'Artisan, alternative & adventurous' food is driving UK industry success stories
The UK’s food and drinks industry dominates the nation’s manufacturing sector with an annual turnover of €129 billion (£100bn), according to a report published by the London Stock Exchange Group.
The LSEG’s 2016 annual report, 1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain, identifies 75 food and drinks companies in its list of fastest growing 1,000 businesses.
The report said: “The UK’s food and drink sector is the largest single manufacturing sector in the UK, with a turnover of around £100bn (€130bn).”
According to the LSEG, whisky is the industry’s single biggest export but the sector has “a hugely diverse” number of enterprises that are finding niches and serving new, evolving consumer tastes and demands.
1,000 Companies to Inspire Britain reveals that the UK now has some 6,360 small food and drink businesses. And it predicts that the food manufacturing and processing industry will experience yearly growth of 3-4%.
Food and drink companies represent a value of £21.5bn (€27.9bn) to the UK economy, said the LSEG.
Among some of the food and drink companies showcased by the report are:
Higgidy has become a familiar brand in many supermarkets, known for its delicious home-made pies, quiches and sausage rolls.
Founder Camilla Stephens said: “We make everything from scratch using ingredients you would use in your kitchen at home.”
Stephens added that the secret to the company’s achievements is an “uncompromising commitment to quality” as well as “a bravery in trying out new ideas and flavours and bringing them to the market.”
The company uses no hydrogenated fats and avoids many of the chemicals used by other manufacturers to increase shelf life.
Chapel Down blazed a trail in England’s wine-making and craft beer market when, in 2014, it raised a record £3.95m in ten days through crowdfunding.
CEO Frazer Thompson said Chapel Down offers a world-class range of sparkling and still wines, alongside an award winning range of Curious beers and ciders.
The winery in Tenterden, Kent, is open to the public and sees 50,000 visitors a year pass through its vineyard, shop and cafe.
Frazer says he passionately believes, “there is no point in just trying to be the best.”
He added: “We also want to be different, so we are pushing the boundaries of wine production in England. In the past year, we have launched England’s first skin contact white wine and broken a world record for the largest and fastest crowdfund.”
The latter created 1,470 new shareholders, who are now brand advocates.
“Our wines are served in some of the world’s best restaurants and we sit alongside Grand Marques of Champagne at premium prices in major supermarkets,” says Frazer
Founded in 1976, Japan Centre has evolved from a small basement shop to a mecca for Japanese foodies everywhere. From its expanded premises in Central London it offers high-quality authentic Japanese food, drink and cooking ingredients to consumers in the UK and Europe.
It now offers a Japanese bakery, the largest selection of sake in Europe, ingredients for home cooking, fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as traditional sushi and hot souzai food.
In 2005 Japan Centre opened an online store, offering over 3,000 different products with delivery available across the UK and Europe.
Then, in 2012, it expanded into separate restaurants – four in central London include Shoryu Ramen, which features in the Michelin Guide 2014-15.