The Food Market In 2017 – What Will Shape The UK Food Sector?

Concerns about the potential impact on the UK’s food industry in 2017 over the impending “divorce” from the EU are looming large for suppliers, retailers and consumers alike. The formal two-year round of Brexit talks aimed at shaping future UK-EU relations, including in areas such as import and exports of food products, are scheduled to start in March. The UK government is under fire for being too secretive about what the post-Brexit trading environment with EU nations will look like.

However, food industry analysts say consumers will expect to see exactly the opposite approach from manufacturers, with shoppers favouring products that demonstrate transparency and clearer origin labelling. Healthy and better-for-you brands are also expected to continue doing well in 2017, together with a continuing trend towards free-from foods. Younger consumers, in particular, are expected to drive these and other trends forward. John Shepherd reports.

According to Hamish Renton, managing director at HRA food and drink consultants, vegetarianism could well be overtaken in the popularity stakes in the UK over the coming year by veganism, promoted, he says, by “the ethical vegans who object to the practices of the food industry and the eco-conscious vegans who are concerned about the carbon footprint”.

Renton also predicts an increase in the trend in favour of lactose-free products. “Retailers are already looking at giving more space over to lactose-free,” he said. “Retailers are a mirror to consumer demand.” He also says younger consumers becoming increasingly attracted to meat-free and gluten-free diets, which he said is becoming “more of a conscious choice and not necessarily for health…”

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