The FDF proposes new approach to trade policy to drive economic growth and improve affordability of food

09 June 2022

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has published a Trade and Investment Strategy that champions the interests of the UK’s food and drink industry, to help deliver growth in communities across the country alongside strengthening choice and affordability for UK households at a time of rising inflation.


With the UK Government poised to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the UK’s independent trade policy and ability to strike new trade deals around the world, the FDF’s strategy sets out a positive, comprehensive, cross-government approach on which the food and drink sector can partner with government to deliver tangible gains for the UK economy.

The FDF’s aim is to maximise the benefits of food and drink trade by driving up exports, ensuring the UK is a global hub for innovation and R&D investment, and ensuring that imports support consumer choice, affordability and the UK’s food security.

The strategy highlights the importance of imports both for the UK’s food supply and as a key component to expand long-term growth in sustainable value-added exports, ensuring innovation and the creation of new jobs. Any new preferential trade agreements must also insist on the need for high standards of production, environmental sustainability and animal welfare while recognising the unique features of the UK food and drink supply mix.

The Food and Drink Federation’s Chief Executive Karen Betts said:

“The food and drink sector aims to offer shoppers unrivalled choice at affordable prices across a huge range of products. Trade is an important part of that, since we rely on imports of many ingredients that aren’t produced in the UK, like spices. We also export both traditional and innovative British products around the world, from our world-famous biscuits to gluten-free foods and salmon.

“Our report looks at how government and industry put food and drink at the heart of the UK’s new, independent trade policy, and ensures this supports companies in our sector to grow and thrive. Trade is also a means of curbing rising costs, which is particularly important now at a time of soaring inflation.

“This strategy sets out the strong partnership we want to continue to foster with the UK Government and Devolved Administrations, so our industry can play its full role in growing UK exports and in using trade to deliver economic growth and prosperity across the UK, to communities up and down the country.”

Secretary of State for International Trade, Anne-Marie Trevelyan MP, said:

“We want to see businesses fulfilling their trade and exporting potential, boosting green trade and growing our economy.

“The UK is home to world-class food and drink, and our ambitious trade deals will continue to open new markets for the excellent products made in the UK and sold to the world.”

Secretary of State for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs George Eustice MP, said:

“Our food industry is bigger than the automotive and aerospace industries combined – and more evenly dispersed across our country.

“There are opportunities for our food and drink businesses in markets around the world, and we want everyone to be lining up to buy British. I look forward to working with the sector to ensure that businesses across the UK can take advantage of the opportunities ahead.”

The FDF’s UK Trade and Investment Strategy has been produced in partnership with Global Counsel and will enable the UK Government to deliver the greatest impact for the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector.