The report also explores some of the key factors affecting the industry including the economy, sustainability and innovation.
The report draws on insights from RS’ own research, as well recent information from sources including the Food & Drink Federation, the Department of Health & Social Care and Lloyds Bank. It aims to offer players in what is the UK’s largest manufacturing sector a current snapshot of the state of play in the industry to help them drive forward in these challenging times.
Craig Stasik, food & beverage industry sector manager at RS, said: “The F&B industry is vital to the UK economy, with an output valued at £33 billion in 2022 and which comprises more than 12,000 businesses, 97 per cent of which are SMEs. With a direct employee count of almost half a million, and some 4.3 million jobs provided in the farm-to-fork food chain, we feel it’s important to work collaboratively to help industry players overcome some of the big challenges facing them, like cost pressures relating to raw materials, energy prices and labour.
“There’s so much uncertainty: not much in the way of conversation about the future, but more about getting over the hurdles of today. Our report aims to explore some of the key themes that we’re seeing within the industry such as the drive to make all aspects of operations more efficient.”.
‘Food & Beverage: An Industry Review’ highlights some of the ways sector operators can ease cost pressures. That includes effective energy management, maintenance strategies that aid plant efficiency and reduce costly downtime, and embracing innovation to help them overcome the effects of labour shortages.
The report also focuses on one of the key aspects in the F&B industry: heath and safety. As workforce churn was cited as having a detrimental impact on compliance, staff retention measures like training and development, and workplace culture, are areas to home in on.
Environmental, Social & Corporate Governance (ESG) is also a top agenda item, and one that RS’ report includes with real-world examples of F&B companies: one of which adopted technology solutions to help them meet sustainability goals and achieved significant cost savings.
Craig concluded: “The outlook for industry players right now is mixed and while there are signs that some pressures are easing, they are not relenting entirely. However, the clear view is innovation will be the key differentiator between businesses that thrive and those that struggle to survive. Whether it’s outsourcing to maintenance solutions providers, adopting the Industrial Internet-of-Things (IIoT) or building supplier partnerships, F&B organisations will have to find ways to achieve efficiencies and free up human resources if they are to weather these turbulent times.”
The full report ‘Food & Beverage: An Industry Review’ can be downloaded here.