Kent is leading the way for food and drink businesses

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With Kent contributing £2.6bn of the UK’s food and drink industry, thanks to 2,500 food and drink companies and 17,000 employees located here, it’s not hard to see why the county is still referred to as the Garden of England.

Some of the UK’s top manufacturers have chosen Kent to grow and expand their business, including Britain’s oldest brewery: Shepherd Neame and award-winning winemakers Chapel Down. In fact, Kent is now known as the Wine Garden of England, with the region boasting the most favourable climate for viticulture in the country and terroir that is second to none.

Growers have also benefited from the county’s exceptional natural resources, with Thanet Earth establishing itself as the largest greenhouse complex in the UK and growing vegetables for some of Britain’s biggest retailers. Food and drink SMEs thrive in Kent, thanks to our lower commercial and employment costs, as well as the strong support given by local organisations, Locate in Kent, Produced in Kent and Rural PLC Kent.

“Kent’s an amazing place to start a business, particularly in the food and drink space. It’s a big market in its own right, so it’s a great place to seed your business.”

Stephen Russell, Co-Founder, Copper Rivet Distillery

Need more information?

The Locate in Kent team is here to provide you with more information, answer any questions and support you and your business.

Key Locations – Find Land, Farming and Manufacturing Units in Kent

Known as the Garden of England, Kent has built upon its reputation thanks to an innovative approach to food manufacturing as well as high-quality natural assets. Not only does Kent have some of the most productive agricultural land in Britain, it also offers state-of-the-art facilities for businesses looking to relocate.


Ashford has the highest number of businesses in the food and drink sector, with 425 drink or food companies now calling the borough home. These include market-leading food manufacturing companies Premier Foods and Brakes as well as micro-businesses, who all enjoy the district’s exceptional connectivity and affordable business rates. A central location on the M20 corridor with quick access to the main UK ports and airports, as well as fast train services to London and Europe make for a key location for drink and food manufacturers looking to distribute across the UK and export to Europe. Tenterden has also gained a reputation as one of the top locations in the country for winemakers, with Chapel Down Wines or Gusbourne located there. Following the success of these home-grown brands, French champagne maker Taittinger has also invested in the region and created its own domain: Domaine Evremond, proving once again the county’s stellar reputation in the drinks industry.


North Kent has built a strong reputation as a top destination for food and drinks businesses in the UK following multiple success stories. Distillery Copper Rivet is considered one of the country’s top up-and-coming distilleries and has built on the region’s heritage to create unique spirits. Apple and pear growers AC Goatham & Son’s reputation in the county and beyond has helped showcase Medway’s exceptional location for agricultural businesses as well as innovation.

NIAB EMR, East Malling

NIAB EMR has been recognised as one of the UK’s top centres for horticulture research. They support fruit growers across the world and are recognised for their innovation in this sector. With a strong focus on fruit crops, they specialise in developing new fruit varieties that are able to adapt to changing global climates. Their advances in this sector have not only benefited growers and producers, but also the main public.

Thanet Earth, Ramsgate

The largest greenhouse complex in the UK, Thanet Earth covers 90 hectares of land and grows tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers across six greenhouses. They produce and deliver vegetables for some of the top British retailers and have been praised for their innovative approach to growing vegetables. For more information on key locations in the county and how we can help you find the right premises, download our factsheet.

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Your Pick of the Crop – Finding the right talent in Kent

With a resident population of 1.8m, Kent is the largest of all English counties. Locating here will allow you to access a diverse talent pool, including specialised staff trained locally. Hadlow College in Kent is a land-based college offering a range of courses in agriculture, horticulture or animal studies. Rated as ‘Outstanding’ by Ofsted and a LSIS Beacon provider, the college trains the food and agricultural professionals of the future and allows you to hire highly-qualified graduates who understand the county’s strengths and will help you grow your business. Four other universities are located in Kent, including the University of Kent and Canterbury Christ Church University, which all train highly-skilled graduates in a range of technical, digital and managerial roles.

Key Partners – Produced in Kent & Rural PLC Kent

Food and drink companies locating in Kent will find all the support they need to establish themselves and expand their business substantially. With Locate in Kent able to help you find premises, talent, funding or deliver expert advice on food manufacturing, we will help you put down strong foundations in the county and grow as a landmark Kent business over the years. Trade organisation Produced in Kent is here to help you promote your products and services across the county and beyond. They support Kent food and drinks businesses through a range of specialist services that will help you generate more sales. Registering with them will allow you to benefit from their well-established brand and trademarked logo: a proof of quality trusted by customers. You will also be able to tap into a range of specialised services which complement Locate in Kent’s offering. Rural PLC (Kent) is here to support horticulture and agriculture businesses and protect the quality of the county’s natural assets. They offer a voice to farmers and growers and strive to create more investment opportunities for this key sector in the county. For more information about the support available for food and manufacturing businesses, get in touch with our experts today

Read more about the support we offer to Kent’s food and drink sector in our free factsheet.

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Speak to one of our advisors now to find out how our service can help you

Karima Kamel, Business Development Executive
Direct: +44 (0)1732 520700
Mobile: 07552 217 917

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