The Food and Drink Sector Council (FDSC) has published its latest report, laying out its proposals that aim to improve the productivity and sustainability of the UK food system.

‘Feeding the Future: Working together to build the National Food Strategy’ was produced by the UK government in partnership with representatives of the British farm-to-fork food and drink industry. The report looks to address “the key challenges” of increasing productivity, raising skills, investing in innovation and technology, improving sustainability, and enabling healthier diets.

Key recommendations from the report:

  • UK Government to work in partnership with the sector to help deliver short-term economic recovery and long-term sustainable growth
  • An industry skills campaign that champions ‘Great British’ Food and Drink careers
  • Replace the current Apprenticeship Levy with a comprehensive skills levy, support the take up of T-Levels through industry placements and a greater focus on STEM subjects and food in the education system
  • Double the industry’s R&D spend and support SMEs to access innovation expertise, unlock funding and de-risk investments through demonstrator hubs
  • Maintain strong support for high standards of food production in the UK.

Other proposals outlined in the report include creating a ‘Team UK’ approach to trade priorities; achieving sectoral emissions reductions targets for 2030; and a ten-year government strategy encompassing obesity and balanced diets focusing on changing the UK’s food culture.

Stuart Roberts, deputy president of National Farmers’ Union (NFU) and co-chair of the FDSC, said: “The food and drink industry is extremely versatile and that is down to the millions of people who work in our industry. It’s fantastic that there are so many people in the industry passionate about producing the food and drink for tens of millions of people every day. This report highlights the importance of collaboration within the supply chain and the vital role that research and development can play going forward to realise the sector’s full potential.”