Food and drink-related employment in Northamptonshire is growing, according to a report published today.
Key findings of the Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership report include that jobs in the sector in Northamptonshire have risen five per cent, against a three per cent decline nationally.
County business leaders predict a further 3,500 new jobs will be created by 2021.
David Bodily of Carlsberg UK said: “We are proud to be based in such a forward thinking and enterprising county. We have been brewing, marketing and distributing beer in Northampton since the 1970s and have recently invested £20m in a brand new bottling plant which is set to open in the New Year.
“This not only secures our future in the county, but creates many jobs for the local community.”
With over 10 per cent of the UK’s wheat stored, milled and processed within its boundaries, Northamptonshire is at the heart of the UK’s wheat industry.
The report found that, of the fourteen per cent of the jobs in the county that are linked to the food and drink sector, half are reliant on wheat.
Barley is also a major economic revenue stream, with 16 per cent of the UK’s brewing capacity based in the county, making it the most active county in brewing.
Big names, such as Carlsberg UK, as well as a number of specialist firms such as Hoggleys and Frog Island have helped cement this position.
Food and drink producers in Northamptonshire currently number over twice the national average and the industry is worth an estimated £1.5 billion Gross Value Add (GVA) to Northamptonshire’s economy.
Rob Purdie, executive director at NEP, said: “We are seeing that many food and drink manufacturers are considering where best to base their operations to reduce costs associated with transporting both bulky and heavy raw materials and end products.
“We believe the growth in Northamptonshire’s food and drink sector is directly linked to this renewed focus on reducing supply chain costs and, as the report shows, the trend looks like it will continue, as the cost of transport costs continues to rise.”