Fork in the Road: Maximising the Economic Opportunity of Britain’s Food and Drink Industry

Publication Details

Fork in the Road: Maximising the Economic Opportunity of Britain’s Food and Drink Industry outlines why the food and drink sector must be given due focus and with commensurate support, including co-ordinating infrastructure and skills sector needs. The report looks at the need to increase R&D and apply new technology, which can bring public policy benefits such as better health outcomes and drive growth.

This report provides unique insights from the perspective of industry anchors – primes – and in particularly one of those, Nestlé, the world’s largest food company. Sector support should be seen through the lens of its placed-based primes, their sites and the challenges. Unless these challenges are addressed productivity could be harmed. Co-ordination though is fragmented a place-based penalty for primes where these are not resolved locally. The report offers a more holistic approach and with a remit for local and institutions to resolve sector needs.

While other industries have been prioritised including with specific ‘sector deals’ Food & Drink, a sixth of all manufacting and a major exporter and employer, has not. This is a failure to recognise its considerable economic footprint, stable growth, productivity gains and employment in areas of economic challenge.

Also highlighted is the need to recognise the implications of Brexit and to co-ordinate with industrial approaches, which is not adequately taking place.The report outlines why the industrial strategy should be active in supporting more purposeful businesses that seek to embed and deliver a broader range of public benefits. For the industrial strategy to be enduring, there should be a goal to build a political consensus behind the approach, which gives certainty to business.

A final report will follow later this year developing concepts and research within this report.

  • Jake Sumner


    Jake Sumner is an Associate at ResPublica . He was previously our Senior Associate for Industrial Strategy upon joining us in January 2017. He has more than 20 years’ experience of public policy, campaigns and projects in national, regional and...

    Jake Sumner
  • Thomas Nguyen

    Policy & Projects Manager

    Thomas joined ResPublica in 2016, having completed his Master’s degree in Foreign Policy at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. Prior to this Thomas worked for over a year in public affairs handling corporate accounts across energy, tech, transport...

    Thomas Nguyen