bn)
  3. Food & drink contributes £28.8bn to the economy
  4. Soft drink companies have reduced sugars & calories from their products by 18% since 2012
  5. With the support of industry, the UK Government has set up the most ambitious sugars reduction programme anywhere in the world to help lower sugar in the national diet
  6. The food & drink industry is the biggest manufacturing sector in the country...larger than automotive & aerospace combined
  7. In 2017, total food & drink export figures were worth more than £22bn
  8. Grow exports of branded food and non-alcoholic drink by a third...reaching £6bn by 2020
  9. Our top three export markets are Ireland, USA & France
  10. The food supply chain employs almost 4 million people & generates over £112 billion of value for the economy each year
  11. 97% of our businesses are SMEs
  12. Our industry employs around 400,000 people
  13. We will need 140,000 new recruits by 2024 to feed an expected population of 70m people & meet market demands
  14. Our industry has a turnover of £97.3bn accounting for 19% of total UK manufacturing
  15. FDF has pledged to triple apprenticeships within the food & drink industry by 2020

More Information

Last reviewed: 10 May 2018