Food and drink businesses to create 73,000 new jobs by 2020

Optimism in the food and drink sector growing with 72% of companies planning to enter new overseas markets

Food and drink businesses across England and Wales are set to create over 73,000 new jobs by 2020, Lloyds Bank Commercial Banking has claimed in a report out today.

The report, Investing for Growth, interviewed 113 companies specialising in alcohol, fresh produce and food and drink products with 100% of the firms surveyed expecting to grow over the next five years. Four out of five of the companies have forecasted 25% revenue growth by 2020.

The majority of UK food and drink businesses were also reported to be focused on entering new international markets – 72% expect to operate in new markets by 2020 – as a way of achieving growth ambitions.

Western Europe was found to be most popular target export market among respondents, as listed by 60% of respondents, followed by North America (49%) and the Far East and Asia (43%).

Despite confidence around job creation, a quarter of food and drink business owners cited a lack of skilled labour as one of the biggest challenges facing the industry today while 44% said a possible EU exit would be the biggest challenge for the industry over the next five years

Andrew Connors, head of mid-sized business at Lloyds Bank, said:

“Productivity presents an ongoing challenge for the UK economy. Against this backdrop, the continued commitment from food and drink manufacturers to drive productivity and innovation through R&D is a clear indication of the crucial role this sector plays in the broader economy.

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“Food and drink is without doubt a sector that will help Britain prosper.”

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