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The decoupling of support for crops under the reform of the CAP has led to concern within the UK as to whether its cereal sector can remain competitive when exposed to unprotected international commodity prices. This paper reports on a Global Benchmarking and Competitive Analysis of the UK Cereals Sector. The UK cereals sector was broken down into : Animal Feed Manufacture; Malting, Brewing and Distilling; Flour Milling and Baking; Industrial Applications - Starch, Bio-Fuels, Pharmaceutical. Four panels of UK experts were assembled. Each panel identified six main competitor countries to the UK for each supply chain and compiled a list of key factors affecting competitiveness. A total of 1500 questionnaires were distributed. Assurance, traceability, enforcement of regulation, and quality control procedures are regarded as strong in the UK. Supply chains have a good size structure providing a stable supply of raw material, well-located for usage outlets. However there appears to be a lack of co-operation, integration and trust within the supply chains. Specific training and education is required and there is a problem of recruiting and retaining skilled staff. There is a lack of benchmarking and sharing of good practice. There is concern that productivity improvement is threatened by the erosion of the UK research base. Overall a lack of confidence in the future of the sector is impeding entrepreneurship and innovative strategic investment.


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