One challenge for UK food and drink manufacturers is that they have a reputation for being highly productive but under-performing in terms of innovation. UK manufacturers do not consider that there is a gap between their real and perceived productivity levels. That is why innovation is the key to growth and remaining competitive.

What does Britain need to do to boost its food and drink manufacturing sector?

The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) has highlighted to government the importance of policy coordination to ensure that policy measures are compatible with one another, and develop a coherent, co-ordinated approach to support the UK’s food and drink industry. It is important that the UK’s ambition to become a top 10 food and drink exporting nation, is set alongside the realisation of the Export Strategy to make it happen.

What role does the government’s Export Strategy play in helping manufacturers to access new markets?

The government’s Export Strategy recognises that it is important to develop strategic relationships with a wide range of international customers and partners. The strategy promotes a network of over 40 Global Partners – trade promotion agencies – who will deliver world-class sales and marketing support, including additional co-ordinated marketing activities and events.

The Food and Drink Federation has also confirmed that UK Trade & Investment will undertake a detailed assessment of a number of potential Global Partners for a variety of activities aimed at helping UK manufacturers gain access to new markets.

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What is the one piece of advice the Food and Drink Federation would give to manufacturers?

The Food and Drink Federation would urge all manufacturers to review their sales performance every year. Be sure to identify new opportunities to gain additional growth and be confident in the sales performance of existing products. Consider the role that events can play in maintaining sales momentum, particularly those that target new customers, new markets or new segments.

How can food manufacturers keep their brands fresh and ensure their products are innovating and relevant to customers?

An important part of the food and drink industry is innovation and product development, and food and drink manufacturers should be doing this every day. Products should be in the consumer’s mind while they are eating the food that is produced and should be able to continually generate additional sales.

The Food and Drink Federation and its members are keen to identify new opportunities to source raw materials from around the world. To do this, they should build up a wide range of supplier relationships that ensure the most competitive price for the products they want to manufacture.

Are there any simple suggestions food manufacturers can make to make their products more visible in the marketplace?

There are a few points to consider. Firstly, products should be made using only the highest quality raw materials to ensure that the final product is of the highest quality. Products should be kept clean, well packaged and well presented, and should be easy to access and operate and should reflect the products ingredients and where they are from.

Secondly, the packaging should not detract from the message and should not detract from the appearance of the products themselves.

Finally, make sure that your customers are engaged with your brand. Make sure they understand what your products are about and understand how and where they are made. Don’t hide the facts; tell them what your products are about.

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