The FDF has published their Q1 2021 Business Confidence report, summarising member sentiment, the latest official industry figures, and key opportunities and challenges for the sector.
Key findings include:
- The latest FDF Business Confidence survey shows that net business confidence rose in Q1 2021 reaching -14%, compared to -34% in Q4 2020, as a result of the UK government’s vaccine rollout and the easing of lockdown restrictions.
- Businesses continued to experience decreased domestic sales in Q1, driven by low levels of domestic hospitality and food service sales.
- Over a third of respondents saw increased output, productivity and domestic retail sales in Q4 2020.
- Businesses are relatively optimistic about UK economic conditions in 2021, with three quarters expecting business output to increase and two thirds expecting business confidence to increase. Nonetheless, businesses have highlighted concerns regarding the unemployment rate and consumer price inflation, with more than half expecting them to rise in the upcoming months.
- Key opportunities in 2021 include: increased domestic demand (retail, hospitality and food service), planned investment in new product launches and international trade opportunities.
- Key barriers in 2021 include: border and customs issues, cost of ingredients and cash flow issues.
Accompanying the attached report, please also find below a quote from Mark Harrison, economic research and employment policy manager at the FDF, regarding his views on these statistics: “After a turbulent year, food and drink manufacturers are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel following the challenges of 2020 and early 2021. The successful rollout of the UK’s vaccine programme and the lifting of lockdown restrictions has meant that businesses are more confident than they were at the end of 2020. Increased business costs and issues with customs are still causing concern for our sector. However, the future outlook is positive with two thirds of members expecting business conditions to improve as we head into the summer.”