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The food and drink risk environment

The UK and wider global food and drink industry is competitive, complex and dynamic which presents significant opportunities for agile, connected companies. At the same time, this landscape presents a series of complex and emerging risks. Here are a number of trends which are influencing risk in the industry.

The operating environment can be challenging with strict government regulation to adhere to and increasing scrutiny around sustainability – from the security of supply in increasingly global supply chains, to concerns around ingredients and the effect they have on the population’s health. Consumers put a great deal of trust in food and drink manufacturers to deliver products that are safe and this means brands must be carefully managed.

Changing consumer behaviour such as the movement towards low-cost retailers and online shopping as well as higher engagement with social media, means food and drink companies must be innovative to overcome this challenging environment. The most successful companies innovate across all processes including manufacturing, supply chain, packaging and branding.

How can Willis Towers Watson help food and drink companies?

We believe that in order to provide solutions that are right for our clients, we need to understand their business. This means everything from a 3.00am start to join a milkman on his round so we can fully evaluate the risks associated with milk floats, to using our experience in new factory builds to influence the building specification and ensure that premiums are kept to a minimum.

We cover all food and drink sectors across the entire value chain with experts covering a multitude of disciplines including:

  • Supply chain risk management
  • Brand and reputational risks
  • Commercial contracts – an increasingly demanding and complex area
  • Product recall
  • International legislation and regulations – including the complexities of EU rules
  • Health and safety risk management

Our risk analysis is based on a thorough understanding of our clients’ business and includes the review and analysis of our clients’ risk exposures in relation to their short, medium and long term business objectives. By understanding where our clients want to be in the future, identifying risks that might stop them getting there and recommending the right risk management, transfer and mitigation strategies, we support our clients in building a sustainable business.

What experience does Willis Towers Watson have in the food and drink sector?

The Willis Towers Watson Food and Drink Practice has worked with businesses of all sizes (from small family firms to large global manufacturers) for many years and as a result we have a deep insight into the opportunities and challenges food and drink companies face.

Our experts have worked in senior roles within the food and drink industry and understand the issues faced by companies in the sector, including the complex supply chains and unusually broad set of stakeholders.

As part of a global broking organisation, the food and drink team is your connection to the breadth of expertise Willis Towers Watson has to offer. Our industry focus combined with our risk management, claims and insurance placement proficiency means we are well positioned to assist with both traditional and emerging business exposures. Please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss your risk management and insurance strategy further and find out how we can help you implement the right approach for your business.


Sue Newton
Food and Drink Practice Leader
+44 (0) 7946 421507



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