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NEWS QUEST

UK grocery sales hit record £11.7 bln in December. Kantar said take-home grocery sales rose 11.4% year-on-year over the 12 weeks to Dec. 27 - a period spanning both the November national lockdown in England and Christmas.


The number of people dining out across the UK has fallen to the lowest level since the reopening of indoor hospitality, according to restaurant industry figures covering the first few days since news broke about the Omicron coronavirus variant.

Farmers in England to be paid for looking after soil health from next year. Environmental groups say scheme falls far short of farming reforms promised after Brexit. Farmers will be paid for looking after England’s soils for the first time from next year, when the first stage of the government’s new support payments begins.


Platters and triple packs of sandwiches have dropped off the menus of many retailers and coffee shops as the industry struggles with labour shortages, the UK’s largest sandwich maker has said. Greencore, which supplies sandwiches, salads and sushi to supermarkets and cafés, weathered disruption to post revenues of £1.3bn for the year to September 24, up 4.8 per cent from 2020 but still below pre-pandemic levels.

Morrisons will introduce insect 'mini farms' on ten of its free range egg farms as part of an effort to reduce its use of soya feed. Hens will be fed insects as well as a supplementary diet of beans, peas and sunflower seeds.


Asda appoints former M&S boss Stuart Rose as new chairman. Conservative peer and retail veteran will be tasked with leading the board’s recruitment of a new chief executive


Nestlé Professional partners with Whitbread to bring plant-based protein Garden Gourmet to its pubs and hotels


Marks & Spencer create a supply recipe with Costa Coffee to reach new locations as former commuters work more from home

Hospitality was the fastest growing UK sector for the second month in a row, according to the latest Lloyds Bank UK Recovery Tracker. Tourism and recreation – which includes pubs, hotels, restaurants and leisure facilities – had an output reading of 70 in October.

The government has launched its first two schemes aimed at helping the farming industry make productivity improvements – the Farming Equipment and Technology Fund and the Farming Transformation Fund for Water


UK meat processors are exporting carcasses, destined for domestic consumption, to the EU for butchering because of shortage of skilled workers.

UK Food Council calls for UK Food Supply Summit in 2022

It is fair to say that the UK is not alone in its supply chain issues, the shortage of HGV drivers and production workers in fields, farms and factories are destabilising the normality of the food harvest from our fields and factories.

Rule changes announced to make developing ‘gene edited’ crops easier. Rule changes to make it easier to research and develop “gene edited” food crops such as sugar beet have been announced by UK Gov.


UK restaurants, café and pub bosses are soon banned from keeping tips left for staff

IPOSUP mobile payments service launches automation of tips direct to hospitality staff bank accounts ahead of the UK Government plans to make it illegal for hospitality firms to withhold tips from workers, who rely on them to top up their income.


Food insecurity will drop by 9% by 2030
The share of world population experiencing food insecurity will fall to around 28 percent by 2030, according to new research by Vienna University of Economics and Business.


An Industry View from the Top

NFU President Minette Batters

Sustainable land management: managing land better for environmental benefits
England is at a historical crossroad for the governance of land and the natural environment. Actions for addressing and adapting to climate change, achieving food security and tackling the biodiversity crisis are all embedded in and depend on how land is managed. Existing Government policy and targets have so far failed to address many of these complexities of land, farming and the natural environment.

UK food supply chain calls for urgent action from PM to solve labour crisis - The UK’s food and farming sector has written to the Prime Minister asking him to implement as a matter of urgency a Covid Recovery Visa to alleviate crippling labour shortages across the supply chain.

Short-term visas ‘not enough’ to fix supply chain crisis. Plans to issue more than 10,000 short-term visas to foreign lorry drivers and food industry workers 'will not be enough' to solve Britain’s supply chain crisis, business leaders have warned.

New plans to boost agri-food exports amid fall in trade The government has unveiled plans to help farmers boost agri-food exports to fast-growing markets following a significant drop in trade to the EU.

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INDUSTRY  REPORTS

Trends across UK Food Industry Jan -2022

Our recent findings show that challenges across all sectors are increasing food producers and processors challenges are mounting, due to rising input prices, the ongoing pandemic and Brexit.

Across all segments, sharply increased costs for commodities, energy, fertilisers, transportation and packaging have led to higher input prices along the value chain. Sanitation protocols and absenteeism have additionally added to cost pressure. While the EU-UK non-tariff agreement is largely positive,
there are additional costs associated with customs declaration and local content audits. Lack of skilled workers from the EU are adding to the serious issue of labour shortage in food production processing, and inevitable salary increases in order to retain or attract staff are causing additional cost pressure.

While food producers and processors try to negotiate higher sales prices with their wholesalers and retailers, passing on all input price increases will be difficult. We expect margins of many businesses to deteriorate, forcing them to upgrade their cost management and to improve efficiency. However, despite such measures we expect that the credit risk quality of many businesses will suffer in the coming months. Read more


The circular economy is increasingly recognised as a solutions framework to address global challenges like climate change and biodiversity loss.

Moving towards a food system that builds natural capital and that is pro-nature, i.e. one that allows nature to thrive, is an essential part of the transition to a circular economy.

While the current food system has sustained a growing population and brought economic development, much of it is essentially ‘linear’ and extractive, particularly in more developed markets. It is wasteful, polluting, and depletive, and is the primary driver of biodiversity loss and accounts for a third of global greenhouse gas emissions.

This study from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation looks at the role fast-moving consumer goods companies (FMCGs) and food retailers can play to move us towards a food system with significant positive impacts for business, people, and the environment. It explores the ways in which food products can be designed in closer collaboration with farmers, for nature. It also investigates the crucial enabling role of policies and incentives. It is well founded qualitive research and we like many others in the industry endorse the findings of this study.

FOOD SUPPLY AND RISING COSTS

As the cost of living impacts on food production we are informed by UK farmers of impending food shortages, one farmer in particular Gareth Wyn Jones, in Snowdonia, told said that producers are reducing their output due to the increased cost of fuel, fertiliser and feed.

He said: “We’re sleepwalking into food shortages and that’s a fact. I could take you to ten farms in the surrounding area now that are turning down their production – chicken farmers, egg producers, milk producers, even beef and lamb because feed prices are going through the roof. We’ve got absolutely ridiculous fertiliser prices and we can’t forget that half the food produced in his world comes from artificial fertiliser.”

He like any others in the food supply chain said the UK Government was out of touch and its white paper on food production is over six months behind schedule.

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