The FDF responds to latest ONS Labour figures

14 June 2022

The Food and Drink Federation CEO Karen Betts provides a response to the latest ONS Labour figures which show that employment in the food and drink industry continued to rise in Q1 2022, with the industry gaining 7,000 jobs since the previous quarter and 16,000 on the year, reaching 475,000.


  • Workforce and employment

The Food and Drink Federation CEO Karen Betts said:

“It’s good to see the rise in the number of people employed in the food and drink industry, the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. In the first quarter of this year, jobs in our sector increased by 7,000, taking the total number of people employed to 475,000.

However, the industry still faces significant and stubborn labour shortages, across a variety of roles, from warehouse operators to engineers. These shortages, which are forcing some companies to suspend some production, are hampering growth and contributing to rising costs.  Many businesses are looking to invest more in advanced technologies as a result, but the uncertain economic outlook and the range of upcoming, complex government regulation is holding them back.  The UK Government’s newly announced independent review into labour shortages across the food chain is welcome, but we also need to see the skills system work better right across the country as well as a reformed and more flexible Apprenticeship Levy.”