Food Brexit brought together speakers from top industry organisations from across the world. The day was chaired by Tom Heap, Broadcaster and Journalist. 




Chairman’s Opening Address

Chairman Tom Heap welcomes delegates to the conference.


Brexit Update

With the transition period for Brexit now agreed, and a large part of the European Commission Draft Withdrawal Agreement approved, what does this mean for the F&B sector in the run up to December 2020, and what does the future look like from January 2021?


Julian Jessop

Chief Economist and Head of the Brexit Unit Institute of Economic Affairs

Focus on Farming

Brexit and the CAP withdrawal will offer UK farmers the opportunity to change and be more innovative in their farming methods, but it may result in them struggling to remain competitively priced and the potential loss of a lower-cost seasonal workforce. What steps can be taken to support farmers as they plan for the future, and how can we reduce the negative impact of some of these changes?


What Food Security challenges should we be prioritising?

There is a growing need to improve the level of security and self-sufficiency within the UK food system and Brexit might present an opportunity to do so, however failure to prioritise F&B in negotiations will see a huge impact to the level of our food security. What changes can we expect to witness with the existing food policy, what should the priorities be, and what can businesses do to optimise food security within the UK?

This session will discuss the likely changes to our food availability, sustainability and access to imported produce.


Tim Lang

Professor in Food Policy City, University of London

Tim Benton

Dean of Strategic Research Initiatives, Leeds University

Morning break in the exhibition area

The following companies will be featured in the exhibition area;

  • SOFHT – Stand 1
  • SCI – Stand 2
  • CRN – Stand 3
  • ALP – Stand 4
  • BMPA – Stand 5


Brexit: The legal steps to the land of hope and glory

Brexit presents a hugely complex and significant constitutional change and its impact across the UK remains, in many areas of business, an unknown quantity. This presentation discusses the affect this is expected on the UK import and export trade and explores some of the legal changes and challenges facing the F&B industry.


Trade Continuity during and after the transition period

The agreed 21-month transition framework provides assurances that UK companies can continue trading across the EU under normal conditions, until January 2021. What changes need to take place during this transition period, and what steps should be considered to pre-empt the new terms and minimise potential disruptions? This session will also look at the latest negotiation developments, as well as how far the UK and the EU have progressed with practical preparations, as of late October 2018.


Hilary Ross

Head of Retail, Food & Hospitality, Executive Partner, DWF LLP

Brexit and the fishing industry – what’s the catch?

How will Brexit impact the fisheries and seafood trading arrangements between the UK and the EU. What will be the knock-on effect to fishers, seafood processors, consumers, coastal communities and the environment?


Lunch & Networking in the exhibition area

The following companies will be featured in the exhibition area;

  • SOFHT – Stand 1
  • SCI – Stand 2
  • CRN – Stand 3
  • ALP – Stand 4
  • BMPA – Stand 5

How can Britain compete on a global stage?

As Brexit shakes up the Food & Beverage industry, what can the industry do to secure more of the export market and what changes are critical for growth and survival?


Focus on Manufacturers

Food & Beverage annually generates £21.5 billion for the UK economy and exports over £13 billion to the EU. With the potential risk of staff shortages, an increased difficulty in securing ingredients, and the movement of trade barriers and higher tariffs, what should manufacturers be planning for and what steps should they be taking to ensure that trading continues with minimal loss to revenue and furthermore are there ways to increase profitability?


Tom Sallis

Deputy Director for EU & Brexit, Scotch Whisky Association

Focus on Foodservice

In the UK, the foodservice sector has a total supply chain value of roughly £15 billion and is responsible for over 20% of non-UK nationals in the workforce, a disruption to either is of great concern and a failure to prepare will have a negative knock-on effect to thousands of outlets and consumers.

What challenges is Brexit creating and what preparations are being made to see the sector through the transition period and beyond?
Equally, What opportunities are out there and how is Foodservice responding?


Watered down food safety standards: Fact or fiction?

Pathogen Reduction Treatment is common practice in the US and reduces incidences of salmonella from 14% to 2%. Whilst the EFSA state the total intake of chlorine in diets is not enough to cause concern, the EU still chooses not to adopt these methods, yet there are 1.5 times as many salmonella cases per person in the EU than in the US. Will our current precautionary measures stand in the way of future trade deals? Is it time we review our standards and open up trade?

This session focuses on the opportunities, risks and challenges of implementing a US-UK trade deal.


Professor Chris Elliott

Professor of Food Safety and Director of the Institute for Global Food Security, Queen’s University Belfast

Kath Dalmeny

Chief Executive, Sustain: The alliance for better food and farming

Afternoon break in the exhibition area

The following companies will be featured in the exhibition area;

  • SOFHT – Stand 1
  • SCI – Stand 2
  • CRN – Stand 3
  • ALP – Stand 4
  • BMPA – Stand 5

Border controls – Ireland & Beyond

For the Irish government, it is critical that there will be no return to a hard border. This is not just a question of customs controls, and the economic costs created by processing delays and charges, it is also about the social impact on the communities that straddle the border, and the political symbolism it represents.  Is there a straight forward solution to these challenges? Our speaker believes so… 


Graham Gudgin

Centre for Business Research (CBR), University of Cambridge

Focus on Retail

Increased trade barriers and a decline in the pound could see instabilities in food prices and a no-deal scenario could cause delays at ports by up to three days, resulting in empty shelves. The future state of the European supply chains and labour are just a few issues facing retailers, so what proactive steps and business decisions are retailers taking on their journey through Brexit? 


Andrew Opie

Director of Food and Sustainability, British Retail Consortium

Voice of the Nations

The ramifications of Brexit will reach into all four corners of the UK, but just how much of an impact will it have on specific regions? Representatives will answer questions and debate key concerns relevant to their region.


Andy Richardson

Head of Corporate Affairs, Volac & Chair of the Welsh Food & Drink Board

Michael Bell

Executive Director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA)

Chairmans closing comments


Close of Conference and Drinks Reception