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EXCLUSIVE: ‘State support needed to ensure catering equipment R&D doesn’t tail off’

Keith Warren, chief executive

FEA chief executive Keith Warren insists the hospitality sector must continue to apply pressure on government to stimulate supply chain activity and ensure that efforts to develop more energy efficient restaurant equipment are not in vain.  

With the UK targeting net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the foodservice equipment industry will have a part to play in creating kit that is more environmentally-friendly to run.

But addressing concerns that manufacturers could reduce R&D investment in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mr Warren said: “We need government to support the R&D. We’ve got to keep that going not just for our industry but across UK manufacturing as a whole and across our industry as a whole. And I think in terms of achieving that, this is where we’ve really got to unite. We’ve seen great work going on between all industry organisations – across the operator industry and our supply chain as well.

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“We’ve got to keep the pressure on government to keep some economic operator businesses going until we can trade out of this, until they can trade out of this, because it’s only when they start making a profit and returned the loan value to zero that they can start investing in equipment.”

Mr Warren said it was important to note that while other manufacturing associations in the electrical industries were reporting turnover drops among members of around 15% to 20%, the catering equipment sector has seen revenue fall by as much as 90% in some cases due to the enforced closure of the restaurant sector.

“That’s going to mean a lot of the knowledge and experience of working on equipment – whether that’s in manufacturing or whether it’s installation or whether it’s service – could easily haemorrhage out of our industry as those individuals look to find jobs elsewhere. That would be tragic because we know how challenging it is to train in this market.

“I think there are pressure points on all of the actors in the supply chain, but R&D and future innovation – which would include connectivity and energy efficiency – are where the cuts will be unfortunately and that will hinder us from getting to those 2050 goals that we started talking about.”

Mr Warren was speaking during this week’s episode of Market Talk. View the full episode HERE or below:

MARKET TALK: Making sense of second-hand kit, the innovation question and auction best-sellers

Tags : energy efficiencyFEA
Andrew Seymour

The author Andrew Seymour

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