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Our city and region is ready for you and your business. Explore this snapshot to find out why.


Connected city

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Connected city

We have regional, national, European and global connections. To keep us ahead £1.3 billion will be invested in our networks by 2015.

Easy access to 400 million people across Europe

90% of UK consumers are within four hours travel time

High Speed 2 rail  – London in less than 45 minutes 

50 airlines serving more than 140 routes worldwide


Multi-sector strengths

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Multi-sector strengths

Our talented people use their skills and expertise across a range of key sectors.

60% of the UK’s automotive R&D from the region

More BPFS companies than Zurich, Manchester and Edinburgh

23,700 people in architecture and engineering

500 medical technology companies, more than any other UK region


Space to breathe

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Space to breathe

Birmingham was voted best UK city outside of London for quality of life (Mercer Quality of Living 2012).


With more than 600 parks and open spaces and Sutton Park as one of the largest urban parks in Europe there is always space to breathe

Slow down. Explore more miles of canal than Venice

Secure future - 10 Local Nature Reserves and 156 designated nature conservation sites


World class city of culture

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World class city of culture

Indoors, outdoors, participate, watch or find space and quiet to get away from it all. You will always be able to relax and unwind.

Birmingham was ranked among the New York Times’ top 20 international destinations to visit.

Explore cuisine from more than 27 countries and dine in more Michelin star restaurants than any other English city outside London

More than 500,000 works of art in one square mile


High quality workforce

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High quality workforce

Our large talent pool is highly ranked now. It will stay that way.

4.3 million people of working age within an hour of the city

Over 300,000 students and 100,000 graduates within an hour’s drive of the city

A digital hub - for example 21% of the UK's games industry workforce is here

Nearly 1 million people speak a second language


Growth engine

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Growth engine

Our £94 billion regional economy will grow 20% by 2020

Innovative economic zones generating £1.5bn and 50,000 new jobs

Home to 75,000 companies, 1,190 of which are international

Our population will grow to 1.17million by 2018 (ONS)

Birmingham New Street helps move nearly 25million passengers annually

Europe's youngest city, with under 25's nearly 40% of our population


Bold regeneration

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Bold regeneration

We are investing £18 billion by 2026 in a bold 21st Century regeneration plan.

£1.3 billion will be invested in road, rail and air networks by 2015

£25 million is going in to the Digital Media Academy and £188 million on the new Library of Birmingham

£600 million redevelopment of New Street Station is underway

Food & Drink

The region hosts significant Food and Drink production activity with many world class brands including Cadbury’s, Molson Coors, Britvic and Soleco based in the region alongside large quantities of smaller regional and local producers. 

In terms of the region’s location, Greater Birmingham is ideally suited for food distribution. A gateway to the European market, it offers particular opportunities as a European head quarter location for international organisations and companies in the supply chain - 90% of the UK’s market is within four hours of the region.

The local market also supports a growing agglomeration around national suppliers of ethnic cuisine which reflects on Birmingham’s diverse population and continues to be an area where competitive advantage can be gained, particularly in import and export markets.  Mid-level skills in production and processing are readily available, with specialist expertise including Halal and ethnic foods.  Additionally world-renowned food technology and manufacturing expertise is developed at the regions universities and through existing Research & Development (R&D) activity. 

Food & drink in Greater Birmingham

  • Greater access to the local market - access to a substantial customer base, wholesale market, an extensive supply chain of SMEs and micro businesses, excellent transport links and access to a sizeable pool of skilled labour
  • Unique food and drink expertise of local universities, notably University of Birmingham's Formulation Engineering Department and University College Birmingham’s Food Innovation Facility
  • The sector employs 28,000 people in more than 1,100 companies in the Greater Birmingham area and some 58,000 people in more than 2,300 companies across the West Midlands as a whole
  • In the last 3 years (2013 – 2015) employment has expanded by 10.6% in the GBS LEP area and 11% in the West Midlands as a whole - The sector has significantly out-performed Great Britain as a whole – where there was growth of just 2.3%.
  • Healthy levels of inward investment, with 25 new food and drink FDI projects in the West Midlands since 2007
  • Key assets such as access to a large domestic market, a long pedigree in production and R&D and a first-class logistical network; and
  • An excellent logistical base with access to 90% of the UK’s market within a 4 hour drive as well as international connectivity provided by Birmingham Airport

Food & Drink brochure

Food and Drink

 

Key Strengths

Dairies sector: Staffordshire based Adams Foods is part of the Irish Dairy Board which has funded the expansion of facilities leading to the creation of 50 new jobs since 2011 and the safeguarding of more than 150. German owned Muller Dairies based in Shropshire which has created some 400 new jobs since 2012

Meat and poultry processing: Key firms include Herefordshire based Sun Valley, which as part of the US based Cargill Meats Group has created nearly 150 new jobs since 2012, Danish owned Tulip Ltd based in Warwick and Brunei owned Brunei Halal based in Birmingham. There is also a sizeable cluster of SMEs and micro businesses in Shropshire.

Ready meals: Key firms include Kanes Foods based in the Vale of Evesham and Scheff Foods based in Sandwell, with numerous SMEs and micro businesses based throughout the area.

The processing of fruit and vegetables: key firms include the K.F. Group based in the Vale of Evesham and French owned Florette based in Lichfield.

Brewing:  The manufacture of cider with key firms such as Hereford based HP Bulmer which is part of the Dutch owned Heineken Group plus a cluster of SMEs and micro businesses based principally in Herefordshire

The processing of potatoes with key firms such as Herefordshire based Tyrells and other sectors such as the manufacture of beer and biscuits, bread and cakes.

The Food Hub

To capture interest in the city from the food industry the opportunity exists to form a cluster of food processing, manufacturing and distribution businesses as a Food Hub.

Location

The Food Hub concept is part of the former IMI site in north Birmingham, which provides over 36 hectares of prime industrial land that has excellent access to the good transport links, customers and a sizeable labour pool.

Opportunity

The Food Hub will provide the opportunity to combine manufacturing, associated Research & Development (R&D), and distribution in a nationally attractive location for companies looking to locate at the heart of the UK’s food and drink sector.  Owned by IM Properties the site has planning permission for light industry, general industry and storage and distribution uses. It offers the flexibility of accommodating a range of different size units up to 70,000 sqm that could be used for production, processing, packaging and distribution. In total the Food Hub could accommodate more than 140,000sqm of new floor space. 

Delivery

The City Council is working in partnership with IM Properties to offer an exciting opportunity to develop an important and growing sector.  IM Properties will provide a bespoke design team with experience in this sector to work alongside food and drink companies wishing to locate here. The City Council and its partners will work with those companies to access funding to enable relocation and expansion.

Research Capabilities

The University of Birmingham

The University of Birmingham are laying the foundations for brand new food programmes as part of the Food Advanced Training Partnership (Food ATP), a major scheme to ensure the agri-food industry has the key skills needed to meet the challenges posed by national and global food security. The partnership builds on the expertise of leading UK institutions in food and agricultural research working together with the food industry to provide postgraduate-level taught and research training to food industry professionals.

Birmingham’s Food team in the School of Chemical Engineering is developing the Food ATP programmes in conjunction with the University of Reading, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), to develop highly skilled food industry leaders of tomorrow. 

The University and its partners have developed formal postgraduate qualifications, and offer continuing professional development through taught modules, tailored programmes and active research. The Food ATP academic qualifications will be jointly awarded by the Universities of Birmingham and Reading and will allow industry professionals to integrate learning from across the food chain from primary production to consumers, through bringing together expertise in a unique training partnership. More than 20 foremost industry partners from across the food industry including Kraft Foods, Waitrose, British Sugar and Sainsbury’s , are steering and shaping the training to ensure industry’s needs are met. 

Food, Health and Nutrition

The design of food processes and microstructures is a major research activity in the Chemical Engineering Department at the University of Birmingham. The themed areas focus on food, health and nutrition, product structure and function and food safety and hygiene. Research provided underpins support to the food industry and puts forward the new areas that are demanded by consumers and policy makers e.g. healthy foods that are convenient, safe and still fit into a normal diet or are even seen as indulgent (healthy indulgent) and the design of food processes with zero waste and lower environmental impact.

The group at Birmingham is the largest of its type in any UK academic engineering department.

University College of Birmingham

The University College of Birmingham (formerly the Birmingham College of Food, Tourism & Creative Studies) is a recognised centre for food education excellence with a number of Full Time Undergraduate courses:

  • Bakery and Confectionery Technology FdSc
  • Culinary Arts Management BA (Hons)
  • Culinary Arts Management FdA
  • Food and Consumer Management BSc (Hons)
  • Food and Consumer Management BSc (Hons) Top-Up
  • Food and Consumer Management FdSc

Case Studies

In Greater Birmingham, food and drink is the 3rd largest manufacturing industry in terms of employment and job growth more than 2,000 net new jobs have been created since 2009, representing growth of some 32%.  

Expansion of the sector has primarily been an organic process underpinned by a thriving cluster of SMEs and micro businesses. These firms tend to focus on smaller scale production for local or niche markets and on developing products in new areas of the market – notably the production/processing of meat and poultry products, and Halal products in particular, and the production of ethnic and other specialist food products.

The region’s thriving network of wholesalers, largely centred on the wholesale market – this is one of a handful of large ‘primary’ wholesale markets across the UK, which serves the whole of the Greater Birmingham and is home to numerous SMEs and micro businesses. As a result, the skills profile of job vacancies in Greater Birmingham is a little different to that elsewhere, with a higher proportion of opportunities in skilled and plant and machinery operatives.

It is forecasted that more than £314 million worth of additional GVA will be generated by firms in Greater Birmingham over the next decade and nearly £1 billion worth of additional GVA will be generated across the GBS LEP area. Nearly 6,000 net new jobs will be created between now and 2025 in Greater Birmingham and more than 9,000 net new jobs will be created in the GBS LEP area.  

Cadbury

Cadbury, a multinational confectionery company, was established almost 200 years ago in Birmingham in 1824 and is now the second largest confectionary brand in the world.

Founded by John Cadbury, who opened a grocers shop in 93 Bull Street, Birmingham, the manufacturing business was subsequently born in 1831 when he decided to start producing on a commercial scale and bought a four storey warehouse in nearby Crooked Lane. His vision was shared by his brother Richard, and they began searching for a very special site for their new factory. Bournville, in Birmingham, was chosen.

The rest, as they say, is history and some of the world’s most iconic names in chocolate were and still are produced here, including the Dairy Milk bar. Cadbury became part of Mondeléz International family on the 2nd February 2010, and in 2012 a new global R&D centre opened in Bournville, Birmingham as part of a £17 million investment in the UK.

The company chose to stay in the region to take advantage of the wealth of talent and skills available; creating a ‘Centre of Excellence’ that includes new innovation laboratories, a test plant facility and a collaboration kitchen to put new ideas to the test.

East End Foods

Established in the Greater Birmingham region in 1972, East End Foods Plc has grown into one of the UK’s leading Asian food specialists with an annual turnover in excess of £180 million. With the surge of immigration in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the enterprising Wouhra brothers spotted a gap in the market with the growing demand and lack of availability for ethnic foods. They opened a small store in Wolverhampton in the Black Country stocking raw ingredients and dried goods. As demand grew, they moved to two further sites in the area, before moving to Birmingham in the 1970’s, setting up in Highgate, Birmingham supplying independent retailers, family owned stores and a growing number of Indian restaurants. After the closure of the old HP Sauce site in 2007 in Aston, Birmingham, East End Foods purchased it and built a new cash and carry facility.

Today with the product range containing over 30,000 lines to over 3,500 retailers regionally and many more nationally, East End Foods not only caters for Greater Birmingham’s diverse ethnic population, but is now one of the largest importers of ethnic foods in the UK. It currently operates out of 600,000 sq feet of space across 4 depots in Birmingham and the Black Country and is one of the only companies in the UK to process, blend, and grind their products in the UK.

Brunei Halal

Established in 2012 Brunei Halal is a high value operation providing product development and testing, market research alongside procedures and logistics in line with the requirements of major multiples and major buyers. The company has ambitions to become the market leader within the fragmented halal market. 

Cleone

Cleone Foods produces and distribute Jamaican patties under its registered trademark Island Delight branding. In existence since 1989, the company employs 50 people and has a turnover just short of £3 million. The key driver of growth has been winning contracts with supermarkets – Cleone Foods supplies the UK’s major supermarkets such as Tesco, Sainsbury’s, ASDA, Morrison’s and Co-Op and supplies approximately 70% of all the patties made in the UK. Cleone is looking to further expand the business over the next 3 years, generating £1 million of additional turnover and is seeking to recruit an additional 15 people to their team of workers.

“Birmingham is a great location for our business, particularly for transport links. With access to all major conurbations within two hours, we can deliver anywhere within three hours”

Access to labour is also a major benefit for Cleone Foods as the company is located on a main bus route with train stations at a suitable distance. Local labour is well skilled, with four major universities, and several local and specialist colleges such as the University College Birmingham providing specialist courses in food and drink studies and the National Skills Academy providing excellent candidates across all disciplines.

The supply chain is well resourced, with ingredient, packaging and component suppliers all locally based, as well as service providers, and technical and engineering support easily available within the local area.

Allied Bakeries

Allied Bakeries is the UK's second largest bakery supplier and owner of leading bread brand Kingsmill. In 2014 the company invested £25m investment into its Greater Birmingham bakery in West Bromwich. The investment has supported extensive refurbishment of the bread plant to create an innovative, modern and even more efficient bakery and marks one of the final projects of the organisation’s £210m nation-wide capital expenditure programme.  The plant is benefitting from a new building, as well as the latest ingredient handling technology and electrical and mechanical improvements, delivering increased productivity and greater energy efficiency.

Seafresh

Established in 2011 the organisation is comprised of two sites within the region, Sea Farms Limited and Blue Earth Foods Limited, and employs 350 full time staff. Blue Earth Foods Limited is a chilled seafood supplier to large retailers such as Marks and Spencer’s, Tesco and Sainsbury’s whereas Sea Farms Limited supplies frozen products to the retail trade and to other regional businesses such as Two Sisters Group.

Since the organisation was established sales have grown at a rate of 25% to 30% a year. Within 3 years production has soared from 35 packs in the first week of production, to half a million packs a week in 2014.  Seafresh is currently transforming an existing building into another production site and have planning permission for further expansion.

“This location is fantastic as we’re in the middle of the country with great access to all our customers and suppliers. It gives an advantage over many of our competitors who are based in Scotland. We also have easy access to a good workforce and are now one of the biggest employers locally.”

2 Sisters Food Group

2 Sisters Food Group has 49 manufacturing sites in the UK and Ireland, Holland and Poland. The group employs around 24,000 people and annual sales are now over £3 billion following the acquisitions of Northern Foods and Brookes Avana in 2011 and the Vion Poultry and Red Meat Businesses in 2013.

Midland Food Group

Midland Food group employs 250 staff and has sales in excess of £50 million.  Supplying over 3,500 different products to over 2,500 individual customers from our two sites; Willenhall in the West Midlands and Basingstoke in the South. The company’s BRC accredited pie factory has the capability of producing 16,000 pies every day, making us one of the largest specialist pie producers in the UK.

KTC Edibles

Britain’s largest private manufacturer and distributor of oils and fats for the cooking industry supplying over 250 million litres a year of high quality cooking oils and fats to the food industry. KTC imports, packs and distribute a wide array of ethnic and mainstream food products to manufacturers, retailers and wholesalers throughout the United Kingdom and the rest of the world.

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