The FDF remains the critical link between government and industry and with our members input and trust, we have been able to effectively represent and advocate on their behalf.

In our meetings with politicians and officials we are stressing the issues and the pressures on industry raised by our members. We can only do this with your support.

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Take a look at some of the wins and successes that we have achieved over the past year.

Top wins

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (DEFRA) confirm the start of extended producer responsibility (EPR) will be delayed to October 2025.

Producers will not need to pay fees in 2024. This delay will save the industry more than £1.7 billion next year. 

We want and need an EPR scheme that:

  • Works and boosts the UK’s dismal recycling rates.
  • Consistently collects recyclables from all around the UK.
  • Gives materials back so you can turn food packaging back into packaging.

The scheme as it stood did not deliver on these criteria. It would collect fees but with no return for producers.

This delay enables DEFRA to work closely with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) to build a system that is:

  1. Creates a circular economy for packaging and recycling.
  2. Delivers value for money.
  3. Wins the confidence of the public.
  4. Has a scheme administrator that is producer-led.

Our FDF campaigning has been reflected in the media, with press in the Guardian, I and the Financial Times, alongside other national and trade publications. 

NOTE: This is not a delay to the EPR data collection regulations. Members will still need to provide DEFRA with the relevant packaging data as planned.

The FDF are continuing to engage with DEFRA, the Secretary of State, Treasury, No10 and the Department for Levelling Up, Housing & Communities (DLUHC) on delaying the scheme to allow more time for the food and drink industry and government to collaborate on a solution that works for all.

Delays on promotion restrictions in England will save £400m.

After ongoing engagement from the FDF, the UK Government announced a further delay to the implementation of promotion restrictions by volume (e.g., ‘buy one get one free’ deals) in England.

This is on top of the previously announced three-year delay to the implementation of further advertising restrictions for food and drinks high in fat, sugar, and salt (HFSS).

  • These delays will save food and drink manufacturers over £400 million.

The FDF is also supporting members to get ready for the new regulations with resources and guidance, including our HFSS toolkit and HFSS webinar.

Spring budget wins for FDF include a two-year extension of Climate Change Agreements.

Our budget submission called for:

  • A boost to business investment.
  • Prioritising regulatory reform.
  • Improving trade facilitation.

We secured a two-year extension worth c.£60m in discounts to the Climate Change Levy per annum to food and drink manufacturing, alongside full expensing of capital allowance worth and estimated £711m per year.

The CCA extension will cover energy efficiency targets for 2023 and 2024 with eligibility criteria remaining the same. New targets, with 2018 as a baseline, are yet to be agreed.

The extension will enable continuity of the scheme whilst an improved successor scheme addressing decarbonisation and eligibility concerns is designed.

FDF successfully advocate for enhanced support for the food and drink sector during the energy crisis.

Through the classification of most sub-sectors as “energy intensive industries” many in the food and drink sector received enhanced support from April 2023.

Most businesses have now received support from the Government to combat rising energy costs.

Other key FDF achievements against FDF’s Strategic Priorities:

Growing a resilient industry in every part of the UK


Board of Trade Appointment

FDF Chief Executive, Karen Betts reappointed to the Board of Trade

In September 2023, Business and Trade Secretary and President of the Board of Trade, Kemi Badenoch has announced a refresh of the Board of Trade which includes CEOs from leading food and drink, education and creative industries.

We are pleased that Karen Betts has been reappointed to the board and will be working with the Department for Business and Trade to help identify and address export barriers and promote the UK brand to the world.

Food and Drink Trade Attachés

FDF have secured additional in-market support for UK exporters.

The government have taken forward proposals originally designed and consistently advocated by the FDF:

The Department for Business and Trade (DBT) are setting up a new F&D Export Council to improve coordination between government and industry.

DEFRA have employed F&D Trade Attachés to provide specialist in-market support for UK businesses trading overseas, posting 12 expert Attachés in priority markets.

DEFRA have committed to expand this model by recruiting a further five Attachés.

Rules of origin

UK approach to rules of origin in all Free Trade Agreements (FTA) shaped by FDF.

Through the FDF’s Trade and Investment Strategy paper we published and ongoing work with officials in Defra and the Department of International Trade in June 2022, the FDF helped raise the government’s understanding of:

  • The importance of rules of origin for the food and drink sector.
  • The outcomes food and drink industry require to drive future growth.
  • To create a more detailed Rules of Origin Paper, which looks to build on the 2018 paper (Based just on the EU).

Northern Ireland deal

FDF proposed solutions implemented by DEFRA for the recent Northern Ireland deal.

The FDF are now working closely with DEFRA to ensure implementation:

  • Is flexible and uncomplicated for businesses.
  • That labelling requirements are not extended on a UK-wide basis.

Trade negotiations

The FDF established as a key partner with Department for International Trade (DIT) and DEFRA, to help shape key outcomes in UK trade negotiations.

This partnership with DIT and DEFRA has led to frequent engagement for members with government’s chief negotiators via our International Trade Committee.

Food price analysis

FDF recognised as the only organisation to correctly forecast inflation movement.

The Bank of England and HM Treasury have recognised that the FDF is the only organisation to correctly forecast that high inflation would be sustained.

Food and Drink Sector Council

Ministerial Co-Chair for the Sector Council secured by FDF for the first time.

The FDF also supported DEFRA with the appointment of a new Industry Co-Chair and new members, including food and drink manufacturing membership. 

The FDF have now set out clear changes needed for the Council to operate more effectively and are proactively working to implement these changes.

Exclusive access to the DBT

FDF benefit from privileged access to the DBT as trusted partner.

The FDF’s reputation for constructive input is fundamental to our active working relationship with the DBT.

This close relationship grants the FDF access to lead negotiators and senior officials, who regularly join our committee meetings and engage with our members.

Duty suspensions

FDF secure the opening of a second round for duty suspension applications.

The DBT have agreed to begin reforming the process to address concerns highlighted by FDF on behalf of its members.

  • These concerns include, but are not limited to:
  • Unpredictable and inconsistent timetables of duty suspension rounds
  • Slow pace of processing applications
  • Lack of transparency when it comes to rejected applications
  • No clarity on existing duty suspensions

Groceries Code Adjudicator [GCA] independence

FDF help to ensure the GCA’s ongoing independence and unique focus on grocery retail.

After considering feedback from the FDF, the government have announced it will scrap its proposals to merge the GCA with the Competition and Markets Authority.

Building a sustainable food system


Free allowances to Good Quality Combined Heat and Power

FDF advocacy sparks Government change regarding electricity generators in food and drink industry.

Under the UK Emissions Trading Scheme, several combined heat and power plants with ‘Good Quality’ certification in food and drink industry have been classified as electricity generators, therefore given a lower number of free allowances.

After engagement with the FDF, Government have acknowledged this classification is incorrect and will be rectifying this in the next free allocation round to create a level playing field between businesses.

FDF Scotland’s Net Zero Programme

FDF Scotland, with support from the Scottish Government, helping Scottish businesses to decarbonise.

FDF Scotland’s now runs the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s Net Zero project with £850,000 of support to date from the Scottish Government, which focuses on identifying shared issues and opportunities to decarbonise in the food and drink supply chain in Scotland.

To date it has supported work on refrigeration, malting barley and with several key businesses.

The programme puts the FDF in a prime position to influence both policy and delivery for Net Zero in Scotland

Our people


Labour shortages

FDF help to shape the Independent Review into Labour Shortages in the Food Supply Chain.

Assistance from the FDF included:

  • Sharing key evidence on the impacts of labour shortages.
  • convening a member roundtable with the Chair of the Review, John Shropshire.
  • Direct meetings with the Review team.

The final report was published on 30th June with recommendations including:

  • Reforming the Apprenticeship Levy.
  • Support Food Career Curriculum Delivery.
  • Incentivising Automation.

The next steps for the FDF will be to press Government for a proactive response to this review.

Launched ‘Powers our Nation’

FDF develop campaign to raise the profile of the food and drink industry in the UK with politicians and stakeholders.

The FDF successfully launched the ‘Powers our Nation’ campaign to help the industry start to talk about the positive impact they have on communities, health & people.

Food and Drink Innovation Gateway

FDF launch Innovation Gateway for all food and drink manufacturers.

The Food and Drink Innovation Gateway has Ministerial support and backing from both DEFRA and Innovate UK.

The first companies are currently using the Gateway to work with the High Value Manufacturing Catapult centres and universities on several business optimisation projects.

Delivering a trusted food system


New EU/GB/NI regulation divergence trackers

FDF develop new EU/GB/NI regulation divergence trackers for FDF members.

The new EU/GB/NI regulation divergence trackers cover a range of key areas of food law from additives to labelling, providing FDF members with advice and guidance on:

  • The complicated changing regulatory requirements across the UK.
  • How these differ from the EU.

Developing FDF’s regulatory service

FDF launch a twice-yearly regulatory update webinar.

The regulatory update webinar is accessible to companies of all sizes and provides a succinct overview of key changes in food safety and food labelling regulation.

FDF also held a training and networking session focused on Food Safety Culture with Professor Robin May, Chief Scientific Adviser at the Food Standards Agency (FSA).

Food Allergen guidance

FDF guidance on change management of allergen information published.

FDF’s new guidance is aimed at small businesses in particular and outlines the actions a food business operator (FBO) should consider when managing changes that impact the allergen labelling on pre-packaged products.

The guidance also includes a foreword from the FSA’s Chair Prof Susan Jebb.

Ultra-processed food

The FDF and FDF Scotland successfully prevent the use terms ‘ultra-processed food’ (UPF) and ‘minimally processed’ in government documentation.

FDF Scotland's engagement with the Scottish Government ensured the prevention of the term 'ultra-processed food’ [UPF] being used in the Good Food Nation bill.

The FDF’s engagement with Department of Health and Social Care officials also resulted in the removal of the reference to ‘minimally processed’ in the HFSS promotions guidance.

More recently, the FDF welcomed a balanced perspective on UPF in the media from former DEFRA secretary of state George Eustice, following briefing with the FDF Corporate Affairs team.

Trusted in Scotland and Wales

Long term commitment to influencing devolved governments.

The FDF has exceptional relationships with the Scottish Government and Parliament, including:

  • Our annual parliamentary reception.
  • Providing secretariat for the Scottish Parliament’s Cross-Party Group on Food.

FDF Scotland is an active partner in the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership working supporting the development of and work on our shared Scottish industry strategy.

The Scottish Government supports FDF Scotland on several projects by providing grant funding for our Future in Food, Reformulation for Health and Net Zero work.

In Wales, the FDF continues to build our relationships with the Senedd and Welsh Government including:

  • Meeting with Members of the Senedd to discuss critical issues like deposit return and promotions restriction.
  • Engaging with the Welsh Government regularly at ministerial and civil servant level.
  • Being an active partner in Food 7 Cymru which brings together FDF with other food and drink supply chain representatives on key issues.

Supporting balanced diets


Action on Fibre

FDF celebrate the first year of Action on Fibre.

Action on Fibre is a working partnership between the FDF and 25 brands to bridge the gap between fibre intakes and the dietary recommendation.

action on fibre partners.PNG

In the first year we have achieved fantastic results:

  • Delivering 7.2 billion more servings of fibre to the population.
  • 143 new products and 33 reformulated products brought to market.

FDF Scotland’s reformulation projects

FDF Scotland, supported by the Scottish Government, help businesses to reformulate products to lower fat salt and sugar.

  • Over £240,000 has been made available to SME manufacturers to help drive successful reformulation projects through five separately delivered funds.
  • Since the launch of the Reformulation for Health programme in 2019, FDF Scotland have helped to fund 67 projects across the breadth of Scotland to improve the health of their products and communities.