FDF celebrated its 100th birthday in 2013. Launched by FDF President Jim Moseley at the end of 2012, our Centenary celebrations ran throughout 2013.


About the FDF Centenary

The Food Manufacturers' Federation (FMF), formed as an unincorporated association in 1913, later joined with the Food and Drink Industry Council to form the Food and Drink Federation (FDF). Run by our members for our members, since its formation the Food and Drink Federation has represented the views of the industry to government and helped companies to understand the legislative landscape.

Throughout the last 100 years manufacturers have built well-known brands and developed new techniques, processes and products to respond to consumer demands for greater convenience, longer shelf-life and increasingly healthy products.

Today, as the UK's largest manufacturing sector, the industry continues to produce some of the world's best-loved brands and plays a vital role in underpinning the economy through its on-going efforts to promote growth, create jobs and boost exports. To deliver that growth sustainably, FDF members are leading the way in reducing the impact of their production on the environment while playing a full part in improving the nation's health.

Through 2013 we celebrated everything the industry and the Federation has achieved in the last century.


Centenary timeline

During 2013 the Food and Drink Federation celebrated its 100th birthday. It has seen a century of awesome innovation and the development of iconic, much-loved brands.

FDF Centenary products As part of the FDF's centenary this timeline catalogues the key developments in food and drink manufacturing from the last 100 years and beyond and explains how these have transformed consumers' lives. Innovations in products, processes and packaging have made our food increasingly affordable, convenient, healthy and safe while helping to reduce waste and conserve scarce resources.

Statutory and voluntary regulation has improved standards and bolstered consumer confidence in the sector, and industry initiatives have sought to bring manufacturers together to tackle societal concerns for the environment and public health.

Breaking these developments down into key areas, the timeline chronicles how Britain's largest manufacturing sector has made packaged and prepared foods increasingly affordable, convenient, nutritious, safe and sustainable.

Affordable with an ever greater choice – Manufacturers have been part of a whole supply chain responsive to the demands for increasingly affordable food and a greater choice of products. Manufacturers have invested in new technologies which have added value to raw materials that would have previously been wasted, increased the shelf life of products and improved efficiency within factories and in supply chains. As a result the cost of food has risen much more slowly than incomes so that today consumers spend a much smaller proportion of their income on food than they did 100 years ago.

Convenient – A whole host of changes in processing and manufacturing throughout the 20th century have made the purchase, storage and preparation of food more convenient. From the introduction of individually packaged goods throughout the Victorian era to the invention of the microwave oven, innovation has made consumers' lives easier and given them back that most precious of commodities – time.

Nutritious – Early in the last century, an improved understanding of nutrition led manufacturers to begin to incorporate vitamins and minerals into their products. As consumers wanted to eat more healthily, manufacturers also produced new product ranges lower in fat and salt and often with increased fibre. Those choices were made easier with the advent of better labelling and the introduction of easy to understand Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA's) displayed on the front of packs. More recently, recognising that public health is everybody's business, the industry has begun to reformulate old favourites so that these products are lower in salt and saturated fat.

Safe – Today, we take the safety and integrity of our food for granted but 100 years ago with many products sold loose, without any indication of their age and with understanding of food science in its infancy, it was a different picture. Manufacturers embraced new technologies and methods of preparation to help to dramatically reduce food-borne illnesses. Underpinning these moves, Government has often driven changes with landmark legislation and at the end of the last century created the Food Standards Agency (FSA), an independent body to oversee food safety.

Sustainable – Manufacturers recognised that they needed to respond to concerns about the environmental impact of their products. Concentrating initially on the way that they use resources within their own factories, the focus has more recently been on how manufacturers can help to reduce their impacts along the length of the supply chain. By sourcing sustainably, helping agricultural suppliers to reduce their water use, collaborating with other manufacturers and customers to use transport more efficiently and making it easier for consumers to live more sustainable lives, manufacturers are delivering sustainable growth.


Videos of congratulations from Prime Minister, David Cameron and Leader of Opposition, Ed Miliband

View the recorded messages from Prime Minister, David Cameron and Leader of the Opposition Ed Miliband congratulating FDF on our centenary and the industry for its achievements.

Celebrating Our People

Our people have been at the heart of everything we achieve. Responding to the demands of our customers, embracing innovation and adopting new techniques, committed individuals and teams have created and brought to market an amazing range of products and transformed consumers' lives beyond all recognition. Every day food scientists, engineers, marketeers, logistics experts and many others strive to get great value, top quality products on to retailers' shelves.

This publication tells some of those stories, shows how important skilled and talented people are to the future success and brings to life the rewarding careers that are available in food and drink manufacturing.

View the Celebrating Our People publication

Follow our tweets

Follow us at @Foodanddrinkfed. If you want to catch up with our latest FDF Centenary tweets, then simply search Twitter by for the hashtag #fdf100.

More information

For more details of how you can get involved please contact FDF at Kay.Relph@fdf.org.uk


Make a contribution to the timeline

If you'd like to make a contribution to the timeline please use the form below.

Last reviewed: 07 Mar 2017