Time to analyse the current health of the UK food & drink sector

Adam Hardie

Adam Hardie

Business Development Partner and Head of Food & Drink

10 January 2023

New ideas, revamped strategies, and a sense of optimism always come to the fore at the start of a new year. Our annual Food & Drink Survey is now live and will be open for completion until 26 January 2023.

There was hope that 2022 was to be a year of continued recovery, confidence, and new opportunities, but the year started in the worst possible way with war in Europe. Very quickly, this sent energy and other costs rocketing to levels that brought huge operational challenge for many businesses. We recognise that some of our clients’ energy bills rose as much as 500%, whilst the cost of raw materials for some food manufacturers has risen by a staggering 115%.

Inflation rose rapidly throughout the year, as did the overall cost of living, and as we headed towards the end of 2022, the UK along with many countries around the world entered a recession. The multitude of challenges associated with Brexit have not gone away, instead, in many areas, things have become more complex and time consuming.

For our drinks clients in Scotland, the hugely controversial Deposit Return Scheme (DRS) has been a cause for significant stress and planning. Although, there were adaptations at the end of the year, which will make it more manageable for some, DRS remains a phenomenally challenging legislation for the drinks, retail and hospitality industries.

Despite this, so many businesses have shown tremendous resilience. They have adapted, re-assessed their business models, and set out plans to weather the storm.

What is the Johnston Carmichael annual Food & Drink Survey?

Our survey looks back on 2022 and takes a cross-sector look at the industry. It is supported by Food & Drink Federation, HSBC, Scotland Food & Drink, and Levercliff.

It is an opportunity for industry leaders to share their experiences and highlight what their businesses went through in 2022 and are going through as we move into 2023. Providing a chance to comment on the good and the bad, against several key topics.

It is aimed at business owners, CEOs, finance directors and senior executives. This year we are asking questions about the general health of businesses, their costs, pricing and profitability, innovation and automation, funding for growth, imports and exports, transition to net zero, and investment in brand.

Why do we do it?

With over 500 food & drink clients across the UK, we offer advice and support across several service lines, with businesses of all sizes, from small start-ups to large corporates. As advisers we are focused on understanding all the challenges and opportunities facing the industry.

The better we understand the food & drink industry, the deeper our insight and more effective we can be, bringing solutions to our clients, and when appropriate, to raise in national forums (including with Governments.)

Despite the challenges of 2022, from Cornwall to Caithness, there will be pockets of success from businesses across the various sub sectors of food & drink. Whilst igniting discussion and raising broader awareness of the challenges and trends that emerge from the survey is key, so too is celebrating and recognising success, as well as showcasing best practice.

Why should you complete it?

A cross sector and cross-country response will help us establish both the financial and operational state of the industry. Every business who completes the survey will be given a copy of the final report, which will contain analysis and commentary from our food & drink network of experts.

We also hope individuals and businesses will take some comfort from completing the survey and reading about the experiences of their peers during the past 12 months and the general outlook for 2023.

In February, we will have a panel debate where we will strip back the survey results and have an open conversation, discuss key aspects, and look to the future. We hope to see you there.

Want to know more?

Just fill in our short form and one of our experts will get back to you shortly.