Ian Booth, who is quality director at logistics provider Martin Brower and took over from Asda operations compliance manager Alan Lacey last month, said the level of skilled people entering the industry was currently insufficient.
He revealed that SOFHT was reviewing its Student Award, as well as looking at a range of new activities in collaboration with academic institutions. “We are keen to bring in more student membership, a category that is free to those eligible,” said Booth.
Meanwhile, he was under no illusion that the result of the EU referendum would be problematic for the food industry. “SOFHT will be focused on supporting members through this transition.” he said.
“The key messages I am hearing are the opportunity to review legislative framework and enforcement, the impact on supply chain issues such as border controls, and those related to labour.
“We are holding a breakfast club in central London on September 22, where some of these questions will be debated further.”
Booth said he was focused on ensuring that SOFHT identified how to collaborate across the industry and drive the areas of interest for its members forward. He also highlighted the role social media was having on food producers.
“As a society, we understand the benefits of social media in reaching both members and non-members, although we also understand the challenges of how the speed of communication can impact the industry.
'The next emerging issue'
“We must work with members to continually review the next emerging issue, and support those within the industry developing the techniques and technologies to ensure that we retain the integrity of the food chain.”
A particular strength of SOFHT, said Booth, was that it brought together people from across the food sector and provided the opportunity for networking with others. He also revealed plans to develop closer ties with the foodservice sector.
However, arriving at a collective position on SOFHT members’ views on Brexit would pose a unique challenge, he confessed.
“As a council, we discuss the impact of Brexit regularly and welcome new members to join us as we progress in drawing [together] the industry’s views over the next couple of years.”