Food and Drink Federation

Automation - A Key Ingredient for Food Sector Growth

Press Release   •   Nov 14, 2011 10:13 GMT

Today the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) and the British Automation and Robot Association (BARA) are hosting a joint workshop for its members on the use of robotics and automation in food and drink manufacturing.

This workshop, which is a members-only event and takes place at Coca Cola Enterprises in Edmonton, North London, comes hot on the heels of news that PPMA Group and BARA have secured a contract to manage a £600,000 government grant to facilitate greater use of automation in UK manufacturing. UK manufacturers can benefit from the grant by securing independent, impartial expertise to assist in the implementation of appropriate automation solutions.

Last year, a benchmarking study found that UK companies lag behind their European counterparts in adopting such technology. Lack of knowledge and skills, plus an aversion to risk, are cited as key factors behind the difference in take-up, particularly among smaller manufacturers.

In addition to the funding, BARA will also be organising a number of free seminars for companies to view automation in operation and talk to experienced users.

FDF's director of communications Terry Jones said:

“We are incredibly pleased that BARA and PPMA Group has secured this contract to help businesses looking to automate. Though UK food and drink manufacturers are already major users of robot applications – we still need to close the gap with our rivals in the rest of Europe if we are to realise our growth potential. This workshop is a vital step in getting businesses in our sector to consider the possibilities automation can bring.”

Notes to Editors

  1. The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is the voice of the food and drink manufacturing industry – the UK's largest manufacturing sector.
  2. BARA (British Automation and Robot Association) provides a voice for the Robot and Automation Industries, when dealing with government, industry, financial and academic institutions. The aim of the BARA is to promote the use of, and assist in the development of Automation in British industry. For more information visit:
  3. For more information on the automating manufacturing programme

The Food and Drink Federation is the voice of the UK food and drink industry, the largest manufacturing sector in the country.

Our sector directly employs up to 400,000 people, and as many as 1.2 million in ancillary services; it accounts for 15% of the UK's total manufacturing sector by value; and it is an invaluable partner to British agriculture, buying two thirds of what farmers produce. Our membership comprises manufacturers of all sizes as well as trade associations dealing with specific sectors of the industry.