United Kingdom

​A growing appetite and unquenchable thirst for British food and drink has led to a hugely profitable sector that generates billions of pounds a year. British households may have felt the pinch in recent times, but food and drink are among the things that people refuse to cut back on.  Typically, households spend nearly £5,000 a year on groceries, swelling the coffers of an industry with a £76 billion turnover. Food and drink accounts for 16 per cent of the UK’s total manufacturing sector and employs up to 400,000 people. Moreover, it exports more than £12 billion worth of food and non-alcoholic drink products each year, 77 per cent of which go to the EU. With figures like these, it’s no surprise that the food and drink industry is so coveted. 

Whether times are good or bad, the British food and drink industry always performs strongly. During the past four years, the sector has grown by at least 20 per cent, fuelled by high demand for delicious dishes and tasty beverages. From 2009–10, the sector experienced its biggest jump in revenues, with companies generating an average 33.2 per cent rise. The following two years saw food and drink companies’ revenues climb by 29.8 per cent and 20.2 per cent respectively. 

Prior to the economic downturn, the U.K. was the world's largest consumer of private label products. Post-recession, large retail chains, such as Tesco, continue to invest in the creation of private label products, however, they are now targeting various customer niches in terms of price, quality and ingredients. Moreover, retailers have also begun using private label as a means of supporting ethical trading with organic and fair-trade labels.

Territory & Population

  • Total territory: 243,610 sq km

  • Capital: London

  • Largest cities: London, Manchester, Birmingham

  • Chief International Airport: Heathrow Airport

  • Total Population: 64,430,428 (July 2016 est.)

  • Population density (people/km²): 255,6

  • Language: English

  • Government type: Unitary parliamentary constitutional monarchy

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Key Economic Indicators

  • Currency: Pound (GBP)

  • Exchange Rate: 1 GBP = 1.17 EUR Feb 2017.

  • GDP (purchasing parity power): $2.788 trillion (2016 est.)

  • GDP (real growth rate): 1.8% (2016 est.)

  • GDP per capita (PPP): $42,500 (2016 est.)

  • Imports: $581.6 billion (2016 est.)

  • Exports: $412.1 billion (2016 est.)

  • Unemployment Rate: 5.1% (2016 est.)

  • Inflation Rate (consumer prices): 1.5%

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