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As the UK’s food and drink businesses continue to plan their recovery from the pandemic, exports will be a key part of their strategy.

It is now a month since the UK government ordered a lockdown in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Over the last few weeks, Britain’s food and drink businesses have seen seismic changes in a number of areas, ranging from heightened consumer demand to new working practices and supply chain disruption.

This is a good point for us to assess what the impact of the pandemic has been so far for various food and drink subsectors, as well as to examine the outlook for the industry in the weeks and months ahead.

While the impact of the coronavirus pandemic is being felt very differently in each food & drink sub-sector, the dairy industry is facing an especially challenging time. In particular, in a highly price-sensitive sector, both mid-market processors and dairy farmers are increasingly suffering.

One of the key messages for businesses looking to overcome the challenges presented by the Covid-19 crisis, has been the importance of reacting and adapting to changing market conditions as quickly and effectively as possible. Among the leading examples are the number of drinks producers who have updated their processes to manufacture hand sanitiser for use by the NHS, as well as other organisations and the general public.

The study, produced jointly with the Food and Drink Federation (FDF), argues that while the industry is already one of the UK’s most compelling export success stories, further growth overseas is the key to overcoming challenges such as the impact of Brexit.

China is now the eighth top export destination for UK food & drinks products and our November 2018 trade mission set out to help businesses access this fast-growing market.


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