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18 May 2016

FDF Response to Queen's Speech

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Commenting on the Government's Queen's Speech, Ian Wright CBE, Director General of the Food and Drink Federation, the voice of the largest manufacturing sector – food and drink, said:

“We welcome Government's commitment to supporting business and making the UK a more competitive economy. Improving productivity in UK food and drink manufacturing (which adds £22 billion annually to the Exchequer, supports 400,000 jobs directly, and feeds millions everyday) should be a shared national priority. If we are to continue to invest, innovate and create highly skilled jobs and apprenticeships, we really need to address and manage the increasing regulatory costs and reporting obligations that we face. We hope the Better Markets Bill will achieve that.

“With its scale and reach across the UK, food and drink manufacturing will have a major role to play fulfilling Government's ambition to create a Northern Powerhouse. For example, Yorkshire and the Humber's 800 plus food and drink manufacturers achieve a turnover of £10bn alone, the highest of all English regions.

“Clearly the Higher Education and Research Bill has the potential to bring far-reaching change to our university sector. We welcome all efforts to encourage universities to focus on innovation and work collaboratively with industry. The HEFCE funded partnership between the food and drink industry and Sheffield Hallam University to develop a Centre of Excellence in Food Engineering is a great example of this this collaborative approach in practice.

“For Government's Childhood Obesity Strategy to be effective, it must be based on sound science and be truly comprehensive, as promised. The case for a soft drinks levy looks no stronger today than when it was first announced in March this year. Data from Mexico's tax shows only a six calorie reduction in energy intake per person, per day. Steady reformulation – to take fat, salt and sugars out of foods and drinks – and portion control are the most effective policy interventions and the industry remains committed to building on the good progress that has been made. Obesity will only be beaten by a national partnership involving Government, the NHS and health professionals, schools, retailers, restaurants and food and drink manufacturers.”

Notes to editors

  • As a result of manufacturers' efforts, sugar and calorie intake from soft drinks has been reduced by over 13% since 2012. (Source: BSDA)
  • All Government nutrition data show sugar consumption is on a long-term downward trend. (Source: National Diet and Nutrition Survey and Defra Family Food Survey)
  • Consumption of sugar sweetened drinks in the UK continues to decline and demand for low and no calorie continues to grow. (Source: British Soft Drinks Association annual report)
  • Children aged 11-18 years (the highest consumers of sugar sweetened drinks under 18) get just 5% of their daily calories from these drinks. (Source: National Diet and Nutrition Survey)

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