The food and drink industry is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector, and forms part of a diverse and complex supply chain.
Facts and Stats are fundamental to highlight the sector’s economic importance. The FDF is committed to reporting regularly on the sector’s performance, and our ‘Industry at a Glance’ publication is just one of the many ways we do so.
Greater understanding of industry performance often depends on government reporting. The FDF has worked in partnership with a wide range of organisations to address data gaps and collect industry data. The FDF remains committed to widening its factual reporting and provide a robust evidence base for new and developing policies.
Food and drink manufacturing contributes more to the economy than all other manufacturing sectors, including automotive and aerospace.
Food and drink manufacturers directly employ over 430,000 people across every region and nation of the UK. Employment in the sector has grown by 19% over the last decade.
Our industry has a turnover of more than £105bn, representing almost 20 per cent of total UK manufacturing. Our SMEs make up 25% of overall food and drink manufacturing turnover.
The UK’s 7,400 food and drink manufacturers sit at the heart of a food and drink supply chain which is worth more than £120bn to the economy. 96% of these businesses are SMEs.
Exports of food and drink make an important contribution to the economy, exceeding £23bn and going to over 220 countries worldwide. Our top 3 export partners are Ireland, the USA and France.
Updates & milestones
Industry at a glance 2020Update
In our new Industry at a Glance report, FDF highlights the significance and importance of food and drink manufacturing to the UK economy.
Figures show that the food and drink manufacturing contributed £28bn to the UK economy, growing by 2.3% on the previous year. The industry has a turnover of more than £105bn, accounting for 20% of total UK manufacturing as the biggest manufacturing sector in the country.
The importance of the industry goes beyond turnover. Food and drink manufacturing employs 430,000 people across every region of the UK and is a key part of the food and drink supply chain, which employs 4.3m people and is worth more than £120bn to the economy.
Exports are a key contribution to overall industry growth, exceeding £23bn in 2019 and going to over 220 countries worldwide, with Ireland, the US and France as the top three destination markets.