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16 January 2017

How provenance is driving the British food and drink sector

by Jennifer Sillars

The UK food and drink sector is an economic success. The sector encompasses producers, raw material suppliers, processing, manufacturing, packaging, retail – an integrated and complete supply chain. Within such a diverse industry there is lots of scope for innovation and growth.

Product provenance is one opportunity that your company could make use of.

In England, Wales and Scotland food and drinks companies are forecasting healthy growth over the next five years. Scottish companies forecast a 24% growth in turnover in this timescale1; companies in England and Wales predict growth of 19% on average2. Certainly enough to sustain the title of ‘the single largest manufacturing sector in the UK’.

The growing use of provenance as a marketing scheme has the added benefit of driving up demand for services throughout the food and drink supply chain. Products ‘locally sourced’, ‘made by’ and ‘made in’ Britain touch a lot of companies within the supply chain.


Who will benefit from this growth?

Almost half of these companies expecting growth in Great Britain are planning to increase their market penetration within the UK as a major avenue for growth. But provenance continues to be a source of opportunity. 

In Scotland it is the SMEs that have been capitalising on the reputation of the country’s produce – 91% already make use of provenance to drive up consumer demand3.  Companies in England and Wales have so far been less active on this score, although 86% of respondents do believe there is a reputation to capitalise on.

Packaging and labelling companies in particular will benefit from more manufacturers and retailers increasing their messaging around product provenance. It’s likely many products on the shelves would also fit the locally grown, sourced or made requirements. A new run of packing will be required to highlight this to the consumer perusing the supermarket shelves. 

As competition increases companies will need to experiment with different eye-catching packaging options.

Beat the challenge of proving provenance

There is a challenge in proving provenance in a credible way. If you sign up to a certification programme there is evident that must be supplied. Regardless of whether you join a scheme or not, visibility throughout the supply chain is required. This often proves an administrative burden that SMEs in particular struggle with. 

After all, an opportunity is only lucrative while the costs don’t cancel out the profits.

Where there is an administrative pain there is a software solution that can ease the pain. Making use of a quality management system is a cost-effective way to demonstrate provenance; especially if this QMS allows suppliers to upload relevant tractability documents directly in to your system. That's one tip to take away - small but significant.

And yes, Ideagen’s software solutions can help you do just that.

Ideagen are interested in how the food and drink sector is performing globally and how you are tackling the provenance opportunity. Join the conversation in the Food Quality and Safety Information Exchange on LinkedIn.

You may also be interested in ‘A Guide to Managing Food Safety Successfully’ whitepaper. 

1 Bank of Scotland Research Report 2016 – Food and Drink <> Last accessed 8/12/16 // 2  Lloyds Banking Group – Food & Drink Research Report 2016 <> Last accessed 8/12/16 // 3  Bank of Scotland Research Report 2016 – Food and Drink <> Last accessed 8/12/16
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