Food and agribusiness

From farm to fork, those involved in the food and agribusiness sector face a range of challenges specific to the industry. Mills & Reeve understand the issues involved. With experience of advising businesses from farmers and landed estates to major food processors and retailers we will help you Achieve More. Together.

Working with you to succeed in a challenging industry

Whilst you have to deal with the consequences of unpredictable weather, volatile prices and exchange rates, and increasingly onerous compliance regimes, we will help you with the challenges that can be controlled.
We are experienced in advising on the legal aspects of every element of the food supply chain from FBTs to GSCOP:

  • Property transactions
  • Corporate mergers, acquisitions and disposals 
  • Banking and finance 
  • Agricultural tenancies and commercial leases 
  • Property and commercial disputes 
  • Joint ventures, commercial agreements and partnership agreements 
  • Food law - labelling, marketing, advertising
  • Brand protection and exploitation 
  • Product liability and product recall 
  • Regulatory advice - environmental, health and safety
  • Insurance
  • Competition law

Our lawyers

  • We have one of the largest teams of agricultural property lawyers in the country working alongside specialists in all other areas relevant to the industry - over 60 lawyers acting for food and agribusinesses across our six offices including a core regulatory team advising on food law, health and safety and environmental law.

Our experience

Our experience in the sector enables us to give prompt practical advice as we appreciate the legal and commercial imperatives:

  • Advising the Wellcome Trust on the £249 million acquisition of the farming business of the Co-Operative Group
  • Regularly acting for leading clearing banks such as Barclays and HSBC on funding and refinancing arrangements
  • Working with Trinity College, Cambridge on the management of their agricultural land portfolio, including tenancy restructuring, acquisitions and disposals
  • Advising on a contamination event and the application of the Food Safety Requirements on a multi-national level to a global food business
  • Acting for one of the UK’s largest poultry producers on the purchase of several breeding properties and processing plants
  • Handling acquisitions by UNIVEG and other major fresh food suppliers
  • Advising Bernard Matthews on a £24.5 million biomass project
  • Acting for shareholders in the sale of Bowes of Norfolk Limited to Cranswick Country Foods Plc (including a statutory demerger, pension and competition commission consent and management buy-out)
  • Day to day product regulatory labelling and advertising advice for well-known food brands, including McDonalds

Our clients

Our clients include some of the country’s largest landowners as well as corporate producers and suppliers:

  • Wellcome Trust
  • Farmcare
  • Oxbridge Colleges including Christ Church, Oxford and Trinity College, Cambridge
  • Univeg
  • Produce World
  • Tate & Lyle
  • Bidvest Fresh Limited
  • Northumbrian Water Ltd
  • Adnams PLC
  • QV Foods
  • McDonalds
  • Accolade Wines
  • Many of the country's largest private landed estates

What our clients and others say about us  

  • “Market-leading practice handling agricultural transactions. Boasts an enviable client list …” – Chambers UK 2015
  • “Clients appreciate “highly competitive, fast-moving advice” from Craig Hodgson’s team” – Legal 500 2015
  • “Thank you for your incredible support, counsel and help throughout … Your greatest influence was bringing pragmatism to the army of advisors associated with the deal. In addition your advice was significant in getting my team across the line.” – Giles Turrell, The Weetabix Food Company
  • Jessica Burt of Mills & Reeve “focuses her practice on food product regulatory law. Sources appreciate her dedication to her field, noting that “she’s very active in keeping up to date with food law”.” – Chambers and Partners 2015
  • “We needed this transaction completed quickly for commercial reasons. Our Mills & Reeve team drove the deal to completion within the tight deadline. All members of the team provided a fast turn around on their work, and the availability and responsiveness was impressive yet again.” Senior Manager, East Anglian Pigs Limited.
  • “Thank you very much for your hard work on the recent … acquisition. …We appreciate the long and often unsociable hours which were put in to get through the volume of work in a tight timescale and the resulting summaries were always clear and concise. You highlighted the key issues and gave sensible, commercial, pragmatic advice which is always much appreciated in the midst of a busy often pressured environment.” – Graham Edwards, Director (Family office of a leading Food and Agribusiness).

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Agriculture and estates
Agriculture and estates