The Value of Food

15 September 2022 | 10.30am start

Food Value Reset

Is now the right time for a much-needed food value reset?

Current high rates of inflation – and its causes – are exacerbating the problems of a broken food system and highlighting the need for a food supply that is resilient to shocks and works for both food businesses and consumers. We need to fix the food system and we need to start with a food value reset which nudges Britain towards greater food security.

In this discussion we reflect on the business, cultural, policy and political considerations that reinforce the consumer expectation of low-price food. Then we turn our attention to how we encourage a revaluation of food pricing based on a greater understanding of the true costs of food production in monetary, environmental, socio-economic and welfare standards. And with inflation soaring, we cannot escape asking how growers and producers can improve margins while food is becoming more unaffordable for many.

On 13th June 2022 the government published its Food Strategy and awe will ask the panel of speakers to investigate the potential of that document to support a food value reset. Can it strengthen home-grown food businesses, boost food security at a national level, make high-quality, nutritious food accessible to all parts of society and educate consumers about the value of food and the industry that produces it?

 

This round table discussion is being recorded as part of a new series of podcasts hosted by Rural Policy Group and MHA, business advisors, tax specialists and accountants to the agriculture and rural business sector. 

 

Clarke Willis MBE FRAgS

Clarke Willis MBE FRAgS

Director, Norfolk Food Enterprise Park

Clarke is a Director of the Norfolk Food Enterprise Park which is developing major processing and support facilities for the agrifood supply chain in the Eastern region. The 100 acre Park is situated by the A47, 5 miles from the Norfolk Research Park. First occupiers are now on site – Condimentum Limited who are processing the mint and mustard for Colman’s. Future includes a Food Innovation Centre with 13 food grade “start-up” units and a central Hub with test kitchens with marketing and academic support from the UEA and a large Vertical Farm development with Fischer Farms.

Clarke was CEO of Anglia Farmers, the £260m agricultural input supply co-operative for 15 years until his “retirement” in June 2017. AF sourced approximately 10% of UK inputs into farmers and supported supply chains into Waitrose and Tesco. His career also encompassed Board roles at British Sugar plc, Dengie Crops and Dalgety Agriculture.

He is a Trustee of Harper Adams University Development Trust, trustee of Norfolk FWAG (environmental charity) and a member of the New Anglia LEP Skills Advisory Panel and AgriFood Industrial Council.

He was awarded an MBE in 2016 for Services to Agriculture, and awarded Fellowship of Royal Agricultural Societies in 2019.

Prof. Simon Pearson

Prof. Simon Pearson

Professor of Agri-Food Technology, Lincoln Institute of Agri-Food Technology

Simon is the Founding Director of the Lincoln Institute for Agri-Food Technology at the University of Lincoln and a Professor of Agri-Food Technology. His research interests will have profound implications for how we grow, produce and supply food. They include a diverse range of agri technology applications including robotic systems, automation, energy control and management, food safety systems and novel crop development, the environmental physiology of fresh produce and ornamental crops, including impacts on crop quality and development, the post-harvest physiology of vegetables, fruits and cut flowers, including the use of modified atmosphere packaging, the effects of light manipulation on crop growth and development, including the development and application of greenhouse spectral filters and LED lighting systems, the development of on-farm decision support systems from remote sensing information and the development of pre and post farm gate supply and demand forecasting systems.

Prior to his current responsibilities, Simon has spent his career straddling the commercial and academic aspects of horticulture as a researcher and lecturer in fresh produce, MD of Winchester Growers, Europe’s largest grower of cut flowers for UK supermarkets, a produce technologist for Marks & Spencer and a horticulture lecturer with circa 100 publications to his name.

Marina Leiva

Marina Leiva

Senior Reporter, Investment Monitor

Marina Leiva is a senior reporter at Investment Monitor, where she specialises in the agribusiness sector. Previously, she reported on institutional investments in the UK, Ireland, France, Spain and Portugal for MandateWire at the Financial Times. She started her career in Spain, covering international affairs for Eldiario.es

Jose De Mayne Hopkins

Jose De Mayne Hopkins

Technical Director ESG

Jose is an ESG risk assessment expert with more than 11 years of big 4 experience auditing global large listed groups and complex entities within the Agricultural, Renewable, Technology and Mining sectors. In the last 2 years Jose has been applying his in-depth technical understanding of environmental (including climate risk), social, governance, accounting, assurance and financial reporting standards to support, validate and challenge organisations translate and disclose material ESG related risks and opportunities. Jose is passionate about a transparent and fair presentation of climate change reporting, consideration of material ESG risks and net zero transition plans.

Jose strong technical knowledge and understanding of the Task Force of Climate Related Disclosures (“TCFD”) strategic framework helps Jose provide support to a wider range of business in developing a resilient ESG strategy, setting up responsibilities for the Board and Management, integration of material risks in the risk management framework and support the alignment and evaluation of material ESG risks in the IFRS financial statements.

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor

Mark Lumsdon-Taylor

Partner, MHA MacIntyre Hudson

Mark is a Chartered Accountant, corporate financier and consultant with special interests in food & farming, rural business, ESG and the belief that business must be underpinned by sustainable finance. He established Rural Policy Group in 2019 following 16 years in the rural economy working with both public and private sector businesses. Mark has won numerous awards for his work including Finance Director of the Year 2007, Accounting for Sustainability 2012 (ICEAW), National Business Finance Director 2014 (Finance Director) and the Institute of Directors Blue Ribbon award for Governance and Finance Excellence in 2018.

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