In this exclusive interview, filmed at this year’s event, Bull highlighted some of the challenges that still face food and drink firms, especially when it came to recruitment and finding skilled workers.
“Recruiting the right sort of level of people within a business is a tough ask – it is for any manufacturing business, but it is equally so for food manufacturers,” said Bull.
Marketing the industry
“Addressing that is a difficult challenge – looking at all the different graduate systems that you can do to bring on board people at a certain level. But marketing the industry itself is important.
“We’ve got to up our game a little bit more to make sure we are addressing the new employee opportunities within the marketplace.”
However, challenges surrounding recruitment weren’t Bull’s only takeaway from the event. He highlighted the potential of artificial intelligence and how the technology had become much more accessible to the food and drink industry.
“The perception traditionally has been that they are very complex, they need data scientists to support them, very difficult to implement and are only for enterprise level businesses – that's not really the case now,” he continued.
“The technology has come a long way and people can readily plug into those, take advantage of those to do things like generate forecasts for example – plug in things like weather patterns or demographics that you’re selling into.
“We’ve got much more access to it, much more availability of that sort of technology that five years’ ago we would have had at all. It’s incredibly flexible in terms of what you are putting into [the system].”
Bull went on to discuss the services available through Columbus that can help food and drink firms implement some of the above systems into their business – keep watching the video for more details.
Meanwhile, the spectre of increased fuel prices is looming over the food industry and is set to disrupt consumer purchasing habits, according to Adam Starkey, managing director of public sector meals supplier Green Gourmet.