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The UK food and drink sector is facing many challenges while the UK establishes its trading relationships with the European Union and further afield. Food and drink companies are also experiencing workforce shortages while keeping up with an ever-changing regulatory landscape. Juggling pressures on profit margins created by supply chain issues and increases in the cost of utilities, combined with consumer demands for both convenience and long-term sustainability, means that companies must constantly invest in innovation and technology to keep up with competitors.

We act for major players in the food and drink industry. Our full-service food and drink lawyers have a range of specialist food and drink sector knowledge from their experience of advising a range of clients from field to fork, including listed multinational food and drink manufacturers and distributors, national retailers, restaurant chains and CBD and supplement suppliers.

We deliver prompt and pragmatic food and drink law advice to keep clients trading. We’ll help make sense of regulatory and compliance issues, while avoiding reputational risks of a product recall or quality issues. In addition, we assist with mergers and acquisitions, trading arrangements, brand protection, competition issues, property management and a variety of employment matters.

Food and drink regulatory update Food for Thought
Client
"Many thanks for all your help, particularly in making yourself available at short notice and out of office hours."
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What we do

With more top tier rankings on Legal 500 across multiple specialisms than any other firm in the region, we are fully equipped to handle any food and drink law issues and provide you with practical solutions.

We can cater for all your food and drink law requirements and act as an extension of your own teams understanding the need for good, pragmatic advice which is cost-effective.

Our focus is on building a mutually beneficial relationship which lasts. We adopt a hands-on approach and work with you as a trusted partner, taking stress away from you.

We provide access to our scalable resource and various levels of food and drink lawyer seniority to call upon, with the assurance of certainty, efficiency, effective costing and high-quality advice at all times.

 

Full service capabilities with top tier specialists

Whether dealing with a developer, investor, landlord or tenant we can help you with negotiating the leasing, acquisition or sale of your business premises; from planning and construction, to funding, tax advice and litigation, our conscientious and responsive food and drink law team aim to provide commercial advice to mitigate risk, to ensure your projects are delivered on time.

Commercial property strategy

Our employment team are able to provide advice in relation to all aspects of your relationships with your employees, whether that’s assisting with contracts and handbooks, business transfers, inter-company disputes and issues, employment claims and any other employment issues (such as seasonal working). Additionally, we can assist with compliance audits and offer bespoke training to assist you in managing your employees. We also provide specialist immigration advice, with immigration lawyers available to advise on compliance with ever changing and complex immigration rules and legislation, particularly now that the UK has left the EU. We can help with your Sponsor Licence and Visa applications, right to work checks and help you safeguard against illegal working. We also undertake immigration audits and compliance advice.

Immigration and employment needs

Our award-winning corporate team is known for its extensive experience in M&A transactions, private equity work, corporate governance advice and solvent reorganisations. With our expertise working with food and drink clients based in the UK and overseas and our close relationships with leading law firms globally (including through our membership of our international network, Pangea Net), we’re able to provide timely, responsive and cost-effective advice with minimal distraction to our clients’ businesses. We can add value by taking ownership of your requirements and be your single point of contact for all advice – streamlining the process for you.

Mergers and acquisitions, investment and company reorganisations

Our regulatory team helps food and drink clients understand, anticipate, and influence the shifting - and often volatile - regulatory landscape. We partner with your business to create smart, operational solutions that minimise risk, create new opportunities, and power your business forward. We regularly advise food and drink companies on food labelling and packaging requirements, nutrition and health claims, product quality issues, recall and consumer law.    

As the regulatory framework is complex and changes happen regularly, we understand food and drink businesses may sometimes be subject to regulatory investigation and enforcement. We have extensive food and drink law experience in supporting clients through regulatory investigations and enforcement including representing and advising clients at interviews under caution and in court hearings. Our advice in these business-critical situations is underpinned by our knowledge and experience gained by working closely with regulators in this sector over a significant period of time.

We also produce a quarterly regulatory update to keep our clients one step of ahead of regulatory developments.

Our intellectual property (IP) team span the whole range of IP rights across both contentious and non-contentious matters, whether it be complex patent litigation, trade mark strategy and protection advice, advertising and marketing matters, copyright-related issues, IP licensing arrangements, R&D and collaboration agreements or design rights advice. 

Chambers and Partners 2023
"The firm is strategically sound and has every discipline covered."

We can help you build an effective strategy which will take into account your resources, your approach to risk and the potential impact on your brand including: advice on alternative dispute resolution; breach of commercial contracts; breach of restrictive covenants; breach of warranty; company law disputes; freezing orders; injunctions; misrepresentation; claims and shareholder disputes. 

Resolving disputes

Our commercial team of dedicated specialists work together with our clients operating in the food and drink sectors to bring new products to market and expand their businesses overseas. We have particular expertise in advising brand owners and manufacturers on everything from putting in place framework agreements; to securing the supply of key components and raw materials; to engaging contract manufacturers, fillers, and packaging suppliers; through to assisting our clients in expanding their international footprint by appointing local representatives. We have extensive experience of putting in place contracts with commercial agents, distributors and other intermediaries and we frequently support our clients in performance managing those relationship and, if required, advising on termination to enable our clients to service the local market directly. 

Trade and commerce arrangements

With more top tier rankings on Legal 500 across multiple specialisms than any other firm in the region, we are fully equipped to handle any food and drink law issues and provide you with practical solutions.

We can cater for all your food and drink law requirements and act as an extension of your own teams understanding the need for good, pragmatic advice which is cost-effective.

Our focus is on building a mutually beneficial relationship which lasts. We adopt a hands-on approach and work with you as a trusted partner, taking stress away from you.

We provide access to our scalable resource and various levels of food and drink lawyer seniority to call upon, with the assurance of certainty, efficiency, effective costing and high-quality advice at all times.

 

Full service capabilities with top tier specialists

Whether dealing with a developer, investor, landlord or tenant we can help you with negotiating the leasing, acquisition or sale of your business premises; from planning and construction, to funding, tax advice and litigation, our conscientious and responsive food and drink law team aim to provide commercial advice to mitigate risk, to ensure your projects are delivered on time.

Commercial property strategy

Our employment team are able to provide advice in relation to all aspects of your relationships with your employees, whether that’s assisting with contracts and handbooks, business transfers, inter-company disputes and issues, employment claims and any other employment issues (such as seasonal working). Additionally, we can assist with compliance audits and offer bespoke training to assist you in managing your employees. We also provide specialist immigration advice, with immigration lawyers available to advise on compliance with ever changing and complex immigration rules and legislation, particularly now that the UK has left the EU. We can help with your Sponsor Licence and Visa applications, right to work checks and help you safeguard against illegal working. We also undertake immigration audits and compliance advice.

Immigration and employment needs

Our award-winning corporate team is known for its extensive experience in M&A transactions, private equity work, corporate governance advice and solvent reorganisations. With our expertise working with food and drink clients based in the UK and overseas and our close relationships with leading law firms globally (including through our membership of our international network, Pangea Net), we’re able to provide timely, responsive and cost-effective advice with minimal distraction to our clients’ businesses. We can add value by taking ownership of your requirements and be your single point of contact for all advice – streamlining the process for you.

Mergers and acquisitions, investment and company reorganisations

Our regulatory team helps food and drink clients understand, anticipate, and influence the shifting - and often volatile - regulatory landscape. We partner with your business to create smart, operational solutions that minimise risk, create new opportunities, and power your business forward. We regularly advise food and drink companies on food labelling and packaging requirements, nutrition and health claims, product quality issues, recall and consumer law.    

As the regulatory framework is complex and changes happen regularly, we understand food and drink businesses may sometimes be subject to regulatory investigation and enforcement. We have extensive food and drink law experience in supporting clients through regulatory investigations and enforcement including representing and advising clients at interviews under caution and in court hearings. Our advice in these business-critical situations is underpinned by our knowledge and experience gained by working closely with regulators in this sector over a significant period of time.

We also produce a quarterly regulatory update to keep our clients one step of ahead of regulatory developments.

Our intellectual property (IP) team span the whole range of IP rights across both contentious and non-contentious matters, whether it be complex patent litigation, trade mark strategy and protection advice, advertising and marketing matters, copyright-related issues, IP licensing arrangements, R&D and collaboration agreements or design rights advice. 

Chambers and Partners 2023
"The firm is strategically sound and has every discipline covered."

We can help you build an effective strategy which will take into account your resources, your approach to risk and the potential impact on your brand including: advice on alternative dispute resolution; breach of commercial contracts; breach of restrictive covenants; breach of warranty; company law disputes; freezing orders; injunctions; misrepresentation; claims and shareholder disputes. 

Resolving disputes

Our commercial team of dedicated specialists work together with our clients operating in the food and drink sectors to bring new products to market and expand their businesses overseas. We have particular expertise in advising brand owners and manufacturers on everything from putting in place framework agreements; to securing the supply of key components and raw materials; to engaging contract manufacturers, fillers, and packaging suppliers; through to assisting our clients in expanding their international footprint by appointing local representatives. We have extensive experience of putting in place contracts with commercial agents, distributors and other intermediaries and we frequently support our clients in performance managing those relationship and, if required, advising on termination to enable our clients to service the local market directly. 

Trade and commerce arrangements

Frequently asked questions

The food and drink legislation in the UK primarily encompasses the Food Safety Act of 1990. This act serves as the foundation for food-related laws, covering safety, quality, and accurate labelling. Additionally, the General Food Law Regulations of 2019 were implemented to establish overarching principles and standards concerning food laws.

Food law in the UK revolves around the retained EU law Regulation (EC) 178/2002, known as the 'General Food Law.' This regulation is designed to safeguard both human health and consumer interests throughout the food production, distribution, and processing stages.

The new safety food laws in the UK, focus on how food businesses handle allergens. It's vital for businesses to know and clearly tell customers about any allergens in the food they prepare. Starting in October 2021, packaged foods must have clear labels that highlight any allergens.

Featured experience

Argent Foods

Advised on a variety of employment and HR issues as well as data protection queries.

Norac Foods

Advised on product liability and compliance with the Food Information to Consumers Regulations.

Branston

Provided regulatory advice to Branston in relation to CCE markings and EU Product regulations as well as other corporate and commercial matters 

Compleat Food Group and Addo Food Group

Provided employment advice, advice on property matters and various corporate transactions including the sale of Addo Food Group to PAI Partners.

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