08 March 2022

08:30 - 10:30

6th Floor 10 Bloomsbury Way, LONDON, United Kingdom, WC1A 2SL

Making technology accessible – celebrating the launch of the FDF Innovation Gateway

The UK has world-leading experts in automation and digital technology that are focussed on supporting food and drink businesses with their challenges around increasing productivity, reducing waste and improving sustainability. The demand for this support is there and the support is available through the UK Catapult Network and universities, however, businesses often do not know who or where to approach.

Registration for this event is now closed

The FDF has brought together these experts into a single gateway that will match food and drink businesses with the centre of expertise best equipped to support them with their technical challenge. A simple online portal will connect businesses with the experts and open-up a full suite of free and subsidised support including free line walks, process mapping, project planning and match funding.

Join Steve Barton, Chair of the FDF Technology Forum, to celebrate this collaborative project, explore the opportunities that technology adoption can offer and hear some of the success stories from businesses that have accessed support.


08:30 - 09:00: Arrivals and registration

09:00 - 09:05: Welcome address, Karen Betts, Chief Executive, Food and Drink Federation (FDF)

09:05 - 09:10: Sponsor address from Tork on data-driven cleaning. With Dave Lightfoot, Industrial Account Manager and Matthew Medhurst, UK Sales Manager for Industry 

09:10 - 09:30: Panel Discussion: Making Technology Accessible

  • Steve Barton, Chair of the FDF Technology Forum and Strategic Projects Director, AB Foods
  • Mike Wilson, Chief Automation Officer, MTC and Food and Drink lead at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult
  • Amanda Johnston, Innovation Manager at the National Centre for Excellence in Food Engineering, Sheffield Hallam University
  • Steve West, Managing Director, The Pudding Compartment

09:30 - 09:45: Q&A

09:45 - 10:30: Networking opportunity

10:30: Event finishes 


Speaker Profiles:

Steve Barton, Strategic Project Director, ABF Grocery Group

Working across ABF businesses on key non-capital projects, and utilising over 25 years of senior general management experience in the food industry.


Mike Wilson M.Sc B.Sc, Chief Automation Officer, Manufacturing Technology Centre

Mike is leading the drive to increase the adoption of automation in UK manufacturing. He is also past 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.

Steve West, Managing Director The Pudding Compartment

With over 30 years of experience in manufacturing in the UK and Australia, Steve has set up a number of businesses and has been in the food sector for 20 years and is passionate about developing SMEs to reach their potential.

Amanda Johnston, Innovation Manager, National Centre of Excellence for Food Engineering at Sheffield Hallam University

Amanda’s role within this research and innovation centre is to develop collaborative projects and partnerships which deliver sustainable innovations for the food and drink system and support sector competitiveness.  Having worked for blue chip food manufacturing businesses in management roles for around 10 years, she has worked in external engagement roles within the Higher Education sector for over 15 years and has been part of NCEFE since its launch in July 2014. 

Dave Lightfoot, Industrial Account Manager, Tork

With over 25 years of experience working within the food manufacturing sector, helping understand companies’ needs and finding the correct solutions they require in line with BRC audit requirements




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