Food industry worth £96.1bn to UK economy

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The food industry is showing resilience in the economic downturn, with the agri-food sector contributing £96.1bn a year to the economy in the latest government figures.

The sector contributed £96.1bn, or 7.3%, of national Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2011, the most recent year for which figures are available. This was an increase of 7.8% on 2010.

The figures were revealed yesterday in an update to Defra’s annual Food Statistics Pocketbook (PDF), which provides a roundup of stats, including data on supply chain, environment, food prices and dietary health.

The 86-page report found the food and drink manufacturing sector was the highest contributor to GVA across the food sector in 2011, at £26.4bn (27%), closely followed by the food and drink retailing sector, which contributed £26.1bn (27%) and the non-residential catering sector, which contributed £25.2bn (26%). The report shows growth within the non-residential catering sector to be the highest, at 14.6%.

The Food Statistics Pocketbook also indicates that in 2011, the average UK household spent 11.3% of its income on food. Meanwhile, households on the lowest 20% of income spent 16.6% of income on food. This figure was up from 15.8% in 2010.

Food prices remained a major worry among consumers, with 63% citing cost as their main issue of food concern. Despite this, however, food prices remained largely unchanged in real terms between 2010 and 2012, after a rise in 2008-9.

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