FDF members: Sign in to see full content

Government hotline for questions about trading with Russia / Ukraine

The Department for International Trade (DIT) has expanded the Export Support Service (ESS) to act as a single point of enquiry for businesses and traders with questions relating to the situation in Ukraine and Russia.

Any business that has question about trading with Ukraine or Russia, can visit Export Support Service (ESS) or call the ESS helpline. The ESS helpline number is 0300 303 8955 and is currently operational Monday to Friday 08:00-22:00.

DIT Export Support Service

We're urgently working with FDF member companies in our sector to understand the impact of the sanctions imposed on Russia. Businesses want to do the right thing in ensuring they abide by the measures taken by governments in response to Russian aggression. 

Donations of food and drink

Many manufacturers have donated to the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukraine Humanitarian appeal but are now seeking further opportunities to donate supplies of food and drink to help people in Ukraine or refugees in neighbouring countries. We are working with UK Government and the Embassy of Ukraine in London to identify potential routes for these donations.

Availability of ingredients/raw materials

We have identified key ingredients and raw materials where trade flows have been most significantly impacted. The greatest concerns relate to the availability of sunflower oil and derived ingredients. There are also concerns relating to rapeseed oil, white fish, herb oils, packaging raw materials and wider impacts on global cereals markets. Impacts on fertiliser may present wider challenges for UK agricultural producers.

Product labelling requirements

80% of global sunflower oil exports originate from Ukraine or Russia and many manufacturers and supply volatilities have meant that manufacturers have had to switch to alternative vegetable oils to maintain food production. This has had implications for information included on product labels. Based on our work with Government, pragmatic enforcement has been advised, which allows Local Authorities to grant temporary derogations from label changes when sunflower oil is substituted with one of the following five risk assessed refined vegetable oils: rapeseed, palm, soybean, coconut and corn. The FSA are now working towards a return to compliance date of 31 October 2022 by which they would expect all FBOs to have returned to compliance, in relation to products being placed on the market from that time. To support this, industry guidance on the use of the existing ‘varying proportions’ flexibility for labelling vegetable oils has been issued.

Energy/fuel issues

Manufacturers are extremely concerned about further large price increases to already high energy and fuel costs. This presents a major challenge for many producers, especially high energy using sectors of our industry. There are also concerns about the possibility of restricted supplies. As part of the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure, food and drink production should be prioritised.

Workforce issues

Our members take very seriously their duty of care for employees and are working hard to ensure workers that are from or have links to Ukraine are fully supported. Most immediately, we understand there could be challenges in terms of seasonal workers in farming roles. Many UK manufacturers are keen to sponsor refugees from Ukraine that would like to work in the UK.


We are monitoring the sanctions that have been applied by the UK, EU, US and Russia closely to ensure our members are aware of any measures that may impact on their business. Manufacturers are working hard to ensure their full compliance with UK sanctions and are typically undertaking extensive due diligence in their supply chains to ensure this remains the case.


Ingredient labelling: Refined Rapeseed oil Substitution


The four UK governments have confirmed they will give advice to relevant enforcement authorities today to enable companies to swap from sunflower oil to refined rapeseed oil to maintain production, without changing the label. This is following the completion of a rapid risk assessment completed by FSA and FSS.

Read full update

Food price rises 'inevitable' as sanctions bite

UK consumers will face even higher bills and potential shortages unless ministers help the food and drink industry control costs, according to the FDF’s chief executive Karen Betts.

Read her full article

An update from the Food and Drink Federation’s chief executive Karen Betts on the industry’s support for the people of Ukraine

"Everyone across the food and drink industry is appalled at the unfolding crisis in Ukraine, where Russian aggression has precipitated an escalating human tragedy with far reaching consequences.

"The Food and Drink Federation’s member companies are responding individually to humanitarian aid appeals and to support their own employees, in the UK and overseas. Uniquely too, last week the FDF team and our members agreed the FDF itself should make a significant donation on behalf of the whole industry to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal. Guests at the FDF Dinner last night also gave generously to provide further support to the DEC in getting essential food, water, shelter and medical assistance to those who need it.

"Our industry stands ready to continue to help where we can in the essential task of ensuring those affected by this crisis receive vital support, and as we redouble our efforts to try to contain, as far as we can, food price inflation in the UK that has been compounded by international events."