Foodex 2014

Food industry skills gap under Foodex spotlight

By Michael Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags National skills academy Food and drink

The Food Manufacture Group will host four Big Video Debates at Foodex next week
The Food Manufacture Group will host four Big Video Debates at Foodex next week
How food and drink manufacturers can attract 170,300 new recruit recruits by 2020 is the subject of one of four, free-to-attend Big Video Debates, to be staged at the Foodex trade event next week.

The debate – Plugging the skills gap in food and drink manufacturing at 11.45 on Tuesday March 25  – will hear solutions from Jon Poole, ceo Institute of Food Science & Technology, Justine Fosh, chief executive  of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink and Michael Rudge, Bakkavor, process technologist.

Each debate will feature a topical debate on key issues that directly affect the profitability of food and drink manufacturers. Poole told “It is almost becoming a cliché that the food sector cannot attract the enough talented people to meet its needs and yet the problem still persists. 

‘Ideal opportunity’

“One of the critical elements in my view is getting individual organisations to work together to present a coherent message and approach.  Events such as this debate provide an ideal opportunity to step back and encourage the food sector to look at this issue more holistically.  Then, perhaps, we can start to develop a truly coherent approach.”

Other Big Video Debates will feature: Learning the lessons of the horsemeat crisis, the latest updates on how social media can help or hinder food manufacturers and lean and green manufacturing.

Expert panels

Lasting between 45 minutes and one hour, each Big Video Debate will feature a brief presentation from each speaker before a panel discussion led by a presenter. Visitors to the show will also have an opportunity to put their questions directly to our expert panels towards the end of each debate.

All debates will take place on the Centre Stage. Each debate will be filmed and the highlights will appear on

Meanwhile, if you have a pressing question about the lessons learnt from the horsemeat crisis, how social media can help or hinder the food and drink industry, how best to plug the skills gap or how to refine lean and green manufacturing techniques for your business, please email it in advance to .

Foodex takes place at the National Exhibition Centre, near Birmingham between Monday March 24 and Wednesday March 26. More information about the event is available here.

Big Video Debates at Foodex

Social media: threat or opportunity for food and drink manufacturers

Monday March 24, from 10.45 to 11.45.


 •Richard Clothier, Wyke Farms md

•Jack Hamilton, Mash Direct, marketing manager

•Paul Bradley, National Farmers Union senior social media adviser

•Presenter: Mike Stones, Food Manufacture Group

Horsemeat over one year on: Could it happen again?

Monday March 24, from 14.15 to 15.15.


 •Mark Driscoll, head of food at Forum for The Future

•Nick Allen, EBLEX sector director

•Lord Rooker, former chairman Food Standards Agency

•Terry Jones, Food and Drink Federation, communications director

•Professor Paul Dobson, head of Norwich Business School

•Elizabeth Andoh-Kesson, British Retail Consortium, food policy advisor and lead report, Elliott review

•Dominic Watkins, DWF law firm partner and head of food group

•Presenter: Rod Addy, Food Manufacture Group


Plugging the skills gap in food and drink manufacturing

Tuesday March 25, from 11.45 to 12.30.


•             Jon Poole, IFST, ceo

•             Justine Fosh, the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink, chief executive

•             Michael Rudge, Bakkavor, process technologist

•             Presenter: Mike Stones


Lean and green manufacturing: Challenges and opportunities

Tuesday March 25, from 14.30 to 15.30.


 •Mike Wilson, president, British Automation and Robot Association and general industry sales and marketing manager, ABB Robotics

•Michael Taylor, business development manager, National Skills Academy for Food & Drink and former operations manager, Fosters Bakery

•Professor Peter Hines, SA Partners, chairman

•Presenter: Rod Addy

Don't forget each Big Video Debate is free to attend, will last no longer than one hour and takes place on the Centre Stage.

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1 comment

Should be an interesting event

Posted by Jane,

This should be a very interesting event.

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