Council of food and drink leaders and Government meets for the first time
Welcomed across the industry when it was announced in November, the Food and Drink Sector Council has held its first meeting.
GETTING AROUND THE TABLE: The council's first meeting
Leading figures from across the food and drink sector have formed a new partnership with the Government to ‘boost productivity and make the industry more resilient, sustainable and competitive’.
Meeting for the first time on Monday (January 29), the Food and Drink Sector Council agreed priorities for the next 12 months, including a focus on boosting skills, agricultural productivity, improving the nation’s nutrition and building on emerging proposals to establish a sector deal. The council has said it will set up expert working groups to develop recommendations for industry and government on each of its priorities.
The new group, which was announced in November, is made up of leading industry figures from agriculture, manufacturing, retail, logistics and hospitality sectors.
Speaking following the meeting, Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “This first meeting of the Food and Drink Sector Council marks a significant step forward in supporting this vital industry, which is already worth over £110 billion to the UK economy.
“This ambitious partnership between government and industry will secure the UK’s position as a global leader in sustainable, affordable and high-quality food and drink. Increasing productivity will also benefit consumers and businesses, creating jobs and providing a real boost to our economy.”
The Food and Drink Sector Council was first announced in the Industrial Strategy white paper, which sets out the government’s long-term plan to build a Britain fit for the future through a stronger, fairer economy.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “From Scotch whisky, to award winning cheeses and premium seafood, the produce from our thriving food and drink sector is in demand and enjoyed around the world.
“Through our modern Industrial Strategy and the Food and Drink Sector Council, the government is working together with industry to build on these exceptional strengths, boost its productivity and seize the future opportunities of this national success story.”
Iain Ferguson, Joint Chair Food and Drink Sector Council and Chairman of the Stobart Group ltd said: “Today has been possible due to the huge amount of work and commitment to bring the sector together. It is exciting to see everyone in the same room working together to address the opportunities and challenges we face as an industry.”