The food industry in the UK is dynamic and evolving. As our food habits continuously change, food manufacturers are continuously innovating and developing products to keep the consumer interested.
The last 20 years has probably seen the biggest change in the type of food we eat and our views on food as consumers. There is certainly a rise in gourmet cooking which has in part come about due to glamorisation of celebrity chefs. We are also a lot more likely as consumers to try different foods from around the world, as travel has become more affordable and our palettes have become more open to new tastes and sensations.
In the coming years, the food industry faces a number of challenges including controlling the food we waste, in the UK we annually waste 15 million tonnes!
At the moment there are over 400,000 people employed in food and drink manufacturing. As the current work force ages and the industry grows, there is a greater need for a constant supply of new talent which currently is not coming through the pipeline.
A lot more people are needed for specific skills. Roles including Packaging Technologists, Product Developers in meat and confectionery, rheology (an area that is growing in the food industry), Protein Specialists, Food Scientists and roles within in consumer science, are now more often filled with people that are brought in from countries in Europe, where Food related degrees are much more popular.
The challenge for the industry is how we will develop solid talent pipelines within the local and global markets to meet this need going forward. Our thoughts are that the industry as a whole needs to work harder to interest and identify talent at school-level, to share practical experience of these career areas and demonstrate the opportunities available for international working and career development.
Another big challenge the food industry faces is the increase in the world’s population. How will we feed the world? Many suggest insects to be a viable option and the next logical additional food source, as they are already a delicacy in many countries.
What are your thoughts on this?
At Technical Network, we work with many food companies in the UK to find talented individuals to work in various sectors, specifically within technical, NPD, quality, operations, production, supply chain and packaging from technician to senior management level. We aim to help by connecting the right people with the right opportunities through building long term relationships with our clients and our candidates.
We aim to work with our clients and candidates to develop thinking around talent and skills gaps in the industry, as well as co-developing future talent attraction strategies at a grass-roots level. You can find out more about our current work in this area by contact us for more information in your specific function or industry.