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Dev-Bank Wales MBO


7 December 2021

Food and Drink Industry Must ‘Reboot and Redefine’ to Survive Current Storm

Technology-based change is a must for food and drink manufacturers as they battle their way out of a ‘perfect storm’ of challenging impacts that are currently affecting the industry, the head of the sector’s leading representative body told Hybu Cig Cymru – Meat Promotion Wales (HCC)’s annual conference at Builth Wells.

Pete Robertson, Chief Executive of Food and Drink Federation Cymru, said the industry needed to change outdate perceptions of its practices and convey to all that it is part of Wales’ advanced manufacturing sector.

“Whoever puts Food and Drink in the ‘advanced manufacturing’ category? It’s a really complicated process to bring a live ingredient from the field and turn it into what we all expect it to be – a quality product in a packet.”

Mr. Robertson said that, going forward, it was vital the industry understood, embraced and introduced the technology needed to ensure value and resilience across the supply chain and to carry out effective assessments of opportunities for profitable growth.

He said it was a pivotal time for the sector.

“We are experiencing a perfect storm of operational, legislative and strategic issues that includes a chronic skills shortage; ingredient, energy and labour inflation; changes impacting on plastic and recycling; and labelling and nutrition issues.

“The truth is we need to both reset and redefine our industry if we are to be sustainable and competitive in the future. In our case sustainability is not just an environmental matter, which is clearly very important, but it is also about our people and our economic performance.

“It’s all about Planet; People and Success,” he said.

Mr. Robertson, who has 25 years of experience working within the sector, said that the Welsh food industry had particular strengths;

“Focusing on Wales, there are some great positives to consider. We have a strong reputation for provenance. We must redefine how we build collaborative partnerships to make them as efficient and valuable as possible; how we support and develop the industry’s role in recruiting, attracting and retaining talent in its ranks and how we prioritise and evaluate the return on investments within each business.”


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