According to CBI figures for August, more than a third of the 456 manufacturers from a cross section of industries questioned in its latest Industrial Trends Survey reported total order levels below normal. That contrasted with fewer than one in 10 firms in the food industry.
In comparison, more than nine out of 10 food processors reported total orders were either normal or above normal for the month
It’s a similar story for export orders, with almost a third of businesses outside the food and beverage industry reporting orders below normal, versus just 7% in the food and drinks sector.
More than half the respondents in the food industry claimed export orders were either normal or above normal.
Outlook for next three months
The outlook for the next three months was similarly robust for food and drink manufacturers, with just 10% expecting order volumes to fall, against 22% in non-food sectors.
Referring to the overall CBI figures, Anna Leach, CBI head of economic analysis, said: “Overall demand for manufactured goods has eased back this month, led by a weakening in the consumer goods sector following a strong July figure. This sector also contributed to the weakening in output expectations for the next three months, alongside investment goods.
“The economic environment for UK manufacturers remains challenging with domestic demand relatively muted and the ongoing Eurozone crisis now seeming to drag on broader global economic momentum.”
In contrast, the CBI survey yielded “quite different” results for the food industry, according to a CBI spokesman.