The history of food and drink has been documented extensively throughout history, a thriving and ever evolving industry has built up around the ever increasing and diverse demand for food, drink and new related products. The history of Britain has played a large part in its traditions, its culture - and its food. The Romans for instance brought us cherries, stinging nettles (to be used as a salad vegetable), cabbages and peas, as well as improving the cultivation of crops such as corn. And they brought us wine! The Romans were prolific road builders, these roads allowing for the first time the easy transportation of food and drink produce throughout the country.

About the food and beverages industry in the UK?

British households may have felt the pinch in recent times, but food and drink are among the things that people refuse to cut back on. Typically, households spend nearly £5,000 a year on groceries, swelling the coffers of an industry with a £76 billion turnover. Food and drink accounts for 16 per cent of the UK’s total manufacturing sector and employs up to 400,000 people. Moreover, it exports more than £12 billion worth of food and non-alcoholic drink products each year, 77 per cent of which go to the EU. With figures like these, it’s no surprise that the food and drink industry is so coveted. Productivity performance of food and drink since 2009 is impressive - an 11% increase in five years compares with a 0.6% increase in the economy as a whole. Its sheer scale and geographical spread mean that further gains are likely to contribute to the overall productivity of the UK economy.

Sector at a glance:

  • £1 billion – The amount food and drink companies invest in R&D each year
  • 12% – The industry’s labour force productivity has increased by this much during the past 10 years
  • Two-thirds of all British agricultural produce is bought by UK food and drink companies
  • 400,000 direct jobs – predicted to need almost 110,000 new recruits by 2022
  • Annually adds £21.9bn to the UK economy
  • Accounts for 16% of total UK manufacturing turnover – making it the largest sector
  • Productivity has increased by 11% over the past five years
  • 96% of the sector’s 6,360 businesses are micro to medium-sized
  • Exports worth £12.8bn a year – 77% of which go to the EU

Since the financial crisis, rising raw material costs, pressure in the retail sector and competition for the UK’s limited pool of engineering talent have made improving productivity even more vital for businesses to gain competitive advantage. The workforce has embraced new working practices and the high expectations of quality and continuous skills development. The tradeable nature of much of what the UK food and drink sector produces has been an important incentive to keep raising standards and has encouraged managers across the sector to understand better how to create efficiencies and recognise the interdependence between people and technology.

The sector has also set an important example in taking responsibility for its own talent pipeline. There are driven initiatives between industry and academia working in collaboration with government to bridge the research gap and develop the next generation of engineers.

There are many individual success stories of UK and multinational companies investing to increase capacity in the UK, including for export markets.

What personnel are in demand who should contact us?

There are a wide variety of food and drink related jobs across a range of disciplines. Typically the following personnel can transfer with ease with a little assistance:

Project Managers, Project Engineers, Process engineers and designers, Piping engineers and designers, Electrical engineers and designers, Mechanical engineers and designers, Structural engineers and designers, Instrumentation engineers and designers, Safety personnel, validation engineers, Technical Safety engineers, planning engineers, document controllers, admin personnel.

There is also a demand for senior commercial and managerial roles (eg.. business development managers, country and sales managers, those with Technical Safety experience, environmental impact assessment and  project management. 

In addition to this there is demand for HSE advisors, contract specialists and R&D personnel. In most instances no training will be required prior to placement, but we are able to assist where required. We will put you in touch with employers happy to engage you with your current skills and qualifications.

We will help you re-engineer yourself into this ever evolving high prospects industry.