A Taste of Britain — 5 Innovative Firms from the UK Agri-Food Sector


From Cornish pasties to Stornoway black puddings and a cornucopia of cuisines imported from around the world, the British farming, food and drink industry serves up delectable treats for every palate.

In 2016, the Gross Value Added (GVA) of the UK agri-food sector was £112 billion and it accounted for 11.6 per cent of British employment in the first quarter of 2017.

As well as the customer-facing emporiums that serve our sandwiches and coffees, the industry hosts a huge variety of firms that maintain food quality on its journey from farm to plate.

So if you’re yearning for a taste of Britain, here are five innovative firms from the UK agri-food sector.

  1. Mackie’s of Scotland

With a history of farming in Westertown, Aberdeenshire stretching back to 1912, artisan crisp and ice cream makers Mackie’s know a thing or two about developing high quality produce from their fields and livestock.

When market demand for semi-skimmed milk resulted a cream surplus in 1986, the agile firm used the excess to create real dairy ice cream — kept popular to this day by delicious flavours like Drambuie and toffee fudge.

The firm also manufactures tasty kettle-fried crisps and a tasty range of chocolate bars —  consistently displaying a foresight that allows it to diversify, survive and thrive.

  1. Westlake Plough & Tractor Parts

Once tractors started to appear in the early 20th Century, farmers could plough their fields far more quickly and efficiently than was possible through biological horsepower.

But large-scale farm machinery’s expensive — so thrifty farmers developed a passion for maintaining their purchases to extend their lifespans.

Vintage farm implements supplier Westlake Plough & Tractor Parts stock complete classic working tractors from generations ago and the rare parts that keep them running — as well as brand new spare parts for modern machines.

  1. Penmann

Maintaining quality, reducing wastage and complying with strict regulatory standards are only possible through tightly controlled food production environments — common problems like condensation and humidity can cause a severe dent in profits through defective product batches.

So bespoke food production facilities designers Penmann create and install optimal food cooling, ventilation and air conditioning solutions for small, medium and large breweries, dairies, biscuit factories and more.

With so much time, effort and finance invested in maintaining standards throughout the supply chain, this firm’s expertise places it in a position of trust with a diverse range of food producers.

  1. Rathfinny

A brief browse through supermarket alcohol aisles usually reveals a wide selection of Old and New World wines — but British bottles aren’t always prominent.

However, Sussex sparkling wine specialist Rathfinny produces fabulous bottles of fizz from the rolling hills and chalk soils of its Alfriston estate.

The winery has capacity to produce over one million bottles annually and although the signature white and rose sparkling wines are popular, crisp Cradle Valley still white wine and grape-based gin and vermouth are also available.

  1. Roslin Technologies

As the global population expands and food security is jeopardised by disease, conflict, natural disaster and transport infrastructure problems, the agritech sector has become more prominent.

So animal science innovation hub Roslin Technologies was founded in 2016 as part of Edinburgh University’s Roslin Institute to harness genotyping and bioinformatics for animal health and productivity.

The startup has also uses eggs to produce low-cost therapeutic proteins to treat life-threatening diseases in humans and is pioneering work in biobanking the frozen genotypes of rare and endangered poultry breeds.

Cutting-edge enterprises like Roslin Technologies are carrying out crucial work that will be of benefit to people worldwide.

These five innovative firms from the UK agri-food sector prove that sterling efforts are made daily to grow, manufacture, protect and market foodstuffs that maintain public health in Britain and beyond.

Which agri-food firm inspires you? Share your thoughts in the comments section.



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