Inspirational educational seminar program set for London Produce Show and Conference

May 30 , 2019

From the pages of Produce Business UK

The London Produce Show and Conference (LPS) has lined up another thought-provoking and invaluable Educational Seminar Programme for the 2019 edition of its world-class event, which will be held next week on June 5-7 at the Grosvenor House, a 5-star JW Marriott hotel on London’s iconic Park Lane.

Addressing some of the most critical and timely opportunities and challenges for the fresh fruit and vegetable industry at present, the program will inspire attendees to achieve their full potential with regards to plant-based diets, labor, leadership, consumption, ‘imperfect’ produce, food waste and circular agriculture.  

A fascinating lineup of speakers, including retailers, marketers, suppliers and growers representing the breadth of the supply chain, are confirmed to participate in the program, which takes place on Thursday June 6, running concurrent to the LPS one-day trade show.

The Educational Seminar Programme will serve as a platform for global fresh produce industry thought and practice leaders to share their vast knowledge, experience and expertise of pivotal topics, thereby giving LPS attendees the chance to discover new opportunities, to spark thoughtful debate and to learn how to drive forward their business and the industry at large. 

Jim Prevor, Editor-in-Chief of Produce Business UK, and the Founder of The London Produce Show and Conference, explains: “The LPS brings together some of the sharpest minds from the global produce industry to present a series of educational seminars and workshops that explore the topics and issues that impact directly or indirectly on the working lives of every show attendee.” 

Plant-based diets

UK market researcher England Marketing will open the program to help attendees get to grips with the latest facts and figures regarding the unprecedented changes to the dietary habits of UK consumers, thanks to the rise of ‘reducetarianism’, flexitarianism, vegetarianism and veganism.

In particular, England Marketing’s presentation will draw on various studies to address why the UK diet is changing and in what ways. Moreover, this session will illustrate the huge potential this shift presents to all players throughout the fresh produce sector.

Recruitment & retention

Then, a panel discussion comprising representatives from Waitrose & Partners, Freshtime UK, Hall Hunter, BerryWorld and Emmett UK will explore how the reputation and results of produce businesses can be enhanced through embedding a values-based employer brand.

Moderated by David Camp, Chief Executive of The Association of Labour Providers and the founder of Stronger Together, this session will provide practical experience of how applying ethical values, acting with integrity and building employee trust can convert into bottom-line business benefits, such as: increased applicant flow, improved engagement levels and higher worker retention and return. 

Nurturing leadership

Following that, Ben Bardsley, Chairman of the Next Gen Fruit Group, will speak about the importance of nurturing the next generation of UK fruit industry leaders in order to guarantee the longevity of produce supply as demanded by British retailers and consumers.

Bardsley will reveal how the Next Gen Fruit Group (formally the Under 40s Fruit Growers Organisation) is on a mission to attract as many young people as possible to work in the fruit supply chain – from production to retail – and, in turn, create an environment of learning, networking and enjoyment amongst future leaders for the benefit of the entire produce industry.

Promoting produce

Next up, Maria Wieloch, Senior Category Manager for fruit, vegetables and flowers at retailer ICAGruppen in Sweden, will inspire attendees to help encourage shoppers, and especially children, to ditch the chocolate and sugary treats in favor of fresh fruits and vegetables during the holidays.

Sweden’s largest supermarket chain ICA is creating initiatives to encourage kids to eat more healthily during holiday periods such as Easter and Christmas, and Wieloch will share some of these successful initiatives, as well as other commercial initiatives used by ICA to raise produce consumption among all of its customers throughout the year.

Wonky & surplus produce

After that, Emilie Vanpoperinghe, Co-Founder of social enterprise Oddbox – ‘London’s first and only’ wonky veg box subscription scheme, will highlight the opportunities and advantages of reducing one’s impact on the planet, tackling food waste, and raising fresh produce consumption and sales by making more misshapen and surplus fresh fruits and vegetables available to consumers.  

Vanpoperinghe will discuss the social, environmental and commercial opportunities of retailing ‘imperfect’ fruit and veg, as well as the genuine, growing demand from consumers to purchase and eat such produce in an effort to fight food waste.

Circular agriculture

The penultimate session on circular agriculture and sustainability will be presented jointly by Tim Heddema, Agricultural Counsellor at the Embassy of the Netherlands in the UK; and Gert Mulder, Managing Director of the Fresh Produce Centre (GroentenFruitHuis) in the Netherlands.

As climate change and the increasing scarcity of resources requires producers worldwide to reassess their production methods. Heddema and Mulder will detail the concept of ‘circular agriculture’, and explain its significance and benefits for fresh fruit and vegetable growers, suppliers and buyers right across the globe. 

Heddema and Mulder will share the Dutch vision and the ‘Dutch Horticulture Agenda 2019-2030’ – an agreement between the industry and government which seeks to put into practice the vision on circularity and sustainability in farming and production. 

Food waste

Last but not least, Shula Granville, Commercial Manager of UK charity FareShare, will reveal the scale of food waste in the UK produce industry, and the steps that fresh produce companies can take to effectively identify and tackle waste in their operations.

At a time when the UK government is calling on food retailers and suppliers to set ambitious efficiency and sustainability targets, in addition to announcing plans to consult on mandatory reporting of food waste, Granville will explore the positive impact that redistributing edible, surplus produce to frontline charities can have on businesses.

The Educational Seminar Programme runs on Thursday June 6 during the LPS19’s one-day trade show.

Sessions take place on The Great Room Balcony, overlooking the trade show floor, and will run from 10am until 3.30pm. 

Register here to attend the event

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