23rd September 2011, 2:29pm
New place for food industry leaders to debate challenges and opportunities
Food sector employees at the National Centre for Food Manufacturing in Holbeach A new forum where senior figures from the food industry can discuss the opportunities and challenges facing the sector is being launched at the University of Lincoln.

The inaugural meeting of the Food Sector Knowledge Forum will take place on 19th October 2011 at the Lincolnshire Leadership and Management Centre at the University's Lincoln Business School.

Around 60 senior staff from organisations across the sector are expected to attend. Delegates will discuss ways of ‘future-proofing’ their businesses against the uncertainties of the new global economic landscape.

Speakers include Lord Haskins of Skidby, founder and former Chairman of Northern Foods plc, Brian Stein, Chief Executive of Samworth Brothers Limited, and Andrew Fearne, Professor of Food Marketing and Supply Chain Management at the University of Kent.

Further meetings of the Food Sector Knowledge Forum will be scheduled once a quarter.

Phil Considine, Senior Lecturer in Lincoln Business School, who is organising the event, said: “The aim of the forum is to provide an environment for senior figures from across the sector to exchange ideas. It’s also a chance for people to take a step back from their day-to-day business and look strategically at some of the emerging issues affecting the food sector as whole. We will be looking at key trends and challenges on the horizon, and discussing how we can meet those challenges.”

The food industry employs 3.7 million people in the UK and contributes almost £90 billion to the economy, according to official figures. Food and drink manufacturing is the largest element of the UK’s manufacturing sector.

Lincolnshire, which is traditionally known as the 'breadbasket' of England due to the volume of produce grown in the county, is today at the heartland of this vital industry. The University of Lincoln is playing an important role, providing education, training and research expertise through its National Centre for Food Manufacturing at Holbeach and agricultural college at Riseholme.

The inaugural meeting of the Food Sector Knowledge Forum will also see the launch of the University of Lincoln's highly anticipated MBA for Food and Related Industries, a new masters programme due to open doors to students in January 2012, which has been designed specifically for managers of organisations in the sector. It further develops Lincoln's established expertise in delivering training and education for the food sector and devising bespoke corporate development programmes for large organisations.

Professor Martin Hingley, Professor of Strategic Marketing at Lincoln Business School, said: “The MBA programme builds on our experience in delivering postgraduate programmes to senior managers in a wide range of sectors. We will be utilising our expertise in this sector and working closely with the National Centre for Food Manufacturing to ensure we fully meet the needs of the industry.”

For more information on the Food Sector Knowledge Forum or the University of Lincoln’s new MBA for Food and Related Industries, contact Veronica Cini, Operations Co-ordinator at the Lincolnshire Leadership and Management Centre, on: vcini@lincoln.ac.uk
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