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Over 80 representatives from leading food and drink businesses across the UK visited Peterborough last week to attend a conference aimed at helping them innovate and drive growth.
The conference, organised and hosted by leading food law firm Roythornes, featured experts from the sector speaking on New Product Development (NPD) in the food sector.
Speakers included Rob Kedzlie of NPD Direct, who talked about the development and innovation process; Michael Bennett of Pelican Communications who covered social media marketing and Graham Childs of Childs Design and The Artisan Food trail who covered food branding and packaging. The other speakers were Roythornes’ Peter Bennett covering legal issues; Supply Chain Manager from Lincolnshire Co-op Nicola Berry, and Claire Martinsen, who founded Breckland Orchard - an award winning cordial and squash producer.
These, alongside other industry experts told the audience of food business owners and directors how to manage the new product development process from ‘kitchen concept to supermarket shelf’, covering issues such as innovation, branding, social media,
Speaking about the conference, Roythornes’ Marketing Manager Mark Dodds said:
“The event was extremely busy and generated lots of interesting discussions. To attract people from as far afield as London, Wigan and Ludlow showed that there is a real appetite for information.”
“We had delegates of all shapes and sizes, from start-up businesses who were considering concepts, through to producers who have their products on the shelves of many high street supermarkets.”
Mr Bennett, head of the food team and partner at Roythornes, added that new product development is a key issue for the food sector.
“The pace of change in the food sector means that companies always need to be looking towards their next innovation, no matter what their size. Add to this the drive to healthier choices, lower salt and sugar and more interest in the source of food and you have a really active market than needs to respond quickly.”
Talking about why the conference was held in Peterborough he said:
“The Peterborough region is a centre of food production and people would be amazed at the amount of food that is produced here from speciality coffee to breakfast cereals and artisan producers.”
Following the success of the event, Roythornes will be running another conference in 2015.