Food and Drink Manufacturing

Insight into Food and Drink Manufacturing

Food and Drink Manufacturing as a sector employs over 16,000 people across Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham and Nottinghamshire (D2N2). The employment for this sector is concentrated within the rural areas which have links to the important agricultural needs. With the ever growing and expanding of the ‘agri-food’ idea, employment is concentrated in the Peak District, Newark & Sherwood, Bassetlaw and Amber Valley areas and continues to grow and expand with minimal effect from the recent recession. D2N2 is home to many blue chip food manufacturers as well as to some major food distributors that include chocolatiers Thorntons in Alfreton, Hovis bread makers in Watnall, Nestle water factory in Buxton, convenience food developers Greencore in Barlborough and British Sugar manufacturers in Newark. In addition to a vibrant small, medium enterprise (SME) base across the urban and rural landscape, Food and Drink Manufacturing businesses are producing high quality goods of world renowned provenance.

Peak Ales Brewery

Peak Ales Brewery, Derbyshire

Foodanddrink - Prof EllenBillett, Head of Food Authenticity, NTU

Prof Ellen Billett, Head of Food authenticity, Nottingham Trent University

The area benefits from a strong farming sector, employing over 10,000 people on farms and generating over £500m per year to the economy.  Our excellent transport links to the rest of the UK via rail, road and air enables rapid distribution of food and drink to all parts of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales as well as internationally and also close access to markets in the surrounding areas.

Food and Drink Manufacturing Skills

The sector is also relatively productive for the D2N2 economy with output per full-time employee estimated to be 5.5% higher than the UK average.  It’s a source of highly skilled employment in high tech professional/managerial occupations including food scientists and engineers to lower skilled roles such as butcher assistants, cake decorators, fishmongers, vegetable growers, food sellers to food and drink packagers. This vast selection of multi skilled jobs is appealing to a broad section of the workforce and includes educational institutes with dedicated training. Institutions such as New College Nottingham, Derby College in Buxton and School of Artisan Food at Welbeck provide the highest quality training in this sector. This can range from short taster courses to longer more certified qualifications to benefit and expand the range of skills people have.

The various traning support from the D2N2 Growth Hub and the UI4G (Unlocking Investment for Growth) programme, provide businesses with extensive support. Shown below is case studies to the developemnt of thsi skill:


D2N2 Growth Hub

The FEAST project from the Food and Drink Forum was approved for EU Funding to deliver a new dynamic business support programme targeting the priority D2N2 Food and Drink sector. In a comprehensive approach FEAST will deliver technical advice, local branding and export support, an apprentice programme and capital grants - all support needed by growing food SMEs to help them create quality jobs for the D2N2 area.

To find out more about the programme please visit:


Funding is recieved from ERDF.

LogoERDF Col Landscape