The vast majority of UK food and drink manufacturers are against Brexit and want to remain in the European Union, a poll by the Food and Drink Federation has revealed.
Seventy-one percent of those polled said they wanted to stay in the EU, while a further 17% did not express a preference; just 12% were in favour of Britain leaving.
FDF director general Ian Wright described the poll as an “overwhelming endorsement to the campaign for the UK to remain in the EU”.
Last week, The Grocer revealed the federation had decided it did not have a mandate to actively campaign against Brexit.
But Wright said: “Seventy-one per cent of FDF members who voted believe the interests of their business will be best served by the UK voting to remain in the European Union.
“Members identified the single market, access to raw materials and the free movement of labour among key considerations in coming to their view.
“FDF members also helped to identify priorities for ongoing EU reform that would boost our sector’s long-term competitiveness. These included increasing access to non-EU markets to boost exports of finished goods and ensure imports of required ingredients, safeguarding free movement of labour within the EU and tackling unnecessary red tape, in particular to ensure consistent interpretation and implementation of EU employment regulation.”
Wright added: “Of course, FDF is a representative of all of its members, so we completely respect those whose business chose not to express a preference and those who supported the ‘leave’ option.
“We speak on behalf of our membership as a whole, not on behalf of any single member company.”
Meanwhile, David Cameron’s efforts to stop a Brexit were further boosted by tea supplier Typhoo declaring it is supporting the campaign to remain. “Typhoo backs Britain staying in the EU,” said CEO Somnath Saha, who met Cameron this month.
“We export our tea across Europe and import a significant amount of raw materials from within Europe, which is why the current access we have to the world’s largest free trade area with the single market is very important to us.”