The Provision Trade Federation is celebrating the “unsung heroes” of the British food industry with a new history of provisions trading to mark its 125th anniversary.

Providing for Britain tells the story of how the dairy and bacon industries evolved through two world wars, the creation of the European Economic Community, the rise of the supermarkets and industry globalisation - and the role of the PTF in helping them navigate these events.

PTF director general Clare Cheney said it was important for the industry to take time to look at past problems and achievements to be prepared for the challenges of tomorrow. “We have come a long way and the pace of change has been extraordinary, particularly in the past 25 years,” she said.

Both the bacon and the dairy industry had consolidated enormously, Cheney said, adding that of the 90 companies that attended the PTF’s centenary in 1987, only about 20 existed in the same form today.

Looking ahead to bacon and dairy’s next 25 years, Cheney said she hoped legislators in the UK and Europe would recognise that the industry could not cope with much more legislation, and should be left to “just get on with it”.

“There is so much legislation now and standards are incredibly high,” she said. “I can’t think of anything constructive and positive that could be added.”

Providing for Britain was written by Lisa Moore and former editor of The Grocer Clive Beddall. It went on sale this week and is available through the PTF.