As an industry-led, not-for-profit trade body we drive positive change within the food and drink industry.
Since our establishment in 1998, we have been helping food and drink businesses to grow by securing over £55 million of public funding for the sector. Business support activity and food park management activities have increased the sector's performance by over £84.4m of additional GVA since 2005.
Here's how we can help
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND BUSINESS SUPPORT
We apply for business support projects through Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and Government Departments. These projects offer specialist sector support to improve business growth, job creation, innovation, and offer grants/funding to SMEs. Major projects include:
- iNet – Provided funding and expertise to drive innovation in the sector – the iNet supported more than 80 SMEs based in D2N2 with grants and delivered over 1,000 instances of one-to-one business advice & guidance.
- FEAST 1 and 2 – Offering grant funding, technical support and mentoring to SMEs across D2N2 and the South West. The first phase of the project ran from January 2016 to December 2018 and supported over 250 businesses, providing intensive support to 220 businesses and grants to over 100, leveraging almost £2.5m of private sector investment. This resulted in the creation of almost 160 new jobs in the sector. The second phase of the project will run until June 2023 and has so far supported 250 businesses and provided grants to 50 businesses.
- Collaborate – Provided technical support and advice to SMEs across Leicester & Leicestershire. Delivery moved online during COVID-19, ensuring businesses continued to receive the support at a crucial time.
MEMBERSHIP SERVICES AND OUR NETWORK
We provide a range of membership offers, providing affordable technical support, training and access to facilities to support industry growth. Our Free Network Membership offers free lifetime membership to food and drink businesses across the UK, providing them with access to key industry and regulatory updates. Our Business Membership allows food and drink businesses to access hands-on technical and business support, taking their business to the next level. Our Associate Membership enables suppliers of services and goods to engage with our network of food and drink businesses.
It is essential that food businesses stay up-to-date with regulations and we help businesses to create a safe food product in an efficient way. The Food & Drink Forum can help you with support, mentoring, interim or part time technical management and training services. We access funding wherever possible to be able to offer our technical services to businesses free of charge, we can also provide food technical support services through our membership or on a consultancy basis based on your needs.
Our Workforce Connections team are working hard to address skills gaps in the sector, particularly focusing on Technical-based roles; offering in-house training and events, as well as working with educational institutes and training providers to encourage graduate placements/apprenticeships within the industry. We have a strong network of business support providers and educational institutions which we connect our network of food and drink businesses to, encouraging business growth and innovation.
FOOD PARKS & FACILITIES
Using our industry knowledge and experience as food park operators, we support Local Authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs) with feasibility studies for food parks and innovation infrastructure through consultancy services. The has led to the creation of Southglade Food Park and Leicester Food Park, which we help manage, and Food WorksSW for which we operate as landlord.
We have also supported Wrexham Food Centre, Smart Parc, Ebbw Vale and Norfolk Food Park, which are all currently under development.
We have partnered with Too Good To Go - the sustainability app helping manufacturers to sell their surplus food to millions of new customers, reducing food waste whilst allowing manufacturers to boost their brand recognition.
FOOD FROM ENGLAND
We are actively involved and offer our support to the Food From England group, raising the profile of the food and drink industry at a Government level.
We support those food and drink businesses currently, or looking to export their products, offering FDA (USA) technical support and working with the Department for International Trade (DIT), and the Food & Drink Exporters Association.