Trading blows

OC&C's annual review of the UK's top 150 food and soft drink producers

Report

It’s been a bruising year for food and drink suppliers but the winners were those who attacked their cost base and packed a punch with ads and NPD.

Profit warnings, hostile takeover bids, restructures, layoffs and a constant clamour for bigger promotions and lower prices – last year was bruising for UK food and drink suppliers.  As a result, the UK’s top 150 food and drink suppliers delivered the slowest rate of growth in five years, up 7.7%, while margins dipped from 6.8% to 6.5%, a 10-year low. There were some notable casualties. As well as the much-publicised declines recorded in the ready meals and dairy sectors, Tate & Lyle was forced into a major restructuring as profits slumped by 86%, and Heinz sold its frozen and chilled foods division following an 8% sales drop-off.

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