Bird & Bird team up with Barclays and Grant Thornton for Food & Drink Forum

By Mark Abell


On 16 June 2015 the Bird & Bird Food & Beverage sector group organised and co-sponsored with Barclays Bank and accountants Grant Thornton the first UK Food & Drink Forum in London. It was attended by around one hundred members of senior management from a wide spectrum of Food and Beverage companies ranging from producers and agro science companies, through suppliers and processors to retailers and restaurants. The event was chaired by Adam Leyland, editor of The Grocer, the sector's leading trade magazine in the UK and comprised speakers from a range of Food & Beverage companies.

Topics and speakers

Adam Leyland opened the event with a speech outlining the challenges facing companies in the sector, particularly around the supply chain, innovation and international expansion and these themes were further elaborated by the speakers that followed.

Giles Turrell, CEO of The Weetabix Food Company, gave an interesting presentation on how his company approaches innovation and its role in ensuring that the company maintains its market leading position.

Chris Fung, Managing Director of the healthy eating chain Crussh, continued the theme of innovation by explaining how it was the strategic priority for his business.

Mark Escolme, Global Managing Director of dessert manufacturer Gü, gave an inspiring account of how his company has successfully implemented its ambitious international growth strategy.

Steve Barnes of the economics and commercial services company FDF then shared some hard facts and figures about the potential market for Food & Beverage companies looking at export markets. This was followed by a presentation by Rob Furse of UK Trade and Industry on how they can help UK Food & Beverage companies successfully tackle foreign markets.

Mark Ryder, a director of the Lamex Food Group, which specialises in poultry products, Andy Barnes, CFO of fruit product company Argent, Dan Aherne of New England Seafood and Martin McIlroy of Daregal, a company that is a global leader in the supply of culinary herbs, spoke about the key issues facing the supply chain in the sector.

Upcoming changes in the Food & Beverage industry

The powerful message that came from all of the speakers was the need for companies in the food and beverage sector to continuously push the boundaries of their comfort levels in order to keep ahead of their competitors and meet the continual stream of changes that they have to face.

This article is part of the 3rd edition of the Food Law Digest 2015.