The UK’s premier food and drink exhibition, ExCeL London, 17 – 20 March 2013

IFE has announced its line-up for The Hub – the seminar programme will see some of the industry’s leading figures, companies and associations offering exciting insights into the trends and challenges currently affecting the food and drink sector

Running from the 17 – 20 March, The Hub will include speakers from the European Union, Food & Drink Federation (FDF), Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and WRAP, who will all participate in a series of presentations, case studies and live discussions to equip visitors with invaluable industry knowledge and understanding to help inform marketing and business strategies for the future.

For a retailer perspective on where the food industry is headed, Mike Coupe, Group Commercial Director from Sainsbury’s and chair of the GroceryAid fundraising committee, will take part in one of the live interviews, chaired by the food industry and media consultant Clive Beddall. Taking place on Wednesday 20th March, Clive will quiz Mike on a range of topics so visitors can hear his thoughts on trends and sectors for growth.

Widely regarded as a longstanding trend, health and wellbeing will be a major focus at The Hub. Terry Jones from the FDF will examine the role the industry plays in promoting health during his session on ‘Delivering Healthy Growth: How the Industry can Tackle the Healthy Eating Debate’. This interactive session will explore what food and drink suppliers are currently doing to combat unhealthy eating, and where there are opportunities for evolving practices and product offerings.

On a similar theme, Steve Dawson from Walker’s Shortbread and former President of Food From Britain America, will look at trends from the other side of the Atlantic that may impact on the UK food industry in the future. During his session, he will explore the growth of controversial ‘free-from’ food claims and whether sugar and fat should be taxed, as well as the future of genetically modified food. He’ll also include a special focus on the ethics of general health claims, posing the question “should all food claims should be banned?”.

Jonathon Bayne, Food Technologist at Waitrose and representative of the Society of Food Hygiene & Technology, will also examine future trends in the industry, from obesity, climate change and sustainable sourcing, to ethical trading and regulatory challenges.

Over the past few years, sustainability has become a hot topic in the food industry. Therefore, The Hub will address this issue with a presentation from LEAF on sustainable food and farming, as well as a seminar led by WRAP that focuses on the voluntary Hospitality and Foodservice Agreement that aims to reduce waste and promote more recycling.

“The Hub seminar programme is always a popular feature at IFE, so we’re excited to be hosting so many of the industry’s top figures,” said Christopher McCuin, Event Director, IFE. “Visitors will be able to discover the latest industry updates, whilst learning about the trends and regulations that are shaping the industry today.”

For those interested in hearing about international developments, there will be a panel discussion that offers best practice advice when trading overseas from consultancy Green Seed, the UK Trade and Investment (UKTi) body and the Food and Drink Export Association (FDEA). In addition to this, Owen Jones from the Directorate General Unit for Agriculture and Rural Development at the European Union, will examine how the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) will effect international food businesses post 2013.

On Monday 18 March, IFE13 Question Time will take place. With a panel that includes journalist and chair of the London Food Board, Rosie Boycott, Andrew Opie from the British Retail Consortium, MP David Heath, Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in DEFRA, Melanie Leech from the Food and Drink Federation, and Ufi Ibrahim from the British Hospitality Association, visitors will be able to ask some of the industry’s most pertinent questions.

Other sessions in The Hub include Technical Director at Food Schemes BRCT, David Brackston’s seminar on global standards to improve food safety and consumer confidence, and presentations that cover topics such as the future of the convenience sector, and the demonisation of the food industry.

For more details on the show and how to register for a free visitor badge, visit