Food and drink manufacturers have performed heroically over the last few months in mitigating the impact on food supplies of Covid-19.
Despite being under enormous pressure and considerable personal risk, those who work in the industry have done a great job, keeping food flowing and the nation fed.
Never has our status as part of the UK’s critical national infrastructure been clearer. As we seek to promote recovery (especially for the hospitality sector), keep our people safe and continue to meet the expectations of shoppers and consumers – we must also look ahead to the potential turbulence arising from the separation with the EU single market. Our greatest challenges lie in maintaining uninterrupted supply of imported food and ingredients to all parts of the UK. Our successes in response to the Covid-19 pandemic – which, perhaps surprisingly, did not materially impact on UK food imports – in no way guarantees a smooth passage following 31 December 2020.
There remains significant headroom for growth for UK food and drink exports, both within the EU but also with international markets further afield. Working with and encouraging more businesses to identify and overcome trade barriers is a high priority for FDF and for Santander. We know that the world loves the provenance, impeccable quality and fabulous taste of UK food and drink. Now, more than ever, is the time to seize that opportunity.
Ian Wright, CBE
Food and Drink Federation