National statistics

Food statistics in your pocket

Updated 15 February 2024

The Agri-food chain: image shows Agriculture, Manufacturing, Wholesaling, Retailing and Catering.

£128.3bn The agri-food sector contribution to national Gross Value Added in 2021.

4.2m People employed in the agri-food sector in 2022, 13.4% of GB employment.

10.5% Food and non-alcoholic beverage price increase in real terms in the 12 months to April 2023.

£254bn Total consumer expenditure on food, drink and catering in 2022.

£20.2bn The value of food and drink exports in 2021.

1: Food Chain

1.1 Gross Value Added of the UK Agri-food sector, 2021

Sector £ billion
Agriculture and Fishing £13.1bn
Food and Drink Manufacturing £30.4bn
Food and Drink Wholesaling £12.7bn
Food and Drink Retailing £36.9bn
Non-Residential Catering £35.2bn
Total Food £115.2bn
Total Agri-Food £128.3bn

National Statistic

The agri-food sector contributed £128.3 billion or 6.3% to national Gross Value Added in 2021.

The GVA of the food sector (excluding agriculture and fishing) was £115.2bn in 2021, increasing by 12.3% since 2020. GVA for all food and drink sectors increased in this period with catering increasing by 31.6%, manufacturing by 8%, retailing by 5.5% and wholesaling by 0.4%.

Longer term, the food sector GVA (excluding agriculture and fishing) increased by 30.6% between 2011 and 2021 while the whole economy increased by 37.3%.

The food sector has less scope for growth as there is a limit to consumer intake capacity but can look to make gains in its efficiency.

Source: Annual Business Survey (ONS) & Chapter 4: Accounts - GOV.UK ( & Regional GVA for the UK, ONS

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National Statistic

Total factor productivity of the UK food chain beyond the farmgate rose by 3.7% between 2020 and 2021. Productivity in the wider economy fell by 0.2%.

The TFP of the UK food sector is an indicator of the efficiency and competitiveness of the food industry within the UK. However, there are external factors at play, in particular the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In 2021 all four of the food sectors had a higher productivity than in 2020. Manufacturing increased by 3.2 per cent, wholesale increased by 1.5 per cent, retail increased by 2.3 per cent and catering increased by 10.7 per cent, the latter demonstrating nearly a full recovery from the conditions faced during the height of the pandemic.

The calculation is based on reliable data on business sales and costs, employment by industry and on price indices all collected by the Office for National Statistics.

Source: Total Factor Productivity of the United Kingdom Food Chain, Defra.

1.3 Agri-Food sector employees (GB), 2022

Sector Employees (millions)
Agriculture (including fishing) 0.428
Food and Drink Manufacturing 0.419
Food and Drink Wholesaling 0.207
Food and Drink Retailing 1.134
Food and Drink Non-Residential Catering 1.979
Total Food 3.739
Total Agri-Food 4.167

National Statistic


  1. ‘Food’ includes non-alcoholic drinks. ‘Drink’ is alcoholic drinks

  2. Refer to the glossary for the Economic definition of Food and Agri-Food sector for the relevant SIC codes.

  3. GB figures have more specific, divisional level data (3-digit SIC codes) to be able to specify employment within the food chain. Not available for Northern Ireland as it is not recorded in their equivalent survey: the Northern Ireland Quarterly Employment Survey (NISRA).

The Food and Drink sector in Great Britain (GB) employed 3.7 million people in 2022 (4.2 million if agriculture and fishing are included along with self-employed farmers), a 3.6% increase on a year earlier. The sector accounted for 12.1% of GB employment in 2022 (13.4% if agriculture and fishing are included along with self-employed farmers). Employment across the whole GB economy rose by 3% over the same period (based on the total industries estimate from the same JOBS03 spreadsheet that covers SIC 2007 section A-T).

In the twelve months to December 2022, employment in the agri-food sector increased by 3.3% or 132,000 jobs. Employment fell in 2022 in retailing (2.4% or 28,000 jobs), but increased in non-residential catering (7.9% or 144,000 jobs), wholesaling (4% or 8,000 jobs) and manufacturing (1.2%).

Source: Labour Market Statistics- Employee jobs by industry (ONS) & June Survey structure statistics (Defra).

1.4 Number of UK food and drink manufacturers by business size in 2023

Number of employees Number of businesses
No employees (unregistered) 10,545
No employees (registered) 4,000
Small (1-49) 7,530
Medium (50-249) 755
Large (250+) 280

There were approximately 22,830 small and medium enterprises (including no employees, small and medium) in the food and drink manufacturing sector. SMEs accounted for 98.8% of businesses in food and drink manufacturing,


  1. The number of businesses were rounded in the data to avoid disclosure.

  2. Businesses with no employees can either be ‘registered’ for either VAT or PAYE or are ‘unregistered’. A business may be VAT and/or PAYE registered and therefore appear on the government business register (the IDBR), or it may exist without being registered. Unregistered businesses are those businesses run by self-employed people that are not large enough to be VAT or PAYE registered and therefore will not appear on the IDBR.

Source: Business Population Estimates (BPE), DBT.

1.5 GVA in the UK by food and drink manufacturing sector in 2021 (£ billion)

Product £ billion
Meat and meat products 4.0
Fish and crustaceans 0.8
Fruit and vegetables 2.2
Oils and fats 0.2
Dairy products 2.5
Grain and starch products 1.5
Bakery 4.4
Other food products 6.3
Prepared animal feeds 1.9
Beverages 6.5

National Statistic


  1. For disclosure reasons some small contributions (less than 4% overall) to food and drink manufacturing GVA were treated as zeros.
  2. Other food products includes items such as prepared meals, confectionery, condiments and seasonings.

In terms of Gross Value Added (GVA), Beverages was the largest manufacturing category with a value of £6.5 billion in 2021 contributing 21.4% to the total food and drink manufacturing GVA. The ‘other food products’ category was the second largest with a value of £6.3 billion in the same year; contributing 20.6% to the total food and drink manufacturing GVA.

Oils and fats was the smallest category with a GVA of £0.2 billion and contributed 0.7% to total food and drink manufacturing GVA.

Source: Annual Business Survey (ONS)

1.6 UK grocery market shares, 12 weeks ending on 4th September 2022

Retailer % of market share
Tesco 26.9
Sainsburys 14.6
Asda 14.1
Aldi 9.3
Morrisons 9.1
Lidl 7.1
Co-op 6.5
Waitrose 4.7
Iceland 2.4
Ocado 1.7
Symbols & Independent 1.6
Other Outlets 2.1

The combined grocery market share of the largest four food and drink retailers was 64.9% in September 2022. Tesco continued to have the largest market share at 26.9%. The three largest discounters (Aldi, Iceland and Lidl) had a combined market share of 18.8%.

Data was previously from Defra’s Family Food Report (a module of ONS’s Living Costs and Food Survey, however the data above is from Kantar Worldpanel. This source was also used in Defra’s Food Security Report 2021.

The market share estimates from Kantar are updated more regularly although not restricted to foods and not as representative.

Kantar Worldpanel is a market research company, providing up to date statistics on sales by the grocery sector. Market shares also include sales of non-food.

Source: Kantar

1.7 UK Consumer expenditure on food, drink and catering at current prices, 2005 to 2022

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National Statistic


  1. ‘Food’ includes non-alcoholic drinks. ‘Drink’ is alcoholic drinks

After taking into account the effects of price rises (constant prices) consumers’ expenditure on food and alcoholic drinks increased by 7% from £238bn in 2021 to £254bn in 2022 and was 20% higher than in 2012. Expenditure on food and drink eaten out increased by 29% from £93bn in 2021 to £120bn in 2022, whilst expenditure on household food and alcoholic drinks (off-licence only) decreased by 6.9% from £120bn to £112bn and 9.6% from £24bn to £22bn respectively.

Source: Consumer trends, ONS & Chapter 14, Agriculture in the United Kingdom, Defra

2: Prices and Expenditure

2.1 UK trend in food and non-alcoholic beverage prices in real terms (CPIH), January 2000 to April 2023

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National Statistic

Food and non-alcoholic beverage price inflation in real terms has risen by 10.5% in the last 12 months, from April 2022 to April 2023.

Since 2000 food and non-alcoholic beverage prices (in real terms) have been at their lowest in 2006, before rising soon after and peaking in 2014. Over those 8 years real terms inflation rose by 19%. Real terms food prices returned to 2006 levels in 2016 and have remained quite stable until a sharp rise from 2022 onwards.

As this data is in real terms it reflects how food price inflation compares to overall inflation. If prices of other items have increased more than food then real terms food prices would show a decrease. A monthly timeseries for food and non-alcoholic beverage prices at current prices is published by ONS.

UK food and non-alcoholic beverage prices measured by CPIH since 2020

The chart above shows that Food inflation has overtaken overall inflation in the last 18 months.

Modelling commissioned by Defra shows that the five main drivers of food prices are farmgate prices, import prices, exchange rates, labour costs in food manufacturing and non-labour costs in food manufacturing (

Food price inflation has risen sharply over the last couple of years due to a combination of those factors - some of which were also exacerbated further by the conflict in Ukraine.

The Consumer Prices Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) is the most comprehensive measure of inflation. It extends the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) to include a measure of the costs associated with owning, maintaining and living in one’s own home, known as owner occupiers’ housing costs (OOH), along with Council Tax. Both of these are significant expenses for many households that are excluded from the CPI.

Source: Consumer Price Indices, (ONS)

2.2 Percentage share of spend going on food and non-alcoholic beverages in low income and all UK households, 2008 to FYE 2022

Year Lowest 20% by equivalised income All UK households
2008 16.8 10.8
2009 16.1 11.5
2010 15.8 11.2
2011 16.6 11.3
2012 16.2 11.6
2013 16.1 11.4
2014 16.4 11.1
FYE 2016 16 10.7
FYE 2017 14.4 10.5
FYE 2018 15.2 10.6
FYE 2019 14 10.6
FYE 2020 14.7 10.8
FYE 2021 18.3 14.4
FYE 2022 14.8 11.8

National Statistic


  1. In 2015, the ONS shifted its measurements from annual to finanical years (FYE 2016 value covers from April 2015 until March of 2016).

Source: ONS Family Spending in the UK

In FYE 2022, an average household spent 11.8% of their expenditure on household food and non-alcoholic drink in the UK, while for the lowest 20% of households by disposable equivalised income it was higher at 14.8%. In FYE 2021, these figures were higher for both groups, at 14.4% and 18.3% respectively. FYE 2022 saw them return to more normal proportions seen over the last 10 years.

The increase in FYE 2021 was due in part to COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, with hospitality and leisure businesses temporarily closing, and travel restrictions imposed. This meant that with the proportion of peoples’ expenditure on these items reducing dramatically during lockdowns, the proportion spent on other categories, including household food, increased. In FYE 2022 the actual expenditure, by average households, on household food decreased slightly from FYE 2021, while total expenditure increased.

The relative affordability of food can be measured by the share of the household budget that is spent on it. Low income households tend to spend a higher than average proportion of their expenditure on essential categories such as food, housing and energy and a lower proportion of their expenditure on non-essential items.

Although the percentage of spend on food had been relatively constant, the actual amount spent, and the products purchased will change in response to relative prices.

2.3 Household income (after housing costs) and food prices in real terms (UK), 2020/21

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In 2020/21 weekly income after housing costs for low income (5th percentile) households rose by 9.1% while food prices in ream terms decreased by 0.2%. 2020/21 saw the first year that weekly income had increased to above the level seen in 2002/03. Food and non-alcoholic beverage prices were at their lowest level in 2020/21 since 2007/08.

Income after housing costs rose by 1.1% between 2002/03 and 2020/21 while over the same time period food prices (in real terms) increased 2.9%.

In 2008/09 the income for low income households reached its lowest level, 16% below that of 2002/03, while in the same time food prices had increased by 6.1%.

Both the highest increase in food prices (5.3%) and the highest decrease in weekly income (7.4%) were seen in 2008/09.

In 2020/21, the 5th percentile of the income distribution (at 2020/21 prices) saw the highest increase of 9.1%, whereas the 95th percentile saw the largest decrease of 3.7%. All groups were above the 2002/03 level with the 20th percentile group seeing the highest increase since 2002/03 of 18.3% while the 5th percentile group saw the smallest increase at 1.1% over the same period.

Source: Living Standards, Poverty and Inequality in the UK, 2021; Institute for Fiscal Studies
Consumer Price Indices, (ONS)

2.4 UK consumer price changes by food group, 2012 to 2022

Food group % change between 2010 and 2020
CPIH (overall index) 21%
Milk, cheese and eggs 1%
Alcoholic beverages 12%
Vegetables including potatoes and tubers 6%
Mineral waters, soft drinks and juices 24%
Meat 11%
Bread and cereals 14%
Food and non-alcoholic beverages 14%
Catering services 30%
Coffee, tea and cocoa 15%
Sugar, jam, syrups, chocolate and confectionery 22%
Fruit 25%
Fish 31%
Oils and fats 26%

National Statistic

All food and non-alcoholic beverage groups have risen in price since 2012 with rises ranging from 5.9% to 38.5%. Oils and fats, Restaurants & cafes, catering services have all risen in price by 33% or more since 2012.

Source: Consumer Price Index including owner occupiers’ housing costs (CPIH) (ONS)

2.5 Value Sales of Organic Food and Drink, 2006-20

Year £ billions
2006 1.9
2007 2.1
2008 2.1
2009 1.8
2010 1.7
2011 1.7
2012 1.7
2013 1.8
2014 1.9
2015 2.0
2016 2.1
2017 2.2
2018 2.3
2019 2.5
2020 2.8

The Organic sector generated around £2.8 billion in UK value sales in 2020. This is an increase of 12.6% from the previous year. Despite consistent growth, this is the largest year on year increase in over a decade.

The Soil Association Certification referenced that the onset of the pandemic had potentially brought about a greater appreciation for food which coincided with the growth in organics sales. As people were at home more, this led to a greater number that began cooking from scratch, baking and growing their own food.

Box schemes were overwhelmed with interest from new customers and online subsequently became an even more significant channel for organic. Traffic to Soil Association Certification box scheme listings on their website increased by 900% in March and April 2020, compared with January and February of that year. This is likely due to reluctance from people to go to grocery stores in-person or even because of a lack of stocks on shelves due to supply issues over the first lockdown period.

Organic sales through farm shops benefited from more consumer interest in this channel. More than nine out of 10 farm shops (92%) reported a significant rise in new customers since COVID-19, according to the Farm Retail Association (FRA). Indeed, in July 2020, UK farm shops had processed around 1.4 million home delivery or collection orders since lockdown measures were introduced. Around £75 million of ‘Other Retail’ organic sales are estimated to be through farm shops.

Source: Soil Association Certification Organic Market Report 2021, Mintel and the FRA

3: Global and UK supply

3.1 Origins of food consumed in the UK, 2022

Origin of destination 2022
UK exports -9%
UK 58%
EU 23%
Rest of Europe 3%
Africa 4%
Asia 4%
Australasia 1%
North America 3%
South America 4%


  1. Based on the farm-gate value of raw food.

  2. Consumption of UK origin consists of UK domestic production minus UK exports.

  3. UK exports are given as a percentage of total UK consumption.

Supply includes domestic production plus imports and excludes exports of home production. Food security is enhanced by strong and consistent domestic production of food, combined with a diversity of supply sources, thereby avoiding overreliance on any one sourcea.

In 2022, 58% of domestic consumption came from UK production (based on unprocessed value at farmgate), 23% from the EU and the remaining 19% from the rest of the world. 33 countries accounted for 90% of imported supply, and 22 for 80%. Some countries or regions are uniquely important to supply of particular products such as bananas from the Caribbean and Central America, reducing the security of this supply.

Source: Chapter 14, Agriculture in the United Kingdom, Defra

a UK Food Security Assessment, 2021 (Defra).

3.2 UK Food production to supply ratio, 1956-2022

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The Food Production to Supply Ratio (commonly referred to as the “Self Sufficiency Ratio”), is calculated as the farmgate value of raw food production divided by the value of raw food for human consumption, and is estimated to be 60% for all food in 2022 and 73% of indigenous type food. In 2021, this was 61% and 74% respectively.

Source: Chapter 14, Agriculture in the United Kingdom, Defra

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National Statistic


  1. 2022 figures are provisional.

Final outputb of UK agriculture is a proxy for UK food production. The volume of all outputs remained the same between 2021 and 2022.

Total UK cereal production has fluctuated, with significant dips linked to adverse weather conditions in those years. However, the most recent dip in 2020 reflected the effects of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic but there have been subsequent rises as we emerged from strict lockdown measures with a latest rise of 8% between 2021 and 2022.

Since 2011, production levels of poultry meat have been on a largely upward trend although the most recent year saw a fall of 2% in 2022 compared with 2021.

Red meat (includes Beef, Lamb and Pig meat) has seen a slight upward trend and is at its highest level in this period after increasing by another 1% from 2021 to 2022.

Source: Chapter 7, Agriculture in the United Kingdom (AUK), Defra & Chapter 8, Agriculture in the United Kingdom (AUK), Defra

b Figure came from the total volume estimates from underlying dataset of the Agricultural TFP.

3.4 UK trade in different food groups, 2021

2021 exports £billion imports £billion
Fruit and veg 0.9 10.5
Meat 1.8 5.8
Beverages 7 6.2
Cereals 2 4.2
Coffee, tea, cocoa etc. 1.6 2.9
Fish 1.6 3.1
Misc 2 3.2
Dairy & eggs 1.5 3.5
Animal feed 1 2.6
Oils 0.7 2.5
Sugar 0.3 1.2


  1. 2021 figures are provisional.

In 2021, the value of imports was greater than the value of exports in each of the broad categories of food, feed and drink except ‘Beverages’ which had a trade surplus of £818 million, largely due to exports of Scotch Whisky.

Beverages are the largest export category by far with an export value of £7 bn in 2021, up by 10% on 2020.

Cereals is the second largest export group with a value of £2 bn, followed by the meat category at around £1.8 bn (excluding the miscellaneous category).

‘Fruit and vegetables’ have the largest trade deficit. In 2021 imports were £10.5 bn while exports were worth £0.9 bn, giving a trade gap of £10 bn.

The second largest groups in terms of imports in 2021 were beverages and meat with imports of £6.2 and £5.8 bn respectively.

Source: HMRC, try their interactive table builder.

3.5 Trend in exports of food, feed and drink, 2000 to 2021

Year £ billion
2000 13.6
2001 13.1
2002 13.4
2003 14.5
2004 13.9
2005 13.8
2006 14.1
2007 14.9
2008 16.8
2009 17.5
2010 19.5
2011 21.9
2012 21.6
2013 21.9
2014 21.5
2015 20.6
2016 22.4
2017 24.1
2018 24.2
2019 24.9
2020 21.4
2021 20.2


  1. 2021 figures are provisional.

The total value of food and drink exports fell to £20.2 billion in 2021, £4.7 billion less than the previous peak of £24.9 billion in 2019. Fruit and veg had the greatest reduction in value by 0.4 billion (32%), and there were reductions in all other groups apart from oils and beverages.

The trade deficit in food, feed and drink fell in 2021 to £25.6 billion, down from £27.1 billion in 2020.

Source: HMRC, try their interactive table builder

3.6 World agricultural commodity prices in $US/tonne, January 2006 to September 2023

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  1. By indexing and having each plot on the same scale, this enables comparisons of the volatility between commodities.

Rice prices peaked in April 2008 due to a shortage, a weak US dollar and rising production costs. There was a seven-year period of lower prices between 2013 and 2020, but increased between November 2019 and June 2020, afterwards falling back to average levels. Most recent rise can be attributed to an El Niño weather event and India export restrictions.

Beef prices peaked in September 2014, having risen 50% over the previous year due to a shortage of cattle. They declined for six years before rising again.

Sugar prices peaked in 2011 then fell steeply until August 2015 due to oversupply and fluctuations in Brazilian and US currency. Prices recovered up to October 2016 but have fallen since then because of a glut in supply, this trend has reversed since 2020.

Palm oil prices fell steadily from the peak in 2011 partly due to competition from Soybeans and Sunflower oil until rallying in 2016. After falling steadily through 2017 and 2018 prices rose sharply at the end of 2019 and have continued rising. The highest peak at the start of 2022, was a result of the Ukraine war leading to a collapse in trade of cooking oils due to hostile international waters and sanctions but has fallen back as world supply chains have adjusted.

Wheat prices fell steadily from 2012 and then rallied in 2017 as global supplies dipped. Then began increasing due to increased demand post pandemic and not being able to rely on Ukraine which had been a major supplier to Europe. Prices have come down since as alternative suppliers have helped to fill this gap and some exports from the Ukraine have resumed after been facilitated by the UN.


3.7 World grains stocks to consumption ratio to 2020-21

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Stocks to consumption ratiosc are an indicator of global resilience to food shortages and price stability. With low stocks, markets become sensitive to further supply shortfalls, which magnifies the price response.

Wheat and Coarse Grain stocks had been on a rising trend in recent years, starting with the 2012-13 crop year and Coarse grain stocks have been falling since 2016-17b.

Rice stocks have been on an upward trend since the 2006/07 harvest.

Rice consumption (the denominator) is also on a gradually rising trend, increasing by 4% since crop year 2014-15.

Source: International Grains Council (IGC), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)

c From August 2013, Production, Supply and Distribution (PSD) numbers for “European Union” reflect the addition of Croatia to the former EU-27. Croatia data no longer exists in the PSD after 1998/99; therefore, comparisons to data, including World Totals, will differ from those published prior to July 2013.

d USDA projections.

4: Food Security Report

The United Kingdom Food Security Report sets out an analysis of statistical data relating to food security, fulfilling the duty in the Agriculture Act 2020 to present a report on food security to Parliament at least once every three years. The UKFSR examines past, current, and predicted trends relevant to food security to present the best available understanding of food security at the time of publication.

The first UKFSR was published in December 2021. Below is a selection of indicators from the UKFSR which will be updated here more regularly. There are also other food security related indicators in previous chapters of the Food Statistics Pocketbook such as UK food production to supply ratio.

4.1 Meat production tonnes global, 1961-2021

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Poultry has recently overtaken pig meat as having the highest production of any meat globally. There has been a recent loss of production in pig meat due to African Swine fever.

2022 figures are to be released in December 2023

Source: Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO)

4.2 Origins of fresh vegetables consumed in the UK, 2022

Region Percentage %
UK 53%
EU 39%
ROW 8%

53% of fresh vegetables consumed in the UK were produced domestically in 2022. 92% of domestic consumption of fresh vegetables was fulfilled by domestic and EU production in 2022, reflecting the importance of geographical proximity for importing fresh produce.

Source: Chapter 7, Agriculture in the United Kingdom (AUK), Defra

Dataset: AUK Table 7.9

4.3 Origins of fresh fruit consumed in the UK, 2022

Region Percentage %
UK 16%
EU 28%
ROW 56%

The origin of fresh fruit consumed in the UK is more diverse than it is for vegetables, with only 16% by volume produced domestically whereas 28% and 56% is sourced from the EU and the Rest of the World respectively in 2022.

This reflects UK consumer demand for tropical and out-of-season fruit which cannot be sourced domestically or from Europe.

Source: Chapter 7, Agriculture in the United Kingdom (AUK), Defra

Dataset: AUK Table 7.12

4.4 Energy demand by energy type in the food and drink manufacturing sector, 2022

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National Statistic

Overall total demand for energy by the food and drink manufacturing sector has remained stable in the last 20 years. In 2022, natural gas met 59% of energy needs (1603 thousand tonnes oil equivalent) followed by electricity at 35% (959 thousand tonnes oil equivalent), petroleum products at 5% (136 thousand tonnes oil equivalent) and coal at 1% (37 thousand tonnes oil equivalent).

UKFSR Indicator 3.1.2 Energy dependency in the food sector, Figure 3.1.2b

Sources: Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics, DBT

4.5 Household food security status by country/region, FYE 2022

Country % of households that
were food insecure
United Kingdom 7
England 6
Wales 8
Scotland 8
Northern Ireland 5
English Region % of households that
were food insecure
North East 10
North West 8
Yorkshire and the Humber 6
East Midlands 6
West Midlands 9
East 5
London 5
South East 6
South West 5

National Statistic

Scotland and Wales had the highest levels of food insecurity, with 8% of households being food insecure in the financial year ending 2022. Northern Ireland had the lowest level with only 5% of households being food insecure.

Within England there were regional differences in household food security levels in financial year ending 2022. The East, South West and London all had the lowest levels of food insecurity with 5% of households being food insecure. The North East and the West Midlands had the highest levels of food insecurity, at 10% and 9% respectively.

UKFSR Indicator 4.1.4 Household food security, Figure 4.1.4a

Source: Family Resources Survey, DWP

Type of concern Percentage of respondents %
Food prices 65
Food waste 62
The quality of food 61
The amount of food packaging 56
The amount of sugar in food 55
Food poisoning 51
Animal welfare 50
The amount of salt in food 47
Being able to eat healthily 46
Food hygiene when eating out 46

Most respondents in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland (82%) had no concerns about the food they eat. However, in a separate question, respondents were asked to indicate if they had concerns about several food-related issues from a list of given options. The most common concerns amongst consumers in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland were food prices (65%), food waste (62%), the quality of food (61%) and the amount of food packaging (56%).

Food prices previously did not feature list on the list of concerns in Wave 3 of this survey (April 2021 to June 2021). However, it has since risen to the top in the face of much higher food inflation rates (see Figure 2.1]. Food packaging did not feature in the top ten list of concerns in Wave 5 of the report but now features at 4th.
UKFSR Indicator 5.1.2 Consumer concerns, Figure 5.1.2a

Source: Food and You: Wave 6, FSA


Economic definition of food and agri-food sector

The UK food sector is defined as food manufacturing, food wholesaling, food retailing and non- residential catering. In terms of the standard industrial classification (SIC 2007) it is defined as:

Category SIC codes
Food Manufacturing: 10 + 11
Food Wholesaling: 46.3 (excluding 46.35) + 46.17
Food Retailing: 47.2 (excluding 47.26) + 47.11 + 47.81
Non-residential Catering: 56
  • In SIC2007 the food manufacturing sector comprises of nine main categories including processing and preserving meat, dairy, fruit and vegetables, oils, bread, biscuits and cakes, and confectionery. Animal feed manufacturing is included, covering both farm animal feed and pet food, and representing 7.5% of total turnover in food and drink manufacturing in 2020. The drink manufacturing sector includes alcoholic beverages and soft drinks and mineral waters.

  • Food and drink wholesaling consists of the buying, storage and reselling of food either manufactured or freshly produced. Wholesale of tobacco products (46.35) is not included, but SIC code 46.17 "Agents involved in the sale of food, beverages and tobacco" is included. This group includes wholesalers that trade on behalf of others on a fee or contract basis and their turnover was 5% of that of 46.3 "Wholesale of food, beverages and tobacco" in 2020.

  • Food and drink retailing is defined as the sale of food within both non-specialised stores (e.g. supermarkets), 47.11, and specialised stores such as butchers and bakers, 47.11 and 47.81. The sale of tobacco products is subtracted from the specialised stores using 47.26 and then subtracted from the non-specialised stores later on using a ratio for food and drink.

  • Non-residential catering (NRC) consists of restaurants and bars involved in preparation and serving of food, alongside canteens and catering services. Hotels are not included.

The deductions are to remove non-food items as far as possible.

The agri-food sector is the food sector plus agriculture and fishing. Agriculture and fishing are shown in several charts for comparison.

Sectoral breakdown of Food Manufacturing

Sector SIC Codes
Meat and meat products 10.1
Fish and crustaceans 10.2
Fruit and vegetables 10.3
Oils and fats 10.4
Dairy products 10.5
Grain and starch products 10.6
Bakery 10.7
Other food products 10.8
Prepared animal feeds 10.9
Beverages 11

Gross Value Added (GVA)

GVA is the difference between output and intermediate consumption for any given sector / industry. This is the difference between the value of goods and services produced and the cost of raw materials and other inputs which are used up in production.

Total Factor Productivity (TFP)

Productivity measures the efficiency at which inputs are converted into outputs. Total Factor Productivity provides a comprehensive picture of growth.

Equivalised income

The income a household needs to attain a given standard of living will depend on its size and composition. Equivalisation is a means of adjusting a household’s income for size and composition so that the incomes of all households are on a comparable basis.

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)

Outside of these statistics, the definition of a SME can depend upon several factors, including turnover. For these statistics, a ‘small’ business is a private sector business with fewer than 50 employees. A ‘medium’ business is a private sector business with between 50 and 249 employees. Businesses with no employees are also included separately and come under SMEs.

Standard Industry Classification codes (SIC codes)

These are numerical codes that categorise the industries that companies belong to based on their business activities.

Go to the Food statistics pocketbook home page to download the data for charts