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6 O'clock Gin taste testing
Image credit: 6 O'clock Gin

Bristol & Bath has a growing network of innovative food and drink companies, and a strong collaborative environment between businesses, academics, and research and development (R&D) institutions.

The Food Security and Search Alliance, which is also based here complements these growing networks. This organisation works across disciplines and collaborates with institutions with a strong background in relevant areas of research. It also maintains funding relationships with research councils, government departments, and the private sector. The economic successes driven by innovation suggest that Bristol & Bath’s food and drink sector will be at the forefront globally in the coming years.

Our region is rapidly growing

£ 1.9 bn Contributed to the national GVA in 2020 from the South West food and drink sector
£ 845 m West of England Agricultural contributed £845m to local GVA
£ 560 m Food and drink exports totalled £560 million from the South West region in 2020

The food and drink sector in the South West contributed £1.9 billion to the national GVA in 2020

  • In 2020, food and drink exports totalled £560 million from the South West region.
  • West of England Agricultural contributed £845 million in 2018 to local Gross Value Added (GVA).
  • There are over 4,800 higher education students and more than 600 sector-specific academics working on agricultural studies in the region.
  • 32% of Europe’s agri-food tech funding went to UK businesses in 2019.
  • The regional food and drink sector enjoyed a £4.9 ($6.9) billion private sector investment in 2018.
  • Employment within the regional food and drink sector accounts for 1% of national figures.
  • The region has a 3% share of national UK food and drink manufacturing businesses.
Food works building
Image credit: FoodWorksSW

Who's here?

Agri-tech

The region is home to two internationally-renowned agricultural institutions: the Royal Agricultural University and Hartpury University. It’s also home to the Rural Enterprise Centre, which is integral to the region’s educational and business growth. Once refurbishments to this centre are completed, it will be the ideal venue for businesses and academics. The centre will feature a conference and seminar area, as well as modern test kitchens and office space for agri-food-related businesses. It will offer a valuable facility to support the development of agricultural business and micro food and drink companies. It will also provide relevant skills training.

The West of England’s agricultural business landscape also comprises a vast network of small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and some of the world’s most iconic names in the agri-food sector, such as LettUs Grow.

LettUs Grow

LettUs Grow is an award-winning Bristol start-up that develops technology for aeroponics (or growing crops without soil in large vertical racks). The crops include herbs, strawberries, and small trees grown under LED lights with nutrients provided by a mist of water. As light can be tuned to specific plants’ needs, the process is both water- and energy-efficient.

The Food Enterprise Zone

North Somerset’s Food Enterprise Zone will act as a central hub that brings together expertise in bio-technology, food engineering and design, food research, production, and resource efficiency. The hub will be known as The Food Works.

North Somerset’s Food Enterprise Zone at Junction 21 Enterprise Area (J21EA) will provide an ideal base to develop a cluster of food-related businesses. This ten-acre site at Weston-Super-Mare will provide manufacturers and related businesses with research and development (R&D), packaging, and logistics in one location.