Liz Truss

Defra secretary of state Liz Truss

Major retailers including Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons as well as big-name manufacturers such as PepsiCo, Premier Foods and Cranswick are among 80 organisations to meet with government today to kick-start efforts to develop a new strategy for British food and farming.

The industry-led 25-year plan aims to increase competitiveness across the food chain and establish the UK as “one of the most innovative food nations in the world”.

Today’s meeting – the first of several to be convened by Defra and led by industry – will bring together trade associations, farming businesses, retailers, food manufacturers and researchers to share ideas on encouraging enterprise and boosting productivity.

Attendees will include representatives from Tesco, the Co-operative Group, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose, Morrisons, as well as major suppliers such as Pepsico, Cranswick and Premier Foods.

The discussions at the meetings will influence what will be in the government’s final plan for British food and farming, which will seven key themes: strengthening the British brand, increasing exports, breaking down barriers to trade, increasing public procurement of British food, attracting investment, boosting skills and apprenticeships, and increasing productivity.

Speaking ahead of the event, environment secretary Liz Truss said: “We are hugely ambitious for the future of food and farming and its potential to drive growth—that’s why we are bringing together industry to set out a vision for the future with a long-term plan to grow more, buy more and sell more British food. This event is the first step to make our ambition a reality.

“Our food and farming industry is already an economic powerhouse, worth over £100billion a year and supporting 1 in 8 jobs. By championing the latest technology, building skills and creating jobs and apprenticeships we will create a stronger brand for British food and drink that will see our quality produce enjoyed at home and exported around the globe.”