The UK food and drink industry is operating in an increasingly global context and to stay competitive it must be constantly innovating. The FDF provides a hub where innovative ideas can come alive. Whether the driver is health and wellness, sustainability or something else, the FDF can be central to your ambitions.

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Automation and manufacturing technology

Automation is likely to be a key development in food manufacturing as part of the need to increase efficiency and productivity.



The FDF maintains close ties to funding bodies, as well as researchers and businesses with specialist knowledge in various innovation areas.

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Low carbon technology

As the UK embraces Net Zero Carbon targets, low carbon technology will be an important area for development.

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Government Food Strategy

The FDF welcome the new Food Strategy, which is an endorsement of the success and centrality of the UK’s food industry, from farming to manufacturing, retail and hospitality.


Pre-competitive research priorities

Topics of shared interest to the food and drink sector that underpin progress towards key societal issues can be supported by pre-competitive research which we aim to identify with FDF members.

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Resource efficiency

Doing more with less, has long been a focus for our sector but this will be even more of a priority going forward, and supports FDF's Ambition 2025.

Latest updates

FDF Skills and Innovation Team in Scotland

Last week FDF’s Skills and Innovation team travelled up to Scotland to meet with our FDF Scotland colleagues and some key stakeholders over three days.  The visit started with a lively conversation with Justin Thomas, Programme Manager from Developing the Young Workforce (DYW).  DYW is doing wonderful work to help attract and prepare young people for the world and work and we will be looking at opportunities to collaborate on their work in both Scotland and England.

Our second day was focused at the Royal Highland Show, where amid enjoying the best of Scottish food and drink, we met with Jennifer McInroy from Scotland Food and Drink (SFD) and discussed the shared challenges and where we could take learnings from the work happening in Scotland.  Later that afternoon we met with Howell Davies from Interface and delved into the world of innovation and automation for a few hours. Howell and Interface are key partners in the FDF Innovation Gateway, that opens up the innovation support offered across the UK through the Catapult Network, to food and drink businesses. Our day finished with a little social in the Tesco tent where we caught up with some of our members, as well as David Thomson and Tim Rycroft (Director General, AHDB).

Our final day was no less eventful with an early morning meeting with Gerry McBride from Skills Development Scotland (SDS).  Gerry gave us a comprehensive overview of the Scottish skills system and highlighted the differences between our apprenticeship systems.  Finally we headed out to the National Manufacturing Institute of Scotland (NMIS) where we saw first-hand some of their fantastic work.  We had a long conversation with their team, including Alistair Williams (formerly of Macsween of Edinbugh) and Chief Commercial Office Lyne O’Hare, discussing how we can build on their expertise to help businesses increased their automation and mitigate some of the problems coming from the current labour crisis.

It was a busy and fun three days and we have returned to London with a greater appreciation of the Scottish food and drink industry and many ideas for future collaborations!  More details will be coming soon.

KTN Food Sector Advisory Board meeting


Last week the FDF attended the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN) Food Sector Advisory Board meeting at the National Centre of Excellence in Food Engineering (NCEFE) part of Sheffield Hallam University.  Members of the group include businesses, academic institutions and research centres with a focus on innovation and technical skills across the Food & Drink Sector.

The meeting took place over two days and included a workshop session as part of a refresh of the groups’ strategy document to align with the recently published UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) strategy.

The meeting included presentations on:

  • 2022 Mega Presentations in Food & Ultra Processed Food
  • Microbiome research at the Quadram Institute
  • Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge
  • Fresh Produce Impact Hub and their work on plastics innovation
  • Investment challenges from EIT Food
  • The IFST Project Inspire – promoting skills across the sector

For more information about any of the presentations listed above or the work of the KTN Food Group please contact Tanya.


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Innovation news

Innovation Gateway: Unlocking the technology in food and drink

A unique collaboration making it easier for food and drink companies in England, Scotland and Wales to adopt cutting edge technology and grow their business has been launched today.

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M5: UK manufacturing holds key to unlocking Government’s domestic and global ambitions

The success of the UK’s manufacturing sector will be central to Government’s ability to deliver on its national ambitions to level up the whole country, reach Net Zero by 2050 and become a global science super-power.

Read more

National Food Strategy Part II Report - Update

FDF’s Chief Scientific Officer, Kate Halliwell responds to the publication of the second part of the National Food Strategy report.

Read more

All news

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How we can help your business

Report: Feeding the Future: Working together to build the National Food Strategy

08 October 2021

The Food and Drink Sector Council offers food chain solutions as part of the industry’s contribution to the UK Government’s forthcoming National Food Strategy.

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Report: A recipe for growth, prosperity and sustainability

06 May 2020

This is our shared plan for governments to work in partnership with the UK’s food and drink industry to ensure it continues to lead the world and meet the needs of UK consumers and shoppers.

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