68.In autumn 2018, Defra began a review of the AHDB, seeking views on the “continuing need for AHDB and the statutory levy, and what the levy board should deliver”. AHDB “raises about £60 million per year in statutory levies, and levy raised from one sector can only be spent for the benefit of that sector”. The sectors that contribute the highest amount to the levy are beef and lamb in England (£16.7 million) and cereals and oilseeds in the UK (£12.7 million). The consultation for the AHDB review closed in November 2018 and a summary of responses was expected in early 2019. Phil Hadley, AHDB, considered that “the focus is on Brexit discussions and, as a result, it has been delayed”. When we asked the Food Minister about the review, he stated that his “understanding is that there is more work to be done”. The AHDB conducts market research and promotes British food and its efforts are split across domestic and international markets. This is welcome, but also ambitious. The current review of the AHDB should consider whether the balance of funding between domestic and international market intelligence and promotion is fit for the future and meets the needs of levy payers. AHDB should assess if more needs to be done to promote to the domestic market. Furthermore, the Government should also consider the case for splitting responsibility for promoting to the domestic market from that for the overseas market, so these two, different, important markets are not competing for resources from the same pot.
69.The proposed Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector Deal would address many of the concerns raised during our inquiry, and the proposed actions to improve exports (a food and drink export portal, market research unit and in-market specialists) were supported by the evidence we received. Brexit makes it important for the UK to access new markets for food and drink as well as maintain trade with existing countries and the EU. While progress is being made in some areas, we are concerned that the Government is not being ambitious or strategic enough in its approach to marketing and export activities. Market access and increasing exports do not happen overnight, and more action must be taken urgently. The food and drink industry has recognised what needs to be done to increase export activities. The Government should approve the Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector Deal immediately and confirm a timetable for its implementation.
161 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, ‘’, accessed June 2019
162 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Request for Views on the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, (August 2018), p 5; the AHDB also receives an additional £10 million from EU grants, fees for services and from its commercial subsidiary, Meat and Livestock Commercial Services Ltd.
163 Outside England, the development, promotion and marketing of red meat is the responsibility of Quality Meat Scotland (QMS), Hybu Cig Cymru/Meat Promotion Wales (HCC) and the Livestock and Meat Commission for Northern Ireland (LMC).
164 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Request for Views on the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board, (August 2018), p 6
165 Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, ‘’, accessed June 2019
168 Food and Drink Federation, ‘’, accessed June 2019
Published: 27 June 2019