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Food & Beverage

The food and drink sector is fast-moving, fiercely competitive, high-profile and highly regulated. With in-depth expertise across all areas of this diverse industry, Gowling WLG is helping clients to achieve their commercial objectives against the backdrop of a challenging business environment.

Clients including Bakkavor, My Goodness Shakes, Coca Cola, Premier Foods, United Biscuits and Birds Eye Iglo call upon our sector specialists for fast, efficient and accurate advice.

They can rely on us to:

  • Provide commercial insight and sensitivity to operational challenges - we understand that margins are under pressure, which in turn puts pressure on food manufacturers to improve productivity without compromising food safety standards.
  • Be up to speed on market developments - helping clients to respond to changing regulations and the latest legislation. We know our co-packing from our GSCOP!
  • Provide innovative, pragmatic solutions from field to fork - we offer full service expertise throughout the lifecycle of a product, from supply chain management to leveraging value and protecting IP.

This sector-focused approach is why Premier Foods turned to us to advise on its £182 million disposal of its canned grocery operations to Princes Limited. Our ability to handle every aspect of the transaction - from corporate to commercial, IP to real estate, competition to regulatory - highlights our full service expertise in this sector.

Logistics and warehousing can be a significant cost. A team led by David Lowe helped Birds Eye Iglo Group on its multi-million pound UK and global logistics contract with DHL and its national UK frozen food warehousing arrangements with Partner Logistics. Highly innovative, our specialists ensured that the arrangements were structured to protect our client's commercial interests.

When it comes to regulation, speed and accuracy of advice is critical. If a product is recalled, the business risks significant reputation damage and profit loss. With substantial experience in advising clients through all stages of product recalls, clients are in safe hands.

Supporting on one of the biggest, high-profile recalls of the last decade, Andrew Smith and Andrew Litchfield quickly stepped in to take control of the situation. Advising on not only the recall itself, they supported on the management of claims from customers and negotiations with the regulatory enforcement agencies.

Solutions to industry-specific issues

However complex or unusual, pose our regulatory experts a problem, they will find the solution. One day might see them field queries relating to labelling, the next on the importation of novel foodstuffs. When trading standards attempted to impound more than £100,000 worth of a client's packaging, we challenged the decision and released the stock, avoiding the client's production line grinding to a halt.

Brand and promotion is also key. Led by Dan Smith, our advertising and marketing law experts advise on the full spectrum of issues - social media, naming rights, sponsorship and events, ambush marketing and advertising, and marketing generally. They understand the delicate balance between complying with strict advertising regulations and the importance of effective marketing in a competitive marketplace.

This competitive environment has led to increased consolidation. Specialist employment and pensions advice is essential as mergers inevitably create legacy issues. As well as advice on cultural change and changing terms of employment, experience also includes advising global food and drink brands on issues such as litigation, age discrimination, TUPE in the context of product licensing and offshoring and agency worker issues.

Key Contact

David Lowe
David Lowe

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