AFTP Annual Conference 2018

AFTP Conference 2018: Challenges for the agrifood industry in delivering the UK Industrial Strategy and Environment Plan

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3rd July 2018

Royal Society of Chemistry, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BA. 


Tube: The closest tube stations to the the Royal Society of Chemistry are Piccadilly Circus (on the Piccadilly and Bakerloo lines) and Green Park (on the Jubilee, Piccadilly and Victoria lines). Oxford Circus and Bond Street are the nearest tube stations on the Central Line. Both are approximately five-ten minutes walk away from the venue.

Bus: Numerous bus routes stop at Piccadilly outside the Royal Society of Chemistry and on nearby Regent Street.

Plan your Journey: Transport for London

Why should I attend?

This event will provide attendees with an insight into developments within their sector that align to the UK Industrial Strategy, and provide an opportunity for Q&A with industry and policy leaders and those driving innovation in agrifood.

Who should attend?

  • Industry leaders and professionals

  • Policy makers and influencers

  • Businesses working or interested in working with the AFTP

  • AgriTech Centres and their associated staff and academics

  • Academics with interests related to the agrifood industry

  • AFTP participants and prospective participants

Background to the event:

In November 2017 the government published the Industrial Strategy which is available here. Key points included:

Four Grand Challenges:

  • AI & Data Economy: We will put the UK at the forefront of the artificial intelligence and data revolution

  • Future of Mobility: We will become a world leader in the way people, goods and services move

  • Clean Growth: We will maximise the advantages for UK industry from the global shift to clean growth

  • Ageing Society: We will harness the power of innovation to help meet the needs of an ageing society

Five Foundations of Productivity

  • Ideas: the world’s most innovative economy

  • People: good jobs and greater earning power for all

  • Infrastructure: a major upgrade to the UK’s infrastructure

  • Business environment: the best place to start and grow a business

  • Places: prosperous communities across the UK

Registration Fee:

Industry and Academia:




Registration and refreshments


Welcome and opening address
Colin Dennis CBE, Chair of Executive Board AgriFood Training Partnership


Keynote speaker

The Industrial Strategy & how its Grand Challenges can be addressed by the Agrifood Industry
Iain Ferguson CBE, Joint Chair Food and Drink Sector Council


Challenge 1: AI and the Data Economy

Data driven paradigms for food safety, nutrition and health in a digitised world
Cronan McNamara, Founder & CEO of Creme Global

AgTech 2.0 - Machine Learning and beyond
Will Wells, CEO Hummingbird Technologies


Questions to speakers on AI and the Data Economy


Challenge 2: Clean Growth

Clean Growth – the opportunities & the challenges for Red Tractor
Jim Moseley, Chief Executive Officer Red Tractor

Clean growth in the context of FDF’s Ambition 2025
Helen Munday, Chief Scientific Officer at FDF


Questions to speakers on Clean Growth


Associated British Foods (ABF) - Our AFTP experiences and benefits to our businesses
Neil Bird, Head of Science, Allied Technical Centre




Challenge 3: Future of Mobility

Squaring the circle: sustainable, affordable and healthy 
Tim J Smith, Adviser to Tesco Plc

Blockchain: The end of food fraud?
Bob Yelland, Head of Blockchain Marketing, IBM


Questions to speakers on Future of Mobility


Challenge 4: Ageing Society

Interventions to keep people healthy and independent into old age: opportunities for industry
John Mathers, Professor of Human Nutrition and Scientific Director for the Institute of Ageing and Health, University of Newcastle

Developing Foods for an Ageing Population
Dr Lisa Methven, Associate Professor in Food and Sensory Science, Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading


Questions to speakers on Ageing Society


The relevance of the AFTP to the five foundations of the industrial strategy
Carol Wagstaff, AFTP Director and Professor of Crop Quality for Health at the University of Reading


Chair’s closing remarks
Colin Dennis, CBE, Chair of Executive Board AgriFood Training Partnership


Drinks reception, networking and poster session



Speakers include:

Colin Dennis

Professor Colin Dennis, CBE, DL: Chair of the Executive Board of the AgriFood Training Partnership and the Board of Trustees of the International Food Information Service (IFIS)

Topic Title: Chair’s welcome

Biography: Colin is, currently, Chair of the Executive Board of the AgriFood Training Partnership and the Board of Trustees of the International Food Information Service (IFIS), the Vice-Chair of Trustees and Governor of the British Nutrition Foundation, a member of the Audit & Risk Committee of the Royal Agricultural University and a Board member of the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink.

After graduating with a bachelors and doctorate from Sheffield University, his career in food science and technology spans more than 47 years. Initially 11 years at the Institute of Food Research, followed by 28 years at CampdenBRI, including 21 years as Director-General (CEO) with the last 9 years as a consultant, advisor and volunteer. From 1991 to 2006, he was the Unilever Visiting Professor in Food Science at Queen’s University, Belfast.

He is a Fellow and Past President (2011-2013) of the UK's IFST, a Fellow and Past President (2015-2016) of IFT (USA), a Fellow of the International Academy of Food Science & Technology and Past Chairman of the Scientific Council of International Union of Food Science & Technology.

He has served on many Government and Industry Advisory Committees in the UK, Belgium, Australia, Canada, USA, South Africa, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. He was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)in 2009, for services to the agri-food industry, received IFT’s Myron Solberg Award in 2011 for promoting collaboration between industry, academia and government and made a Honorary Fellow of IFST in 2017. Colin has also served as a Deputy Lieutenant for Gloucestershire since 2005.

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Iain Ferguson

Iain Ferguson CBE: Chairman of Hallmarq Ltd, Stobart Group Ltd and Wilton Park (FCO Agency)

Topic Title: The Industrial Strategy and how its Grand Challenges can be addressed by the Agrifood Industry

Biography: Iain is the Chairman of Hallmarq Ltd, Stobart Group Ltd and Wilton Park (FCO Agency) ,and a Non –Executive Director on the Board of Balfour Beatty plc and Personal Assets Trust plc. He is also a member of Council at Cranfield University and Governor Emeritus of the British Nutrition Foundation. He has been President of The Food and Drink Federation (FDF), President of the Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) , a member of the Council of Food Policy Advisors (Defra) and a member ofThe Foresight Global Food and Farming Project. He was previously Lead Non-Executive Board member at Defra and a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of Berendsen plc, Sygen plc, Gregg’s plc, Companies House and Rothamsted Research Ltd.

He was CEO of Tate & Lyle plc from May 2003 until the end of 2009 and had previously been with Unilever for 26 years (from 1977) following graduation from St Andrews University. He was awarded a CBE for services to the food industry in the June 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

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Cronan McNamara

Cronan McNamara:Founder & CEO, Creme Global, Founder & Director, Predict Conference, Member, Irish Government, Open Data Governance Board

Topic Title: Data-Driven Paradigms for Food Safety, Nutrition and Health in a Digitized World

Biography: Cronan’s passion is in applying data and predictive models to solve problems in order to help people to make better decisions. His vision is a world where everyone makes better decisions, based on real data and expert models.

Prior to founding Creme Global in 2005, Cronan worked in financial risk analysis and derivative option price modelling with Merrill Lynch Capital Markets Bank. Cronan then moved to Trinity College Dublin where he adapted the same mathematical methods to the food safety sector while developing the science and technology that underpins Creme Global.

In 2015, Cronan founded the Predict Conference in Dublin, became Chair of the Irish Software Association and joined the Government's Open Data Governance Board.

Cronan has received the Trinity College Innovation Award (2010) in recognition for the success of Creme Global. Creme Global has been awarded the Deloitte Irish Technology Fast 50 award in every of the last six years (2010-2015) and the Deloitte Technology EMEA Fast 500 award twice (2011, 2012).

Cronan holds a BSc in Physics from University College Dublin (UCD), an MSc in High Performance Computing from Trinity College Dublin (TCD), a post graduate diploma in International Sales from the Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT) and a certificate of completion from the CEO Accelerated Growth Programme in the Judge Business School in Cambridge University. It was during his time studying Physics in UCD that Cronan realised that computing and developing predictive models would form the basis of his life’s work.

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Will Wells

Will Wells: Founder Hummingbird Technologies

Topic Title: AgTech 2.0 - Machine Learning and beyond

Biography: Will founded Hummingbird Technologies in January 2016, where the business spent its first year developing Machine Learning algorithms at the Imperial College technology incubator. Prior to this, Will spent 10 years in the Finance and Investment sector. This included M&A and other special advisory roles at Citigroup and Lincoln International, as well as investment management at the successful multi-billion dollar Highclere global equity fund, where he was also a Partner. Will grew up on a farm and is a keen sportsman. He holds an MBA from INSEAD Business School and a First Class MA Honours degree in English Literature from the University of Edinburgh. Will sits on the Board of a Royal Marsden cancer charity and Math Engine plc, a UK public investment fund.

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Jim Moseley

Jim Moseley: Chief Executive Officer Red Tractor Assurance

Topic Title: Clean Growth

Biography: Jim has spent his whole career in the Food & Drink Industry. Starting with FMC Meat Ltd - at the time Europe's largest Meat Group, then joining Ovaltine manufacturer Wander Foods, where he was responsible for the UK launch of the sports drink Isostar.

Recruited by Tulip as the Sales & Marketing Director, Jim spent 12 years with the group before moving to General Mills UK in 1999 as the Managing Director. At General Mills he was responsible for a broad portfolio of high profile brands including Häagen-Dazs, Old El Paso, Green Giant and Nature Valley in the UK, Ireland and Nordic markets.

Jim joined Mizkan Euro Ltd as the European Managing Director in 2015 and was also appointed as Chairman of Red Tractor Assurance, subsequently moving to the role of CEO Red Tractor in July 2017.

In addition Jim has served as the Chairman of The Provision Trade Federation, President of the Food & Drink Federation and has been a Board member of FoodDrinkEurope.

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Helen Munday

Helen Munday: Chief Scientific Officer at FDF

Topic Title: Clean Growth in the context of FDF’s Ambition 2025

Biography: Helen Munday re-joined the Food and Drink Federation in 2016 as Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) having worked for the trade association as Director of Food Safety and Science earlier in her career. In her role as CSO, Helen is accountable for sustainability and the diverse food safety and science policy briefs at FDF, and as a Registered Nutritionist also contributes to health and wellbeing policy.

Helen has a wealth of experience of the food and drink industry, having previously held senior global roles in companies such as Mars and Coca-Cola. Helen has also worked as Lead Technologist in AgriFood at Innovate UK. Helen has a high level of expertise in R&D, Scientific and Regulatory Affairs as well as Product Development and Innovation across the AgriFood chain.

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Neil Bird

Neil Bird: Head of Science, ATC (Allied Technical Centre)

Topic Title: Associated British Foods (ABF) – Our AFTP Experiences and Benefits to our Businesses

Biography: ATC (Allied Technical Centre) is part of the Milling & Baking Division of Associated British Foods PLC. Neil has a BSc in Chemistry from the University of Bradford and joined ABF as a Graduate Trainee in 1983. He has had many roles within the business, starting as a food analyst before moving into various other roles including laboratory management, supplier auditing, managing a consumer care line and supporting the ABF company acquisition team in technical due diligence assessments. His current role includes technical issue risk management, technology horizon scanning and putting science into context for consumers and other functions within the business. He is an expert on food contamination issues and represents the company on several industry committees.

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Tim Smith

Tim J Smith: Adviser to Tesco Plc

Topic Title: Squaring the circle: Sustainable, Affordable and Healthy

Biography: Tim is currently acting as adviser to Tesco on food policy, including health, agriculture and food waste. In October 2012 Tim joined Tesco as the Group Quality Director, prior to this he was the Chief Executive of the UK’s Food Standards Agency for five years. At the FSA he created the groundbreaking national food hygiene rating system, transformed the regulation of the meat sector and is widely credited for programmes to reduce salt in the nation’s diet and provide the best consumer information using front of pack colour labelling. He was the first public figure to call for a soft drink tax.

Tim graduated from Leeds University with a degree in Microbiology and Zoology. Before his spell as a regulator, he had spent his entire career in the food business: from 1979 to 1994 he was at Northern Foods, finishing his career there as a Divisional Director. His time there was marked by strong growth in both the chilled prepared foods businesses serving all the major retailers and in the transformation of the dairy sector where he led numerous rationalisation and investment programmes as the shift from doorstep delivery to supermarket sales accelerated. Five years at Sara Lee Corporation followed, where he was President of the UK business during which time he made a series of structural acquisitions and organically grew the brand to an unassailed number one position in the UK and Europe. He then joined the Express Dairies PLC Board as Executive Director with broad responsibility for commercial, marketing, strategy, HR. His primary task was negotiate structural change with competitors such that Express Dairies merged with Arla Foods in October 2003, where he was appointed Chief Executive in early 2005. Under his leadership the Arla brands (Lurpak, Anchor and Cravendale) overhauled their competitors in the market and the company had an unassailable lead in the supply of fresh cream and milk to five of the six retailers. He is now a Non-Executive Director of Cranswick Plc and holds a number of external advisory and charity roles.

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Bob Yelland

Bob Yelland: Head of Blockchain marketing IBM

Topic Title: Blockchain: The end of food fraud?

Biography: Bob Yelland is passionate about many things, from beekeeping to big data and from medieval castles to marketing. He is unashamedly a technology marketer who enjoys helping clients to understand the power and potential of emerging concepts in IT. As a 'new boy' to the blockchain world he is responsible for helping clients understand the concepts behind this transformational technology whilst avoiding the inevitable hype that surrounds it.

Bob Yelland said "Blockchain will transform business transactions across networks of companies, particularly across international boundaries, and open up new business models and closer co-operation within any supply chain where traceability and provenance are critical".

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John Mathers

John Mathers: Professor of Human Nutrition and Director of the Human Nutrition Research Centre in the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University, UK

Topic Title: Ageing Society

Biography: John Mathers is Professor of Human Nutrition and Director of the Human Nutrition Research Centre in the Institute of Cellular Medicine at Newcastle University, UK. He is a past President of the Nutrition Society and former Scientific Director of the Institute for Ageing and Health, Newcastle University. John Mathers undertook undergraduate studies in Newcastle University and PhD training in Nutrition at Cambridge University. He was a post doc in Cambridge University and a Research Fellow in Edinburgh University before being appointed to Newcastle University.

John Mathers’ major research interests are in understanding how eating patterns influence risks of common age-related diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, dementia and bowel cancer. He was a founding member, and is currently Chair, of NuGO (the European Nutrigenomics Organisation) and his research includes use of genomic and epigenomics tools to understand the mechanisms though which nutrition influences cell function and, ultimately, health. He led LiveWell Programme of research which developed and piloted an internet-based intervention designed to help older people improve lifestyle and to promote better health and independence into old age. John Mathers also led the EU FP7-funded Food4Me intervention study across 7 European countries which tested the idea that a personalised nutrition approach is more effective than the conventional “one-size-fits-all” approach in improving dietary behaviour. These web-delivered personalised approaches are also being investigated in the current MedEx-UK project - a collaboration between the Universities of East Anglia, Birmingham and Newcastle – which aims to improve lifestyle and to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s Disease.

John Mathers

Dr Lisa Methven, Associate Professor in Food and Sensory Science, Department of Food and Nutritional Sciences, University of Reading, UK

Topic Title: Developing Foods for an Ageing Population

Biography: Lisa is Associate Professor in Food and Sensory Science at the University of Reading. She is Director of the Food Research Group and Manager of the Sensory Science Centre. Her research focuses on individual differences in sensory perception of foods and their association with liking, food choice and dietary intake. One specific area of this research has focused on improving the palatability of foods designed to meet the nutritional needs of older people as she will discuss in this conference.

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Carol Wagstaff

Professor Carol Wagstaff, AFTP Director and Professor of Crop Quality for Health at the University of Reading

Topic Title: The relevance of the AFTP to the five foundations of the industrial strategy

Biography: Carol received her DPhil from the University of York in 1999 and is also an alumnus of Royal Holloway, University of London. She was appointed as Assistant Professor at University of Reading in January 2007 and promoted to Associate Professor in 2010. She took over the Directorship of the BBSRC Food Advanced Training Partnership in 2012 and has subsequently become the Director of the AgriFood Training Partnership. She is also on the review panel of the Swedish Research Council for Natural, engineering and environmental sciences, Chair of Eucarpia Leafy Vegetables Group and on the editorial boards of the Journal of Food and Agricultural Science and Annual Plant Reviews Online. Her research team at the University of Reading is funded by external sources in collaboration with numerous businesses in the AgriFood industry and is focused on improving the quality of food, including the nutritional value, appearance, flavour and shelf life, as well as helping consumers make healthy dietary choices.

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