Over 100 senior representatives from the agricultural and food sector, including businesses, universities, sector bodies and government agencies will come together to mark a year since the launch of the Leading Food 4.0 report.

The National Centre for Universities and Business Food Summit, sponsored by FDF (The Food and Drink Federation) celebrates a year of progress and achievement, and looks to the future of the agri-food industry.

Speakers include

  • George Eustice, MP Minister of State for Farming, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)
  • Lord Curry of Kirkharle
  • Mr Justin King, former CEO, Sainsbury’s
  • Professor Quintin McKellar, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire
  • Mr Chris Stott, Partner, KPMG
  • Mr Ian Wright, Director General, FDF

The Leading Food 4.0 Summit will be action-focused with dedicated workshops to tackle innovation and talent challenges. The purpose is to create an agenda for change in the coming years that unites the agri-food industry under one sector, and one voice.

The National Centre for Universities and Business will be demonstrating the Food 4.0 Hub; a recommendation from the Food 4.0 report, co-ordinating bringing industry and universities together to create a single portal that links to all other sub-sector sites.

Upon launch, the Food 4.0 Hub will be a first stage prototype, as the National Centre looks to seek support to progress the project as a single port of call for careers advice, courses, work experience offers, inspiration, and advice.

The National Centre’s Chief Executive, David Docherty said: ‘The Hub will also offer trusted information, advice and guidance to food businesses looking to grow the value of their relationship with universities, and for universities wishing to discover the research needs of businesses’.

Initially the hub will be hosted on the National Centre’s website and will act as one voice for the industry. There are many great initiatives that already exist, and the Hub will signpost interested parties to these and konfer, the National Centre’s digital innovation brokerage tool.

Ian Wright, Director General of the Food and Drink Federation, said: ‘This event comes at a significant time for our industry as we pursue opportunities to make food and drink more globally competitive in line with Government’s renewed focus on the longstanding challenge of productivity. We know that having a strong talent pool is key to business improvement and are proud to be supporting NCUB in tackling the ongoing challenges we face around innovation, investment in technology and growing the talent pipeline.

‘Building closer relationships with government and the education sector are important priorities for FDF as our industry constantly looks to bridge the research gap and develop a strong talent pool for the future, as we can only maximise the benefit of new technology if we invest at the same time in the people who are using it.

‘We look forward to future collaborations in addressing such issues and working with all stakeholders to build a stronger, more skilled, more innovative food and drink industry.’

Notes to editors

About the National Centre for Universities and Business

The National Centre develops, supports and promotes world-class collaboration between universities and business across the UK. A National Centre Task Force brings together leaders from universities, government and business to focus on a particular economic sector or issue. We work together to identify problems, and examine issues in depth.

Food 4.0 grew as a project from the National Centre’s Food Economy Task Force which recognised the vital importance of the food economy for the UK and the world.

Co-chaired by Justin King, then Chief Executive of Sainsbury’s and Quintin McKellar, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire and supported by a Steering Group of senior figures from across industry, the civil service and academia. The Task Force sought to answer:

How can the UK integrate collaboration between business, higher education and other research institutions to develop a more competitive and sustainable UK agri-food sector?”

Representatives from business, universities and the civil service conducted extensive research and consultation around three themes:

(i) Developing the right graduate and research talent – now and for the future
(ii) Science and translation and the race to the top in global innovation
(iii) Use of land, resources and pull through into innovation

The final report Leading Food 4.0 can be found here with a summary here.

About FDF
The Food and Drink Federation (FDF) is the voice of the UK food and drink industry, the largest manufacturing sector in the country. We account for 16% of the total manufacturing sector by turnover and employ around 400,000 people in the UK across 6,620 businesses.

We are an incredibly diverse sector, speaking on behalf of global brands and thriving small businesses. We help our members operate in an appropriately regulated marketplace to maximise their competitiveness. We communicate our industry’s values and concerns to Government, regulators, consumers and the media. We also work in partnership with key players in the food chain to ensure our food is safe and that consumers can have trust in it.

For further information:

Shivaun Meehan
Senior Manager, Communications and engagements
National Centre for Universities and Business
T: +44 (0)20 7383 8193 E: Shivaun.meehan@ncub.co.uk

James Lenney
Digital Communications Officer
National Centre for Universities and Business
T: +44 (0)20 7383 8185 E: James.lenney@ncub.co.uk

Alexandra Crisp
Media & Campaigns Officer
Food and Drink Federation
T: +44 (0) 20 7420 7120 M: +44 (0) 7946 340 998 E: Alexandra.Crisp@fdf.org.uk