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FDF Convention 2020

FDF Member £250.00 (Saving £25)

Non Member £275.00

All prices exclude VAT.


Food and drink, fit for the 2020's

Please note due to the current Covid-19 situation the below agenda is subject to change at short notice.

Food and drink producers have faced their most challenging period yet - Brexit, sustainability, food waste, tighter margins and increased legislation has created a sector where only the best thrive and survive.

Yet as we move into the 2020s, the opportunities are huge. Join colleagues, peers and leading figures from the food and drink industry, as this year's FDF Convention looks at how food and drink companies get fit for the next decade.

Mike Stones, journalist and editor, will chair the day and lead our special guests through these key topics:

  • Food & Drink fit for the 2020s
  • Sustainable Healthy Diets
  • Technology, Engineering and Innovation in the next decade
  • Sustainability - Plastic, Packaging, Food Waste
  • Climate & Carbon
  • The Future of Food Shopping

Confirmed speakers:

  • Henry Dimbleby, Lead non-executive director, Defra; Co-founder of Leon Restaurants; Co-founder and Director of the Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • The Rt. Hon John Gummer, Lord Deben
  • Keith Thornhill, Head of Food & Beverage - UK and Ireland, Siemens Digital Factory
  • Helen Bowdren, Partner, Environment and Safety Team, Dentons
  • Helen Munday, Chief Scientific Officer, FDF and IFST President
  • Barbara Bray MBE, Independent Registered Nutritionist and Food Safety consultant
  • Dr Ian Campbell, Interim Executive Chair, Innovate UK
  • Dr Martin Howarth, Director of the National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering (NCEFE), Sheffield Hallam University
  • Patrick Holden CBE, Founder and Chief Executive, The Sustainable Food Trust
  • Nick Brown, Head of Sustainability, Coca-Cola European Partners, Great Britain
  • Ben Pearman, VP, Managing Director, General Mills Northern Europe

More speakers to be announced in due course.

Attendees will have the opportunity to quiz our special guests throughout all the sessions via the FDF interactive Q&A app

Save the date!

Co-Headline Sponsor

Speaker Profiles:

Henry Dimbleby
Lead Non-Executive Director, Defra

Henry Dimbleby is the lead Non-Executive Director at the UK Government Department for Environment, Food, and Rural Affairs (Defra), where he has been commissioned to create the first National Food Strategy for England in 75 years.

Henry started his career as a commis chef with Michelin-starred chef, Bruno Loubet, before joining national newspaper The Daily Telegraph, as a journalist. From there he moved to Bain & Company (1995-2002) where he worked as a strategy consultant, advising businesses on performance improvement and organisational design. During his time working for Bain, Henry spent a year living in Tokyo advising Nippon Telecom on business transformation.

After leaving management consultancy Henry Dimbleby co-founded the highly successful Leon restaurant chain, before going on to become Director of London Union, which runs some of London's most vibrant street food markets. He was a co-founder of the Sustainable Restaurant Association and co-authored The School Food Plan (2013) for the UK Government, which set out actions to transform what children eat in schools and how they learn about food. The School Food Plan was a blueprint for improving school food and food education in Britain. It has overseen, among other changes, the introduction of cookery lessons for all children up to the age of 14, universal free school meals for infants, and new standards for the food served to children in schools.

In 2018, alongside his work for the UK Government, Henry co-founded Chefs in Schools, a charity bringing the expertise of professional chefs into school kitchens with a mission to improve the health of children through better eating and food education.

Helen Munday
Chief Scientific Officer, FDF

Helen Munday is the Food and Drink Federation's Chief Scientific Officer. Helen is accountable for the diverse food safety and science policy briefs, but also has responsibility for sustainability and innovation and contributes to health and wellbeing policy.

Helen has a wealth of experience of the food and drink sector. Helen started her career with Mars Petcare where she spent 20 years in various roles including nutrition research, product development and innovation processes.

Helen has also held the position of Director of Scientific and Regulatory Affairs for Coca-Cola and worked as Lead Technologist in AgriFood at InnovateUK.

Helen is President (2020 - 23) and a Fellow of the Institute of Food Science and Technology, and is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry, and a Registered Nutritionist. With her qualifications in Agricultural and Meat Science, together with her vast business experience, Helen has a broad and deep knowledge across the entire AgriFood chain.

Patrick Holden CBE
Founder and Chief Executive of the Sustainable Food Trust

Patrick Holden is founder and chief executive of the Sustainable Food Trust, an organisation working internationally to accelerate the transition towards more sustainable food systems. Between 1995 and 2010 he was director of the Soil Association, during which time he pioneered the development of UK and international organic standards, policy incentives for organic production and the organic market.

His policy advocacy is underpinned by his practical experience in agriculture on his 100 hectare holding, now the longest established organic dairy farm in Wales, where he produces a raw milk cheddar style cheese from his 80 native Ayrshire cows.

Patrick is a frequent broadcaster and speaker, was awarded the CBE for services to organic farming in 2005 and an Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.

Dr Ian Campbell
Interim Executive Chair, Innovate UK

Dr Ian Campbell was appointed Interim Executive Chair of Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency, in May 2018, having joined as Director for Health and Life Sciences in 2016. Ian is an experienced executive in life sciences and the diagnostics sector. He served as Chief Executive of Arquer Diagnostics, a company developing and commercialising immunoassay tests for cancers of the urinogenitary tract.

Previously he served as Chief Executive of Imperial College spin-out company Molecular Vision, developing a disposable, quantitative point-of-care diagnostic platform, before being acquired by Abingdon Health in 2012. Ian has also served as Commercial Director with Bespak Europe. Ian has a strong scientific background, gaining his PhD at the University of Glasgow.

Nick Brown
Head of Sustainability, Coca-Cola European Partners, Great Britain

Nick Brown is Head of Sustainability for Coca-Cola European Partners in Great Britain. The role has the objective of leading the company's local commitments on Sustainable Packaging, Community Programmes, Water use, Energy & Climate Change and Sustainable Sourcing.

CCEP has long had a commitment to set the standard for Sustainability in Fast Moving Consumer Goods and is leading specifically on Sustainable Packaging and how businesses can be a force for good in their Communities.

Key focus areas include how to use new policy vehicles such as Deposit Return Schemes and Extended Producer Responsibility Schemes to step change the collection and recycling of packaging and how the skills of businesses can be used to improve the chances of young people in Society.

Nick has had a number of roles in Operational & Commercial functions at CCEP driving change and innovation through the organisation.

Keith Thornhill
Head of Food & Beverage - UK and Ireland, Siemens Digital Factory

Keith Thornhill started his career completing an apprenticeship with British Rail Engineering Ltd in Crewe and entered the automation industry in 1986 as an internal sales engineer. After key account management and business manager roles, Keith joined Siemens in 2001 as a business development manager.

Keith's career has mainly been focused on encouraging innovation for UK packaging machinery manufactures and latterly as Head of Siemens Food and Beverage Automation business is identifying the operational efficiency and production flexibility benefits that Integrated automation technology and the Digital enterprise will deliver to food and beverage manufacturers.

Keith's Industry knowledge and experience was recently rewarded as he became the Chairman of the Industry Advisory Board for the National Centre of excellence for Food Engineering. He is also a member of the IMechE Food and Drink committee.

Ben Pearman
VP, Managing Director – General Mills Northern Europe

Ben has served as VP, Managing Director for General Mills Northern Europe since April 2017.

Ben joined General Mills in 2010 as Regional Marketing Director, Europe, Middle East & North Africa, after which he moved to Canada as the Managing Director of Liberté. He was promoted to Vice President, Yogurt in 2014, where he led Liberté to be the fastest growing yogurt brand in Canada, growing over 4ppt of share in 4 years.

Over the last two years, the UK business has enjoyed strong levels of growth and in 2018 was the fastest growing food company in the UK.

Prior to General Mills, Ben spent over 15 years in marketing and commercial roles at Nestle, Unilever, Heinz and Birds Eye, working in the UK and across Europe.

Ben currently serves as a member of the President's Committee of the UK's Food & Drink Federation.

Organiser: Craig Hannington, 02074207126, craig.hannington@fdf.org.uk