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FDF Virtual Convention 2020 - Day Two

Please note pricing is charged per day. Registration will gain you access to Day Two only. To attend Day One of the Convention please register and pay separately here.

FDF Member £30.00 (Saving £20)

Non Member £50.00

All prices exclude VAT.


There’s never a dull moment in the food and drink sector and sadly we haven’t been able to meet together to discuss our challenges in person. But we are delighted to announce a new two day FDF Convention taking place virtually across 1st – 2nd December 2020.

Covid-19 has been the main focus for many producers since March and there is still much to be decided around the end of the EU transition period shortly. Yet our 2020 member survey shows that aside from Covid and Brexit there are still many issues challenging you.  To help inject some much-needed clarity we are bringing together expert panels across two days to discuss the key topics from their perspectives and answer your questions. 

In case you are feeling digital event fatigue, we have arranged the sessions so that you can drop in and out of panels across the course of the event. As ever, we will be assembling a strong line-up of experts with both days introduced by FDF Chief Executive Ian Wright. Each hour long discussion will be structured with plenty of time for a moderated Q&A.

Join us on Wednesday 2 December for Day Two focusing on; The Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector:  Immediate Needs for an Automated and Digitised Future?; Commercial Focus: How the industry can regain commercial ground in 2021; and the key issues for Scotland and Wales.


Day Two Agenda: Wednesday 2 December 2020

09:00 - 10:00: The Food and Drink Manufacturing Sector:  Immediate Needs for an Automated and Digitised Future?


  • Chair: Helen Munday, Chief Scientific Officer, FDF
  • Ben Ramsden, Food and Drink Sector Partnerships Manager, Digital Catapult
  • Keith Thornhill, Head of Food and Beverage UK and Ireland, Siemens Digital Industries
  • Mike Wilson, Chief Automation Officer, MTC 
  • Dan Rossek, Regional Marketing Manager, Omron

In 2020, interest in automation and digitisation has peaked in the sector, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis and the upcoming changes that will come from the UK’s final exit from the EU. The current climate has also shed light on the need to address weaknesses in the supply chain. Despite the fact that the sector responded well to the unexpected challenges, many businesses worry about how future shocks might affect them. The obvious answer seems to be the application of technology to achieve agile manufacturing systems and supply chains. But is the food and drink manufacturing sector ready for this shift? What are the more immediate on-site technical needs that the sector will need to fulfil? What challenges will the sector face in meeting these requirements?
Currently, the UK manufacturing sector ranks 22nd worldwide for robot units installed per 10,000 employees (85 units) and the food and drink sector is one of the least automated manufacturing sectors across the world (Source IFR). Our panellists will discuss the on-site technical requirements that will need to be met for the sector to be able to integrate into a digital supply chain, as well as how to build capabilities to address the immediate threat to labour shortages.


11:00 - 12:00 - Commercial Focus: After a difficult year for the sector, how can industry regain commercial ground in 2021?


  • Chair: Nicki Hunt, Director of Membership and Commercial Engagement, FDF
  • Ash Amirahmadi, Managing Director, Arla Foods
  • Kate Nicholls, Chief Executive Officer, UKHospitality
  • Clodagh Sherrard, Director, Levercliff

After a difficult commercial year for many businesses, particularly those in food service, what does 2021 hold for the sector?  How will retailers be re-positioning following a turbulent year, how can the food service sector recover and what does post-pandemic purchasing look like for the consumer? 


13:00 - 15:00 - Scotland & Wales Key Issues focus

Focus on Scotland and Wales - The Covid-19 pandemic exposed stark differences in its handling by the different countries of the UK. But what's next for their approach to all of the key issues impacting food and drink?  Our FDF Cymru Acting Director Pete Robertson will chair our panellists through these three key topics:

Political Landscape

  • Pete Robertson, Acting Director, FDF Cymru (chair)
  • Nerys Evans, Director, Deryn Public Affairs Consultancy
  • David Thomson, CEO, FDF Scotland

Brexit and Covid-19: Recovery approach and plans

  • Pete Robertson, Acting Director, FDF Cymru (chair)
  • Andy Richardson, Head of Corporate Affairs, Volac International Limited
  • David Thomson, CEO, FDF Scotland

Policy Evolutions: Health and Environment

  • Pete Robertson, Acting Director, FDF Cymru (chair)
  • Julie Byers, Public Affairs Manager, FDF
  • Cat Hay, Policy and Industry Liaison Manager, FDF

More speakers to be announced.

Agenda and timetable may be subject to change.The event is live and there will be opportunities for attendees to ask the panellists questions.


Day One of the FDF Convention takes place on Tuesday 1 December and will focus on Sustainable Healthy Diets, Climate & Carbon Net Zero, and Plastics & Packaging. Find out more and register here.

Proudly Co-Sponsored by:







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