FDF Convention 2020

Shaping the Future of Food & Drink


FDF Convention 2020 Day 1 – Session 1: Climate & Carbon Net Zero

This session explores the opportunities and challenges facing the food and drink manufacturing sector as the pace to decarbonise accelerates to net zero by 2050. The scope for reducing onsite emissions are discussed as well as strategies to look at wider supply chain emissions. The role of government policy and the regulatory framework are being examined, with a view to identifying the key policy asks the sector needs to see in the forthcoming Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy expected in Spring 2021.


  • Chair: Emma Piercy, Head of Climate Change & Energy Policy, FDF
  • Julie Gartside, European Operations Manager: Advisory Services - Carbon & Energy Management, SLR
  • Andrew Bright, Director, ITPEnergised
  • Karen Fisher, Special Advisor, WRAP
  • Adam Wray-Summerson, Chartered Engineer, Clarke Energy

FDF Convention 2020 Day 1 – Session 2: Sustainable Healthy Diets

The global food system is set to face unprecedented pressures over the coming decades. As part of this, a transition towards a more 'sustainable healthy diet' to improve the environmental impact of the food system is of growing interest to businesses, policy makers, NGOs and the public. Our expert panel will discuss the role of food and drink manufacturers to help deliver change, and perspectives on how this could be taken forward in the upcoming National Food Strategy.


  • Chair: Kate Halliwell, Head of UK Diet and Health Policy, FDF
  • Will Nicholson, Project lead – investor metrics, The Food Foundation
  • Dr Nikos Mavroudis, Associate Professor in Food Quality and Regulation in the Dept. of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading (on behalf of EIT Food)
  • Joe James, Senior Policy Adviser - National Food Strategy, Defra
  • Jenny Arthur, Head of Nutrition and Membership, Leatherhead Food Research

FDF Convention 2020 Day 1 – Session 3: Sustainability: Plastic and Packaging Update

Plastics and packaging and balancing safety and shelf life with environmental protection is manufacturers' next biggest concern* Our panel will be looking at this from the perspective of the producer, consumer and compliance and is sure to generate plenty of debate as we face into issues such as the single use plastics tax and whether Covid has set back progress on reducing plastic use.

  • Chair: David Bellamy, Senior Environment Policy Manager, FDF
  • Nick Brown, Sustainable Packaging Director- Coca-Cola European Partners, Great Britain
  • James Skidmore, Head of Consulting, Valpak
  • James Bull, Head of Packaging, Tesco

FDF Convention 2020 Day 2 – Session 1: Immediate Needs for an Automated and Digitised Future?

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.


  • 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

FDF Convention 2020 Day 2 – Session 2: After a difficult year for the sector, how can industry regain commercial ground in 2021?

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?


  • 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

FDF Convention 2020 Day 2 – Session 3: 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

Last reviewed: 07 Dec 2020