20 May 2021

09:45 - 17:00

£ Free for members

The FDF Convention is the place to be to hear about the big issues affecting the food and drink industry! Join us and our expert speakers for this virtual event exploring four key issues:

  • How the UK’s independent trade policy can give UK food and drink manufacturers the edge
  • Exploring the challenges for SMEs and ‘help to grow’
  • The route to Net Zero
  • The next big thing! Food innovation – how to get it right

FDF members - this event is free to FDF members, please register here

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Keynote Speakers:

  • The Rt Hon George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
  • Luke Pollard MP Shadow DEFRA, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
  • Emily Miles, Chief Executive, Food Standards Agency (FSA)


9.45am: Event to start - Speech from FDF CEO Ian Wright 


10.00am: Keynote speech and live Q&A with The Rt Hon George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs


10.20am: Keynote speech from Emily Miles, Chief Executive, Food Standards Agency (FSA) 


10.25am: How the UK’s independent trade policy can give UK food and drink manufacturers the edge

The aim of this session is to have a forward look at the opportunities of the UK’s independent trade policy we might expect to see in the short term.


  • Rupert Daniels, Director of the Creative, Lifestyle and Learning team, DIT
  • Kyle Naish, Counsellor (Trade and Economic), Australian High Commission
  • Emily Rees, Economist and Managing Director, Trade Strategies (consultancy)
  • Clodagh Sherrard, Director, Levercliff
  • Nicki Hunt, Director of Membership and Commercial Engagement, FDF (chair)

11.25am: 20 Minute Break


11.45am: Exploring the challenges for SMEs and ‘help to grow’

Exploring the challenges for SMEs that would align well with the recent budget announcements on ‘Help to Grow’ (management and digital)


  • Mike Wilson, Chief Automation Officer, MTC
  • Jason Murphy, Director of Operations, The University of Sheffield AMRC Cymru
  • Janet Bellamy, Associate Professor of Digitalisation and Food Processing, Senior Lecturer and Consultant for Cotemaco, UEZ and GLAFIP, National Centre for Food Manufacturing, University of Lincoln
  • Trefor Griffith, Head of Food & Beverage, Grant Thornton
  • Mark Corbett, Innovation and Skills Policy Manager, FDF (chair)

12.45pm: 40 Minute Lunch Break


1.30pm: The next big thing! Food innovation - how to get it right

Food and drink is a highly innovative and fast moving market. Some food fads are short lived, whereas others can be the start of long term trends both in the UK and other markets. Responding to the next new thing can be a great opportunity for growth, but getting it wrong can be costly. Our expert panel will examine what you should consider and how to sidestep the pitfalls


  • Carole Bingley, Technical Specialist, RSSL
  • Dr Mark J. Tallon, LL.M Ph.D, Managing Director, Legal Foods Ltd
  • Jenny Arthur, Head of Nutrition and Membership, Leatherhead Research Ltd
  • Kate Halliwell, Chief Scientific Officer, FDF (chair)

2.30pm: 25 Minute Break


3.00pm: The route to Net Zero

The UN Climate Change Conference COP26 takes place in Glasgow in November. This discussion will explore the role of UK food and drink manufacturing in working towards Net Zero, and the need to work with all stakeholders across the farm-to-fork supply chain. The panel will look at sector progress and how organisations can tackle the challenges ahead and where more thinking needs to be done.


  • Lee Sheppard, Director of Corporate Affairs and Policy, apetito
  • Karen Fisher, Special Advisor, WRAP
  • Rishi Madlani, Head of Sustainable Finance, Natwest
  • Paul Graham, Managing Director, Britvic PLC
  • Adam Wray Summerson, Chartered Engineer, Clarke Energy
  • Emma Piercy, Head of Climate Change & Energy Policy (chair)


4.00pm: 20 Minute Break


4.20pm: Keynote speech followed by live interview with Luke Pollard MP Shadow DEFRA, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport


5.00pm: Event to close 


Each panel session will run for approximately 60 minutes and will have a live Q&A.

Please note that timings for this event are approximate and are subject to change.

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Speaker Profiles: 

Carole Bingley, Technical Specialist, RSSL

Carole is a Technical Specialist working in RSSL’s Product and Ingredient Innovation Team. During her time with RSSL, Carole has undertaken ingredient evaluation and product development projects on a contract basis for clients in different food industry sectors. 

A Food Science graduate from Reading University, with a Master’s degree in Nutritional Medicine from Surrey University, Carole has over 25 years’ experience in the food industry. This vast experience includes developing dairy and vegan meat alternatives based on plant proteins as well as working with a wide range of sweeteners and bulking agents across many food categories.

Adam Wray-Summerson, Chartered Engineer, Clarke Energy

Adam Wray-Summerson is a Chartered Engineer with a passion for energy efficiency and sustainability.

Adam graduated with a master’s degree in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Liverpool in 2008 before embarking on his career with Clarke Energy. Adam has held roles, focussed on application design, technical sales, project development and a secondment to the United States in 2018 as Sales Director.

At Clarke he has helped develop specialist solutions in power generation applications throughout the UK, Ireland, United States and Africa.

Dr Mark J. Tallon, LL.M Ph.D, Managing Director, Legal Foods Ltd

Dr Tallon holds a doctorate in nutritional biochemistry and master’s degrees in food and European law. He is chartered scientist and registered nutritionist with over 200 publications in trade and peer preview and holds followships with the Royal Society of Biology, Royal Society of Medicine and the Institute of Food Science and Technology.

He is past chair and founder of the Food Law group of the Institute of Food Science and Technology and vice-chair of European Specialist Sports Nutrition Alliance (ESSNA). His current role is as Managing Partner of the Legal Products Group® a European law consultancy encompassing the firms Legal Foods® and Legal Cosmetics® . The  Legal Products Group®  represent food and cosmetics businesses and trade associations in all aspects of European food law with specific expertise in the preparation of health claim submissions, product labelling, enforcement defence, novel food applications, cosmetic safety assessments. In addition to his management roles he is a registered and trained expert witness with experience of being instructed by European and US law firms regarding to the commercial litigation of food companies. In his spare time Dr Tallon is an avid Ironman Triathlete and marathon runner.

The Rt Hon George Eustice MP, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

George Eustice was appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 13 February 2020.

He was previously Minister of State at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) from 11 May 2015 to 13 February 2020.

He was elected as the Conservative MP for Camborne and Redruth in 2010.

Luke Pollard MP Shadow DEFRA, Labour MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport

Luke Pollard was elected as the Labour and Co-operative Member of Parliament for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport in June 2017, and re-elected in 2019. Luke was born and lives in Plymouth and is the first MP to be born in Plymouth since Michael Foot represented the city in 1945.

After winning the seat from the Conservatives, he became a member of the Transport Select Committee.  Luke has served many roles on Labour’s Shadow Environment Team, as PPS to former Shadow Environment Secretary Sue Hayman, and as the Shadow Minister for Fishing, Water, Coastal Communities. He was promoted to Shadow Environment Secretary himself in January 2020

Luke is an energetic fighter for Plymouth and the far south west to get its fair share of funding from Westminster, as well as fighting for fishing and farming across the country. Luke spoke over 200 times in the House of Commons in his first two years and runs a number of campaigns from transport to defence, environment to refugees.

Rupert Daniels, Director of the Creative, Lifestyle and Learning team, DIT

As Director of the Creative, Lifestyle and Learning team at DIT, Rupert is responsible for helping UK organisations grow globally by developing their exports and attracting inward investment. His portfolio covers diverse sectors from sports, film, and television, to music, gaming, fashion, food & drink, and education. He works with teams across Government and the international network to promote international trade, drive export growth and secure investment in UK companies from overseas.

Rupert was previously Global Marketing Director at Cambridge University Press, and held senior roles at Arsenal F.C. and FIFA. He has over 20 years of global experience across, sales, marketing, media, digital, data and branding.

Clodagh Sherrard, Director, Levercliff Associates

Clodagh is a director of Levercliff Associates, where she has worked for just short of 20 years.  With an MA in Marketing Clodagh specialises in working with companies to develop growth strategies through the use of market and consumer insight.  Since joining Levercliff, Clodagh has worked with 100’s of companies throughout the UK and Ireland, helping them to win new listings, launch new products, grow market share and enter new markets.  In addition, Clodagh regularly manages the delivery of long term strategic projects for Government agencies such as Bord Bia, The Irish Food Board, Welsh Government Food Division and Scotland Food & Drink.

Rishi Madlani, Head of Sustainable Finance and Just Transition, NatWest Group

Rishi is Head of Sustainable Finance and Just Transition for NatWest Group in the Group’s Climate Centre of Excellence. His and team’s work encompasses the bank’s activities supporting the transition to a lower carbon economy. The bank has set a £20bn funding and financing target to support climate and sustainable finance.

Outside the office Rishi is Chair of the London Borough of Camden Pension Committee. The fund is a Local Government Pension Scheme and won a LAPF Award for its innovative approach to Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations.

Rishi also serves on the boards of the UK Sustainable Investment & Finance Association and RenewableUK.

Emily Rees, Managing Director, Trade Strategies

Emily Rees is Managing Director of Trade Strategies, a trade advisory that provides support to governments, businesses and civil society organisations on international trade policy. A Franco-British national with over fifteen years’ experience in economic diplomacy and EU regulatory affairs, she has led Brazil’s trade and investment agency relations with the European Union and served as Deputy Trade Attaché of France to Brazil.

Emily is also a Senior Fellow at the European Centre for International Political Economy in Brussels and a regular guest lecturer in trade, diplomacy and the European Union. With a specialisation in agricultural and food trade, she served on the UK's Trade and Agriculture Commission and her policy analyses are regularly featured in the media, including The Economist, The Financial Times and BBC.

Mike Wilson M.Sc B.Sc, Chief Automation Officer, MTC

Mike Wilson has over 35 years of experience in the application of automation to manufacturing across a broad range of industry sectors and is widely recognised as one of the leading authorities on the application of industrial robot systems in the UK.

Mike is Chief Automation Officer at the Manufacturing Technology Centre, leading the drive to increase the adoption of automation in UK manufacturing. He is also Chairman of the British Automation and Robot Association, a Director of the Manufacturing Technologies Association and has previously been Chairman of the International Federation of Robotics. His book “Implementation of Robot Systems” was published in 2014.

Jason Murphy, Director of Operations, The University of Sheffield AMRC Cymru

A chartered engineer who joined AMRC/Cymru in 2018 after spending 10 years in Scotland as a Director for a leading exporter of engineering solutions to the energy sector.

Jason graduated from Sheffield University with a honours degree in mechanical engineering (awarded the IMechE prize for outstanding work) and a masters degree in business management. Immediately after his degree studies, he worked for Professor Keith Ridgway (who founded the AMRC) before embarking on a career as a senior engineer on design projects for some of the largest marine, oil & gas and nuclear projects around the globe (working extensively in the USA, Central America, Europe and Africa).

Jason and Andrew Silcox (AMRC/Cymru co-director) have recruited a highly talented and skilled team. This team will support Welsh manufacturing businesses across a diverse range of sectors in a drive to make ‘High Value’ the norm. Jason is incredibly excited by the challenges ahead.

Paul Graham, Managing Director, Britvic PLC

Paul Graham is the Managing Director for Britvic in Great Britain, having held this position since 2012. Throughout the last eight years he has played a pivotal role in business-shaping milestones, including the commitment to move to 100% recycled PET bottles, and navigating Great Britain’s number one provider of branded still soft drinks through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prior to Britvic, he worked in a range of commercial roles across all trade channels at both Mars Confectionery and United Biscuits, where he developed his passion for FMCG. Paul holds a degree in Management Sciences from The University of Manchester.

Paul’s involvement within the soft drinks industry led to him being elected as Vice President of the British Soft Drinks Association in 2020.

Jenny Arthur, Head of Nutrition and Membership, Leatherhead Research Ltd

Jenny is a Marketer and Nutritionist, she has a degree in Marketing and worked for a range of private sector companies before managing the Department of Health’s Nutrition programme. After completing an MSc in Public Health Nutrition Jenny worked for Marks and Spencer as their Health and Wellbeing Marketer before becoming the Company Nutritionist. Prior to joining Leatherhead in 2014 Jenny ran her own Marketing and Nutrition Consultancy developing health and nutrition strategies; with clients including a range of retailers and food manufacturers.

Jenny has been at Leatherhead for over 6 years, initially as the Strategic Insight Manager, looking into market and product trends data as well as qualitative research techniques. In addition, Jenny managed Applied Research, a team of Sensory scientists developing new Sensory methodologies. In June 2015 Jenny was appointed Head of Nutrition to drive the nutrition and health agenda within Leatherhead. Jenny  repositioned the Leatherhead Nutrition offering to focus more on Nutrition Intelligence desk-based research and Glycaemic Index/Response studies. The following year Jenny added the Product Development team to her portfolio with the aim of integrating the Nutrition and Product Development teams, to provide a more cohesive approach and integrated solutions for clients. In August 2017 Jenny was asked to head up the membership team to embed membership across the Leatherhead business working closely with the Science, Consumer and Sensory and Regulatory teams to work collaboratively to solve clients’ needs.

Lee Sheppard, Director of Corporate Affairs and Policy, apetito

Lee is a passionate advocate of the importance of food in enhancing health and well-being, having worked in the Food industry for over 25 years.

Having started his career as an Accountant, he has extensive experience in Commercial Operations across manufacturing and foodservice and has successfully developed businesses in the care home sector and more recently in franchising, as Operations Director of Wiltshire Farm Foods.

Lee is an active contributor to the Malnutrition Task Force, an independent group of experts united to address avoidable and preventable malnutrition in the elderly and chairs the Sustainability, Food Waste and Procurement Standards group as part of the Hospital Food Review. Over the past year he has been responsible for shaping apetito’s wider ethical and sustainable strategy including their decarbonisation journey.


Trefor Griffith, Head of Consumer and Food and Beverage, Grant Thornton

Trefor joined Grant Thornton in 1998. As well as heading up the Consumer and Food and Beverage sectors nationally across all of our service lines, Trefor also leads the Corporate Finance team focussed on those sectors overseeing M&A engagements and providing strategic input into deal negotiation. He has experience in a range of corporate finance transactions including M&A, company sales, MBOs and fundraisings

Deals completed include:

  • Sale of Promise Gluten Free, a gluten free bread manufacturer, to Mayfair Equity Partners
  • The sale of David Berryman Holdings Ltd to the Hut Group
  • The sale of Jas Bowman to Solina
  • The sale of Westbridge Food Group to CP Foods
  • The acquisition of Bart Spices Group by Fuchs Gruppe
  • The sale of Crown Chicken to Cranswick
  • The sale of Higher Nature to Tree of Life
  • The partial sale of St Pierre Group to BGF


Options Non-members Members Saving
(tickets available until 20/05/2021)
£54.00 - £54

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