Key industry data

Meeting documents


  • The UK food & drink manufacturing sector employs 106,000 EU workers, over 1/4 of our workforce
  • Manufactured food and drink contributes more than £28bn to the economy, 2.3% more than 2017
  • In 2018, total sales of manufactured food and drink exceeded £74bn
  • FDF members are selling 14.3billion fewer teaspoons of sugars than they were in 2015
  • FDF members are selling: 4.4 million less kilograms of salt, 57.3 million fewer kilograms of sugars, 35.5 million less kilograms of total fat, 1 trillion fewer calories than they were in 2015
  • The food & drink industry is the biggest manufacturing sector in the country...larger than automotive & aerospace combined
  • Our industry employs over 430,000 people across every region and nation of the UK
  • Our industry has a turnover of more than £105bn, accounting for almost 20% of total UK manufacturing
  • 96% of the UK's 7,400 food and drink manufacturing businesses are SMEs
  • In 2018, UK food and drink exports exceeded £23bn and went to over 220 countries worldwide
  • Our top three export markets are Ireland, the USA and France
  • The food supply chain employs 4.3million people and generates over £120billion of added value for the economy each year
  • The food and drink manufacturing sector delivered a reduction in food waste of over 30% on a per capita basis since 2011
  • FDF members reported an absolute reduction of 53.2% in CO2 emissions from their use of energy in manufacturing operations in 2018, compared to the 1990 baseline
  • Almost half of our members identified investment in new product launches, and increased demand for healthy food products as opportunities for 2020

Last reviewed: 24 Sep 2020