Westminster Food & Nutrition Forum

Since lockdown, we have been organising our full programme of conferences online. We will continue online until further notice, to ensure we play our part in helping our employees and delegates to remain safe during this time. We are pleased that so many key stakeholders, policymakers and other interested parties - both old friends and new delegates - are taking up the opportunity to discuss public policy issues and network at our impartial seminars. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are. For booking-related queries, or information on speaking, please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk or contact us using one of the following numbers: +44 (0)7951044809 / +44 (0)7503591880 / +44 (0)7538736244.
For delegates already booked on, we will send you the online joining instructions (including links, event numbers and passwords) five working days before your conference. If you cannot find these in your inbox please email delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk

Priorities for the food, drink and hospitality industry in an evolving landscape - consumers, the workforce, economic recovery, trade, innovation, and the public health agenda

Morning, Wednesday, 9th December 2020

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference  will consider the priorities for the food, drink and hospitality sector in the UK.

It is bringing together key stakeholders and policymakers as the industry responds to the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic and the upcoming end of the EU exit transition.

The discussion at a glance:

  • COVID-19 - the impact on the industry and ways it is adapting the way it works in light of social distancing and restrictions on movement
  • innovation and consumer habits - how food, drink and hospitality companies are evolving their offering as consumers move through the pandemic, and the lessons that can taken forward
  • support priorities - what the industry needs - especially small food and drink companies and independent restaurants - as they regroup post-pandemic and with the end of the EU transition period
  • trade - future international relationships and the impact on the sector, its regulation and food standards - and the role of the Trade and Agriculture Commission
  • environment targets - meeting the challenges across the food supply chain, including reducing waste and use of plastic, moving towards net zero, and adapting to evolving consumer expectations
  • public health policy - policy and regulatory initiatives on obesity, alcohol, and marketing - and the continuing impact of social distancing
  • skills - what is needed from government, and policy in areas such as visas and immigration, to ensure the UK is able to overcome shortages and supply change issues at the end of the UK transition

Policy developments at a glance:

  • support - the Government’s Eat Out to Help Out scheme with its Plan for Jobs aimed at supporting economic recovery and the hospitality industry
  • obesity - Government’s new strategy - Tackling obesity: empowering adults and children to live healthier lives - aimed getting the nation fit and healthy and reducing the impact of COVID-19
  • the National Food Strategy - with part one including wide-ranging recommendations aimed at supporting a food system that is healthy, affordable, sustainable, resilient, and productive
  • the Trade and Agriculture Commission - with its membership now announced, which will directly advise the Secretary of State on future trade policies
  • emissions - the FDF on Decarbonisation of heat across the food and drink manufacturing sector report:
    • following UK Government’s commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050
    • calling for a clear commitment to long term policies and support programmes to give businesses the confidence they need to support investment decisions
  • COVID-19:
    • Guidance for food businesses on coronavirus from Defra and Public Health England
    • Working safely during coronavirus aimed at people who work in or run restaurants, pubs, bars, cafes or takeaways from BEIS and the DCMS
    • Adapting restaurants and food delivery during COVID-19 from the FSA
    • the launch of the NHS COVID-19 contact tracing app on 24th September with hospitality businesses asked to display QR code posters to support the app and enable visitors to register their presence

The discussion in detail:

The impact of COVID-19

  • lockdown and social distancing:
    • impact - on revenue, sustainability, and employment
    • support effectiveness - looking at furloughing, seasonal work help, Eat Out to Help Out and other initiatives
    • options going forward - what further help does the sector need as it adapts to new ways of working and consumer expectations
  • the new normal for consumers - changes in attitudes, habits and expectations for delivery, what is likely to remain embedded, and what it means for the industry going forward
  • the supply chain - tackling key issues in light of disruption affecting supply, commercial relationships and labour
  • innovation - what can be learned and taken forward from how businesses and communities have stepped up to the challenges during the pandemic

Preparing for the end of the transition period

  • preparedness - whether the industry is ready, and priorities as the country nears the end of the transition period
  • the workforce - implications and options on skills shortages or supply change issues
  • future trade agreements - the impact on food standards, priorities for the sector, and the role of the Trade and Agriculture Commission

Public health policy developments

  • obesity - the Government’s new strategy and the impact of measures included on the food, drink and hospitality industry such as:
    • advertising - plans to ban TV and online adverts for food high in fat, sugar and salt before 9pm
    • labelling - requiring large restaurants, cafes and takeaways with more than 250 employees to add calorie labels to the food they sell
    • marketing - restricting the promotion of foods high in fat, sugar in deals such as buy one get one free
    • alcohol - plans to launch a consultation later this year on calorie labelling for alcohol
  • the National Food Strategy
    • part one - recommendations on greater access and affordability of good quality food for children and families on lower incomes
    • part two - looking ahead to its publication due early next year and priorities for action by government and stakeholders

The agenda:

  • Key issues for the food, drink and hospitality industry - moving on from COVID-19, and preparing for the end of the EU Exit transition period
  • The food, drink and hospitality industry in 2021 - evolving consumer expectations, opportunities for innovation, and priorities for the supply chain and workforce
    • How consumer attitudes and habits have evolved through the pandemic
    • Case study - innovating offerings as the sector responds to COVID-19 and changing consumer expectations
    • Supporting the food supply chain, meeting workforce challenges, and key issues for the food and drink sector in Wales
  • Policy priorities, standards, and building and maintaining trading relationships
  • Next steps for meeting environment targets in the food industry
  • The developing public health policy agenda - obesity, alcohol, marketing, and labelling

Policy officials attending:

Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by Defra; the Department of International Trade; DAERA NI; the National Food Crime Unit; and the Welsh Government.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior officials from BEIS, MHCLG, DHSC and other relevant Departments, representatives of the food, drink and hospitality industry, including manufacturers, restaurants, retailers, and suppliers, legal and investment firms, property companies and landlords, local government, public health professionals, , environmental groups, advocacy bodies, academics and commentators, charities and consumer groups, together with reporters from the national and trade media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Tim Rycroft

Chief Operating Officer, Food and Drink Federation

Kate Nicholls

Chief Executive, UKHospitality

Cathy Capelin

Strategic Insight Director, Kantar World Panel UK

Andy Richardson

Chair, Food and Drink Wales Industry Board and Head of Corporate Affairs, Volac


Steve Double MP

Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Hospitality and Tourism


Julian Hunt

Vice President, Public Affairs and Communications, Coca-Cola