Trade body heads, industry leaders, top CEOs and sustainability specialists all on the bill at Festival of Fresh 2024

Festival of Fresh 2024 is preparing to welcome a hard-hitting line-up of speakers to FPJ’s summer festival on 13 June.

Martin Emmett (NFU), Jack Ward (British Growers Association), Nick Marston, (British Berry Growers), Nigel Jenney (Fresh Produce Consortium), Ali Capper (British Apples & Pears), and Tim O’Malley (Nationwide Produce) are among the highlights.

The event takes place on Thursday 13 June at Evesham United Football Club – just down the road from the recently expanded depot of 2024 host, Nationwide Produce. 

With an eye on current trends and future developments, speakers on the Inspiration Stage assess the state of play in the UK fresh produce industry and discuss what it takes to thrive at a difficult time for the sector.

Through a combination of panels, interviews and presentations, our speakers get to grips with today’s challenges. And we explore opportunities to succeed with agile production, innovative marketing, and sustainable processes.

Production and trade session

After registration and welcome refreshments, the opening session on ‘Production and trade’ kicks off at 9.30am.

Our industry leaders panel includes Martin Emmett (NFU), Jack Ward (British Growers Association), Nick Marston, (British Berry Growers), and Nigel Jenney (Fresh Produce Consortium).

With a general election approaching, they come together to discuss the hot topics in production and trade – from inflation to border checks, labour, government support, and R&D.

Following this, Dirk Hoffmann of DP World brings us up to speed with the latest disruption at UK ports and what is being done to make logistics more efficient and sustainable.

Retail, foodservice and marketing session

In the ‘Retail, foodservice and marketing’ session after the morning coffee break, we reveal the latest trends, challenges and opportunities in fruit and vegetable supply.

Leading voices in retail, foodservice, marketing and branding discuss everything from value chain negotiations, to campaigns to get more British produce on supermarket shelves.

There are one-to-one interviews with Ali Capper (British Apples & Pears), Tim O’Malley (Nationwide Produce), and Richard Walker (Sysco Fresh Direct), before analysis of the latest retail trends for Kantar’s Laura Fry.

Then a special panel discussion explores opportunities for fresh produce brands in the UK and how to add value through effective branding and marketing. Lorraine Fountain and Kyla Flynn of Coregeo are joined by John Heginbottom (Albert Bartlett) and Naomi Farmer (Brandbloom).

Sustainability session

After lunch and the presentation of the Festival of Fresh Awards, the sustainability session features key players in environmental agriculture, precision farming, organic production, and compliance.

Kate Bannister of the NFU takes stock of the industry’s progress towards Net Zero, while Ed Ayton of Abel & Cole discusses the benefits of B Corp certification and the retailer’s sustainability strategy.

David Sanclement of The Summer Berry Company brings us up to speed with the producer’s investment in year-round British strawberry production. And Richard Bonn (Aethr Associates) gives a presentation on how businesses can reduce their environmental impact while also mitigating their risk from climate change.

There will also be a one-on-one interview with a member of the core team at trailblazing vertical farming business Jones Food Company. Speaker to be confirmed.

In addition, a handful of separate talks and showcases take place on exhibitors’ stands throughout the day, including from food manufacturing automation firm OAL.