Positive outlook for south-west food and drink business, survey reveals

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Food and drink

Despite many claiming to be adversely affected by the winter floods, 75% of south-west food and drink companies expect to increase turnover
Despite many claiming to be adversely affected by the winter floods, 75% of south-west food and drink companies expect to increase turnover
Food and drink businesses in the south-west of England are increasingly upbeat about their future prospects, a survey has found.

Around 60% of companies said they were feeling more optimistic than they were 12 months ago, with 75% expecting to increase turnover – up from 12 months ago – according to joint research from financial adviser Grant Thornton and Taste of the West, which represents around 1,000 food and drink businesses.

Reflecting the positive mood, 96% of survey respondents described their order books as being either ‘healthy’ or ‘acceptable’. Meanwhile, 37% expect to take on new staff in the coming 12 months, up from 25% last year.

However, with 38% of the food and drink companies saying they had been adversely affected by the winter floods, the price of raw materials (60%) and energy prices (30%) continue to be seen as the biggest long-term concerns.

Furthermore, a reduction in red tape, simplification of the tax system, improvements to transport infrastructure and a cut in VAT were all highlighted as being measures that the Government should take to help the sector.

Local sourcing

The importance of provenance and local sourcing in the food and drink sector is borne out by the fact that two-thirds of respondents viewed these as ‘absolutely vital’ and the remainder as ‘important’.

John Sheaves, chief executive of Taste of the West, said: “These results bear out the overwhelming message that I have picked up from our membership, which is that the sector is resilient, buoyant and positive about its prospects.

“There is not only a ‘buy local’ offer but a ‘made in the south-west’ offer too, which helps to broaden the appeal.

“Linked to this is the strong ‘provenance’ brand the region is now using to back up quality and integrity claims in national and international markets."

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