Food and the city economy: facts & stats


  • Population of Birmingham
    • The population is just over 1M (info taken from here).
      • 45.7% of Birmingham residents are under 30, compared with 36.8% for England. In contrast 12.9% of our residents are over 65, compared with 16.9% nationally.
    • In addition, ~170K people commute into the city centre every day.
    • ~65,000 undergraduates at our five universities (info from here).
  •  Consumer stats
    • Total consumer spend on food, drink and catering in the UK is £196bn (Food Statistics Pocketbook 2014, see below).
    • The average individual spend is therefore over £3000 a year, giving the Birmingham total spend as over £3.4bn.
  • Large food and drinks organisations based in Birmingham and its environs
    • Amadeus is the catering arm of the NEC Group. It’s proved difficult to find info about them on-line other that they serve 3.5M covers annually.
    • Aston Manor Cider is the UK’s largest independent cider maker with sales of over £120M.
    • Birmingham Wholesale Markets: Data is hard to find: Wikipedia says there are 235 units; an FOE blogpost states they have a aggregated turnover of ~£275M and employ over 1,000 people (FOE blogpost, 2013).
    • Compass Group UK HQ (Operations) is in Rubery. Their factsheet gives this info (plus a tad more); they employ 60K employees across the UK and Ireland, and serve 1M meals a day, and has an annual turnover of £1.8bn.
    • East End Foods has an annual turnover of £180M supplying over 1250 ‘ethnic food’ lines sourced from across the world. In 2006, they opened the first rice mill in Europe.
    • Minor Weir and Willis is one of the largest fruit and vegetable handlers in the UK, with a turnover of ~£250M per year.
    • Mitchells & Butlers: The UK’s largest operator of pubs, restaurants and bars, serving 120M meals a year, had a turnover of £1.9M in 2013.
    • 2 sisters is one of the UK’s biggest food companies with a turnover of ~£3.2 billion per year. With its HQ in West Bromwich, it supplies 50% of the poultry and 10% of the beef and lamb eaten in the UK.
    • Wing Yip supplies 4500 products to, among others, 2000 Chinese restaurants. They employ 350 people, have a turnover of ~£100M, with a pre-tax profit last year of £4.9M.
  • SMEs & other organisations within the city with renown outside its borders
  • International food companies with significant operations in Birmingham
  • Large companies that provide significant services to the food sector
    • Euro Packaging is a sales, manufacture and distribution packaging company whose HQ is in Yardley. They employ over 1000 people worldwide and have revenues of over £170M.
      • The Food Packaging Federation 2012 briefing to MPs and Peers said the industry employs 85K people (3% of the UK workforce), and the industry has a value of £11bn — and claim the food supply chain wastes only 3% in the supply chain because of packaging, cf 40% in Russia, India etc.
      • I can’t find any stats regarding the % of packaging that’s used in the food supply chain.
  • Other food companies in the conurbation
    • A. F Blakemore, HQ in Wolverhampton, employs 7,900 people and has a turnover of over £1.2bn. Operates eight businesses, including the Spar retail outlets.
    • Eurofins is a Luxembourg-based company, with a turnover of €1.1bn and 16K+ people, providing laboratory testing. A major UK food testing centre is in Wolverhampton.
    • Middleton Food Group & Middleton Cash and Carry, part of the Middleton Group. The Group, based in Willenhall, has a turnover of £70M and employs 250 people.
    • MKG Foods, based in Aldridge, is a multi-temperature food distribution business. (No more info available . . . as yet.)
    • FSE 250 company Poundland, rarely thought of as a food company, nevertheless in 2008 food products, mostly confectionary, crisps and drinks, comprised 14% of its floor space and brought in 28% of its profits. With its HQ is in Willenhall, it has a turnover of £880M and employs 10K people serving 2.75M customers a week.
  • Further & Higher Education & CPD courses

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  • The value of the food chain 
    • Total UK consumer expenditure on food, drink and catering is £196 billion. (This works out at an average of £3062.50 per person or £58.89 a week or £8.39 per day.
  • Supermarket employees
  • Hospitality: Employees and value to the UK economy (note: compare these figures with those on the DEFRA diagram at the bottom of the page)

    • The British Hospitality Association figures are that 2.7M people (10% of the workforce) are employed in the UK hospitality sector, and that it’s the 4th largest industry sector, contributing £53bn GVA a year.
    • The Caterer reports that Mintel figures are these: The UK has 56K restaurants worth over £25bn per annum, employing over 500,000 people, with fast food outlets accounting for for £6.7bn and stand-alone restaurants £5.4bn.
  • According to the Food Industry Sustainability Strategy (DEFRA, 2006) the food industry accounts for
    • about 14% of energy consumption  by UK businesses
    • 7M tonnes of carbon emissions per year
    • ~10% of all industrial use of the public water supply
    • ~ 10% of the industrial and commercial waste stream
    • 25% of all HGV vehicle kilometres in the UK
    • 12.5% of the workforce
  • The economics of obesity

See also: The Food Statistics Pocketbook, published annually by DEFRA since 2012 — and from which I gleaned the stats about the value of the food chain; their flow diagram giving info about the whole chain is below:


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