The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is working in tandem with the government to achieve 20% growth in the food and drink manufacturing industry by 2020.

The joint vision will look to unlock the potential of the industry in key areas such as securing new export markets, while attracting and retaining talent within critical areas of the sector, including food scientists and engineers.

Melanie Leech, director general of FDF, said: “Research undertaken for FDF by Grant Thornton has helped us identify the major opportunities and barriers to our growth. It is clear that our industry has formidable strengths: product quality, branding and our ability to innovate are among our key competitive advantages, both in the domestic market and abroad.

"UK food and drink manufacturing companies already have an excellent track record in these areas and a high reputation for quality and we have used these as the base to develop our vision.”

Caroline Spelman MP, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, said: “There are going to be huge opportunities for Britain’s food industry to supply an increasingly hungry world in coming years and sell high-quality products to emerging markets. That’s why, alongside manufacturers, we’re leading a range of strategies, focused on competitiveness, to drive economic growth. 2020 is a welcome project that will fully complement all the ambitious work we’re doing.”

Leech added: “The Grant Thornton report provides a wealth of information about our sector. In the New Year, we will sit down with government to unpack it further and develop a detailed plan to work towards our shared vision and maximise our sector’s potential to contribute to the UK economy.”