Food & Drink

The food and drink sector in Yorkshire and Humber is one of the largest and fastest growing markets in Europe. Worth an estimated £22.8 billion, it is recognised as the food capital of the United Kingdom, attracting global players across the supply chain.

The growth and diversity of the region’s food and drink sector means that universities, colleges and enterprise agencies, have evolved to provide relevant R&D services and facilities for companies of all sizes and specialisms

Leading research in other sectors such as chemistry and nanotechnology drives innovation in the UK food and drink sector. This provides regional companies such as the world renowned SevenSeas, with the opportunity to develop into the areas of functional foods, neutraceuticals and beautraceuticals which are all gaining in popularity.

Another key area is in ready meals and convenience foods. Major brands including Northern Foods have located in our region, to easily supply their ranges of own and supermarket label items.  With an ever increasing population and a rise in single parent families and lone living, the market is seeing an unprecedented demand with nearly ¾ of households buying convenience foods.

As the world’s population increases, companies need to cut production times and costs to meet demand. Yorkshire and Humber is leading the sector in this area. As the UK’s premier advanced engineering location, you can utilize the expertise in manufacturing to develop your facilities, reduce energy usage and increase delivery speeds. It’s no surprise then that CenFRA, Europe’s very first centre of Food Robotic and Automation that forges a link between food and drink companies and academia is based here.

Recent concerns with the nation’s health and growing obesity levels all provide additional opportunities to develop healthy foods. The Humberside Obesity, Nutrition, Education and Innovation (HONEI) Centre is the first of its kind in the UK to examine food and its relationship to disease, particularly obesity. The functional food centre will be key to conducting advanced research and development to ascertain suitability for European Food Safety Authority accreditation.  

We have the largest concentration of national retail buyers in the UK. Supermarket chains Wal-Mart-Asda, Morrisons, Netto and Costcutter all have their headquarters here. 3 of the world’s top 4 food and drink companies including Unilever, Coca Cola and Nestle have also all chosen this region and the wealth of opportunities it provides.

We are a central UK logistics hub and you can deliver to over 83% of the population in just 4 hours, through excellent transport links, including the country’s main motorways, the M1 and the M62, that cross the country. You also have the advantageous of being able to avoid the acknowledged transport bottlenecks that can be found around the ports and cities in the South of the country.

In terms of logistics and its consolidation and distribution, requirements are serviced by nationally renowned companies such as Reed Boardall, ACS&T and Christian Salvesen. Yorkshire and Humber also houses some of the largest chilled storage sites in Europe that are all within close proximity to the largest ports complex in the country, the Humber ports.

On the region’s East coast, the Humber ports serve 53 countries including nations in South America, North America and the Far East, as well as being a gateway to the 330 million potential European customers. Many companies such as Nestle and Cadbury have built their own dedicated storage facilities close to these ports.

Doncaster and Wakefield Euro-rail terminals also provide daily, direct rail links into major European markets. Extensive coastline and shipping links has meant that the region has become the largest fish processing and packing region in England and holds a 70% market share in its sector. Direct flights of fresh fish from Iceland into Humberside airport reinforce the fact that the Humber is now recognised as the country’s seafood manufacturing centre.

Yorkshire and Humber has a strong agricultural heritage and now over a third of all the pigs in England are reared within its border, along with a large percentage of the country’s meat and dairy cattle. The significant landmass available also means that 14% of cereal growing to supply the food and drink manufacturing industry takes place here too.

In addition, we’re the centre of Europe’s electronic tagging industry. Major centres in the field of AIDC (automatic identification and data capture) technologies, which includes RFID (radio frequency identification) are based here.

We can also boast being a centre of excellence for packaging and labeling, enabling you to ready yourself for UK, European and International trade. The Food Environment Research Agency, based in the heart of the region in York specializes in ingredient identification for EU labeling compliance, and you can use the regional expertise and academic excellence in materials to produce environmentally friendly and recyclable packaging.


Subscribe to our Enewsletter


Contact Us

Get in touch to see how we can help.

Call one of advisors on +44 (0) 113 394 5757

Contact us on the web


My sector is...

Knowledge Bank

Your knowledge bank allows you to create your own bespoke brochure to download.

Simply click on the "add to my knowledge bank’ button on the page you want to download. You can add as many pages as you like.

When you're ready to download the information simply view your "Knowledge Bank" in the right hand column, where you can review your choices and download them as a single PDF document.

Where is Yorkshire?

View the region in more detail

Brands in Yorkshire

  • Sheffield Forgemasters
  • Fenner PLC
  • Severfield-Rowen Plc
  • Polypipe
  • Rolls Royce
  • Siemens VAI Metals Technologies
  • Corus Engineering Steels
  • Doncaster’s
  • Firth Rixon
  • Outokumpu
  • BAE Systems
  • TWI
  • Dormer Tools
  • URSA
  • Davy Markham
  • Premier Farnell
  • National Health Service (NHS)
  • Swann Morton
  • Smith & Nephew
  • Johnson & Johnson DePuy International
  • B. Braun Melsungen AG
  • Covance
  • Parexel International
  • Piramal Healthcare Ltd
  • Novartis
  • Reckitt Benckiser
  • Thornton & Ross
  • Dr Reddys
  • YFM Group
  • First Direct
  • Irwin Mitchell’s
  • DLA Piper
  • Pinsent Masons
  • Addleshaw Goddard
  • TSYS
  • ICICI Bank UK Plc
  • Handelsbanken
  • Provident Financial
  • KPMG
  • Ventura
  • Arla
  • Young’s Seafood
  • Nestlé
  • Coca Cola
  • AarhusKarlshamn
  • McCain Foods
  • R&R Ice Cream
  • Unilever
  • SevenSeas
  • Northern Foods
  • John Smiths
  • Mumtaz Group
  • Wal-Mart-Asda
  • Morrisons
  • BP
  • Syngenta AG
  • Millennium Inorganic Chemicals
  • Yara International ASA
  • Croda International
  • Conoco Phillips
  • Total SA
  • DuPont
  • Nippon Gohsei (UK)
  • BTL
  • Kineo
  • Disq
  • Line Communications
  • My Knowledge Map
  • Tribal Education
  • Webanywhere
  • UFI
  • Rockstar
  • Pace plc
  • Jennic
  • Team17
  • Polestar Group
  • Hallmark
  • WANDisco
  • Powerfuel
  • Conoco Phillips
  • National Grid
  • Drax Ltd
  • Sulzer Pumps
  • Corus
  • Doosan Babcock
  • Areva
  • Westinghouse
  • Corus
  • Grimley Smith Associates Ltd
  • Weir
  • Cape
  • Redhall group
  • ATI Allvac
  • Corus Engineering Steels
  • Cooper & Turner Ltd
  • AG Windpower
  • Collet Transport
  • David Brown
  • Grontmij
  • BP DuPont
  • Prosper De Mulder
  • Greenergy
  • Drax Ltd and Siemens Project Ventures
  • Vivergo fuels
  • Lunar Energy
  • Pulse Tidal
  • Neptune Renewables
  • Vireol
Financial Director, Neptune Renewable Energy
"“The Humber region is contributing to the development of groundbreaking technological developments in tidal power technology.” Glenn Aitken, Financial Director, Neptune Renewable Energy. "
BP Dupont
A £25m cutting-edge technology development centre planned for Hull will put Yorkshire at the forefront of biofuel technology development.
Yorkshire Forward
Victoria House, 2 Victoria Place, Leeds, LS11 5AE
T. +44 (0) 113 394 9600
F. +44 (0) 113 243 1088
Yorkshire Forward Logo