The fourth annual UK Fruit & Vegetable Congress is only two weeks away, and offers a fascinating mix of politics, business, retail and foodservice at a time of instability and change in the industry.
The event, supported by headline sponsor NFU, takes place at The Belfry on 4 May. It is preceded by a complimentary social networking evening at the same venue the night before, while an optional golf package offers delegates the chance to try their hand at the challenging PGA National course.
The conference kicks of with a politics and business session featuring NFU president Meurig Raymond and Raj Kandola from the Birmingham Chambers of Commerce, where the impact on business of the Brexit negotiations, general election and cost increases will be up for discussion.
Following a networking break the attention then switches to retail, with Kantar Worldpanel’s consumer insight director Chris Cowan outlining the key trends and developments across the UK grocery market. He is followed by Fiona Clayton, the category development planner for protein and produce at the Co-op, who will look at the supermarket’s attempts to boost fresh produce consumption and what they are looking for from suppliers.
Chris and Fiona will be joined on stage by former Waitrose buyer Amy Lance, who joins the Hello Fresh technical team in May, to take questions and discuss the changing retail scene.
An interactive debate leads us into lunch, with four leading figures debating the topic ‘Shaping the future for UK horticulture.’ They are Nick Marston, MD of Berry Gardens; Anna Taylor, executive director of the Food Foundation; Jack Ward, CEO of British Growers; and Ali Capper, chair of the NFU Horticulture & Potatoes Board. Delegates will have the opportunity to put their questions both in person or via mobile technology.
After a networking lunch at the FPJ Live Expo, delegates will take part in a unique Marketing Masterclass, led by Storm Strategy MD Tunde Daczo and Zest the Agency directors Roger Williams and 18-year-old entrepreneur Ben Towers. This interactive event will focus on developing your b2b brand, Customer 4.0 and understanding the next generation of consumers.
A short break follows, before the spotlight turns to the fascinating markets and catering scene. Darren Henaghan, MD of Borough Market, will outline opportunities in the burgeoning markets sector, while Bidfresh CEO Stephen Oswald will discuss fresh food growth in his business and the wider catering market.
The day ends with a special event – an exclusive on-stage interview with Chris Mack in discussion with FPJ editor Michael Barker. Mack, chairman of leading fresh produce supplier Fresca Group, will be discussing the evolution of his company, his views on the fresh produce market and what is next for himself and his business.
To register, visit www.fpjlive.com, with significant discounts available for bookings of two or more people.