Britain’s biggest ever takeaway has been unveiled with figures from the Food and Drink Federation showing exports of food and drink increased by 10.7% in the first quarter of 2019 to £5.8 billion. That’s almost twice the growth rate of last year. 

The Federation has also underlined its ambition to boost exports of branded food and non-alcoholic drinks by a third – from a 2014 baseline – to reach £6 billion by next year. 

Through the new Food and Drink Sector Deal, five target markets – China, the Gulf region, the USA, Japan and India – have been identified as offering major growth potential for UK food and drink manufacturers. 

There’s more good news for producers and consumers with the unveiling of plans to build the UK’s first national centre dedicated to food and drink transparency. 

Food provenance pioneer, Happerley, aims to stamp out food fraud with the facility in Banbury’s Castle Quay, Oxfordshire, by offering farmers, suppliers and producers a platform to champion their Gold Standard products. 

This marque will be awarded only to food and drink producers who can name the exact sources of their ingredients. 

From beef and fish to dairy and bread, every ingredient in the approved products will be traceable back to the original farms or fishing boats. 

It’s hoped this will help combat the £12 billion in food fraud the UK faces every year. 

With the search for bona fide British food very much on the agenda, the UK’s food and drink production sector is also offering very real opportunities for job seekers. 

Production operatives, in particular, are needed to process a huge range of drink and foodstuffs – including meat, whisky, seafood, dairy produce, gin and specialist beers – both for domestic consumption and export around the world.  

If you want to work on a fast-paced production line and make sure every order is finished on time with the highest quality guaranteed, you’ll need an eye for detail. 

Reliability and the ability to be flexible are also important because shift work often includes a mix of daytime hours and night shifts. 

In such a competitive environment it’s not unusual to find yourself moving very quickly from the shop floor into management and, sometimes, all the way to the boardroom. 

Production operatives who gain experience on the factory floor can also find themselves as candidates for the roles of hygiene operator and quality control administrator – or even work their way up to the job of quality control manager. 

An important part of these roles is ensuring products not only satisfy consumers but also meet all their legal requirements, including rules that maintain hygiene, health and safety. 

Keep in mind, too, it’s not just about what goes out the factory but what comes in: quality control begins by inspecting raw materials and ingredients.  

This is a job for the meticulous and methodical mind that can collect evidence based on the tiniest of details, ensure all the data on every batch of goods is 100% accurate and confirm all the legal certifications are up to date.  

Finally, when the goods are ready to go, packaging production operators and logistics specialists prepare the deliveries to be safely shipped off, everywhere from Newcastle to New Orleans.  

Bottling hall operatives, meanwhile, oversee the bottling process for a range of goods, including whisky, beer, rum and gin. 

After the party, it’s the turn of the green machine to kick into action with recycling operatives at plants up and down the UK taking plastics, glass, bottles, cardboard and paper and making them fit for purpose all over again 

If you’re more technically minded, as a factory maintenance engineer you literally keep the wheels of the industry turning, while as an IT expert you will be instrumental in developing and monitoring new software to speed up production processes and promote greater efficiency. 

Being able to assist in implementing state-of-the-art, connected technology not only future proofs a business, it helps attract new generations of skilled workers. 

In this way technology, automation and AI are actually creating career opportunities – especially as the number of ‘fully connected factories’ is expected to double by 2022. 

Managers, too, recognise that upskilling staff in new technology improves their operations and creates the next generation of management superstars.  

If the you a have an appetite for a new career in the food and drink industry, export yourself to x1jobs where you can find a whole menu of fresh roles.