2018 Programme


Delivering customer confidence in a post Brexit world

Conference Programme

8.45 – 9.15 Registration

9.30 – 9.40 Welcome from Rob Chester, NSF MD

9.40 – 9.45 Chairman’s introduction – Daisy McAndrew

9.45 – 10.15 Keynote: Outlook for food and farming in the UK – Lord Mark Price



10.15 – 11.30 Industry Round Table and discussion

Agriculture Minette Batters, President, NFU

Manufacturing Ian Wright, Director General, FDF

Retailing William Bain, Policy Advisor, BRC

Imports, haulage and logistics Rod McKenzie, Director of Policy & Public Affairs, RHA


11.30 – 11.45 BREAK



11.45 – 12.05

Addressing the labour challenge

David Meller, Director of Ethical Sourcing, NSF International

12.05 – 12.25

Robot automation: Improving competitiveness in food production

Mike Wilson, Chairman of the Automation and Robot Association



12.25 – 12.55

The black mirror of food: The end of food as we know it

Marius Robles, CEO, Reimagine Food


12.55 – 13.00 Questions and discussion

13.00 – 14.00 LUNCH



14.00– 14.20 Trading with the rest of the world - challenges and opportunities

Stan Hazan, Director, Science & Regulatory Affairs, NSF International (US)

14.20– 14.45 The FSA's priorities and plans

Catherine Bowles, Deputy Director - EU Exit, Regulatory & International Strategy, Food Standards Agency

14.45– 15.10 The Brexit opportunity: what we should really be thinking about now

Dominic Watkins, Partner, DWF LLP


15.10 – 15.30 BREAK



15.30 – 15.50 Fraud in the food industry Sally-Ann Krzyzaniak, Research Fellow, Portsmouth University

15.50 – 16.10 Blockchain & food safety - provenance in the supply chain

Richard Stockley, Head of Blockchain, IBM UKI

16.10 – 16.25 Preparing for the future Jackie Healing, Consulting & Technical Services Director, NSF International


16.25 – 16.35 Close and discussion



Presentation synopses


11.45 – David Meller

Addressing the labour challenge

Work as we know it is changing.  It is not just the Brexit effect, the gig economy and the devalued pound. Long term structural changes are afoot. We need a fundamental rethink of how we view work.

Securing sufficient labour in the future will be a challenge. Employment is at an all-time high in the UK and workforces are becoming more expensive and harder to maintain, while supply and demand or lack of alternatives has produced a $150 billion industry called modern slavery.

Productivity and competitiveness are huge issues in the UK. Legislation and regulation are struggling to keep up with the pace of change.

This session highlights the critical issues for employers and some potential ways forward.


12.05 – Mike Wilson

Robot automation : Improving competitiveness in food production

Food manufacturing faces many challenges not least of which are the need to improve productivity and reduce the reliance on manual labour. Other sectors in the UK, most notably automotive, have demonstrated the benefits of robot automation, improving quality, reducing health and safety issues and at the same time increasing productivity and competitiveness. But within the food sector we have not utilised robot technologies to the same extent as our overseas competitors. Although the application of robot automation does require detailed planning and the development of skills many solutions are readily available for food manufacturing applications. What is required is a longer term approach to investment in order to implement the latest robot solutions, improve productivity and competitiveness and the development of a world class sector.


12.25 – Marius Robles

The black mirror of food: the end of food as we know it

The way in which we interact with food has changed dramatically in the past five years, affecting both how and what we eat.  The penetration of new technologies such as IoT, Robots, Biotech and Big Data or sharing economy; the birth of new food startups, new players penetrating the sector —such as Amazon, Google or Uber – and new consumer behaviours is leveraging a world of opportunities in the food industry and promoting a food-tech investment boom.

This new food economy, that  we have named EATNOMICS, present significant contradictions.  On the horizon is the entry of a post-animal era that encompasses man-made and artificial while, at the same time, we embellish everything that is natural and organic.

We say that the future of food will depend on state-of-the-art technology, but this doesn’t tell us anything about the values of the food system we are creating for future generations.

What dystopian scenarios can take place in the food system with the impact of disruptive technologies?


14.20 – Catherine Bowles

The FSA's priorities and plans

Exiting the EU brings challenges and opportunities for all who are concerned with the safety of the food chain.  Catherine will set out the key elements of what the Food Standards Agency is doing in relation to:

  • EU exit,
  • our "Regulating our Future" programme, and
  • being an excellent, accountable modern regulator.


14.45 – Dominic Watkins

The Brexit opportunity: what we should really be thinking about now

Brexit is like an iceberg.  Many are focussed on the tip of the Brexit iceberg above the waterline ignoring the bulk that is under water.  While  the recent letter from the three Secretaries of State aimed at providing some certainty for what on the transition period means is welcome, there are many, many questions remaining for the future.  Dominic will explore the regulatory areas that should be of focus to the  food sector and help you to pull together your Brexit Blueprint for the future.


15.30 – Sally-Ann Krzyzaniak

Fraud in the food industry

Food fraud - the intentional adulteration or misrepresentation of food and drink for economic gain - is an age old problem, but one which has been of growing concern in recent years.  From the adulteration of baby milk with melamine, the substitution of horse meat for beef, and the more recent fipronil in eggs scandal, the range and scale of activities which can come under the umbrella of food fraud is enormous.

However, fraud in the food industry is not limited to "simple" adulteration and substitution of ingredients but can cover everything from counterfeiting or simulation of products, to the misrepresentation of products and the use of false and misleading claims.  Additionally food fraud rarely happens by itself: tax evasion, subsidy fraud, smuggling, bribery and corruption are just some of the crimes which have been linked to food fraud.

This presentation considers the financial cost of fraud to the industry, looks at some of the business reasons why the food supply chain is vulnerable to fraud and highlights why businesses can't leave food fraud prevention just to quality teams.


15.50 – Richard Stockley

Blockchain & food safety – provenance in the supply chain

Blockchain is a technology that provides transparency and increases trust - Applied to the food supply chain, it has the potential to increase consumer confidence, improve safety and reduce waste. We will explore blockchain as a technology and how IBM is harnessing it to improve food safety.

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