IGD report highlights 10 of the biggest challenges facing the UK food system

Produce Business report

Over the next decade, the UK food industry and supply chain will continue to face many of the same disruptions they have in recent years, requiring leaders to be both bold and nimble in their strategies and decision-making.

In its latest report “A System Under Pressure: An Overview of Long-Term Risks to the UK Food System”, the data-driven organisation IGD has identified 10 critical areas that if addressed swiftly can help alleviate some of the pains of labour shortages, rising costs, and agricultural problems.

“As we look to the years ahead, the world finds itself in a more unstable place with risks such as climate change, cybersecurity and geopolitics coming to the fore, challenging the model of the current system,” IDG authors noted in the introduction to their 37-page analysis. “Mitigating these risks will require a vast range of actions resulting in many significant changes, between sectors and within specific businesses. All parts of the food system will have to play a role in building resilience; from large-scale policy change to tactical operational decisions.”

The IGD team break down those key areas, with insight through its overarching guide and several breakouts on its website. They cover:

  • Climate change
  • Agricultural challenges
  • Disease
  • Water
  • Biodiversity loss
  • Labour and skills
  • Economics of the food system
  • Geopolitics
  • Cybersecurity
  • An opaque supply chain

IGD says the challenges broadly stretch across all sectors, from retail to farming to processing and manufacturing to foodservice. None of them are immune from changes about to come from new political decision-making, lack of further investments, and other disruptors worldwide.

While many UK businesses have struggled, most survived the global pandemic and have provided “high-quality, safe and affordable food” even during the toughest moments, including the backdrop of high inflation. Still, the future is very uncertain.

Help for businesses, workers

IGD provides a rich number of resources and assistance programmes to those still struggling or looking to improve their business models, through its:

  • Economics programme, which gives free analysis on trends and priorities, “helping organisations make sense of the external landscape.”
  • Free learning programmes, which offer additional training to those in the industry who want to further their skills.

“IGD aims to be the essential partner to a thriving food and consumer goods industry, committed to playing a central role in securing  a healthy, sustainable and resilient food system,” authors noted.



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