Pick up your ‘A Game’ for 2020

Having totally dominated news headlines in recent weeks, the General Election of 2015 is now a fast receding memory and, as the dust settles, we are left to work out what the surprising, to some, final result actually means – apart from some pollsters having to pick up their ‘A Game’ for 2020, that is…

Aside from the key factors influencing regional policy for the nation as a whole, there are a number of issues with a direct influence on the food and drink industry.  The thorny issue of European Union membership is likely to be a question soon to be set before the nation as a whole, with equally passionate voices advocating on both sides of the debate. Clearly, as one of the world’s biggest economic powers, sitting outside the EU has benefits for the power and influence Sterling can exert. However, leaving the EU will – at a stroke – remove the benefits of a number of trade agreements, as well as potentially limiting collective bargaining power with emerging economic powerhouses. There will be a lot more water pass under this particular bridge before we have any clarity.

Closer to home, the clear message from the electorate was that it wanted the Conservative party to continue its current economic programme. On the high street and in restaurants nationwide, the on-going growth in consumer confidence has led to more people eating out of home more often. This increased category participation has, however, come at the expense of spend per head and is most aptly illustrated by the on-going development of the casual dining sector. It is extremely likely that this growth is not only going to continue, but potentially increase pace still further.

The other aspect that the strong Conservative mandate has delivered is a more single-minded focus in terms of food policy across the country. Without the distraction of the coalition, supplier and manufacturer groups alike are excited at the government’s renewed focus on UK-produced food and drink. In fact, at least one article at the weekend compared the latest burst of ‘One Nation’ conservatism and its food policy as akin to the “Dig For Victory” spirit last evoked during Wartime Britain.

Prime Minister David Cameron will set more detail on all these areas before the house and the country over the coming months, but we can be certain of one thing, and that is that the government is committed to delivering growth to individuals and businesses alike and that whatever shape this takes, consumers feeling a bit more liberated in what they can spend, and when, can only be a good thing for UK food and drink professionals. 

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