For the first time ever, the baking industry came together at a conference conceived and delivered by the baking industry. Hosted by Roger Harrabin, independent environment expert, and one of the media’s most influential voices on the environment, energy and climate change; The Baking Forum swung into action on May 19th, to deliver a compelling and forward-thinking agenda.

The feedback from around 200 baking industry professionals, key service providers and ingredients suppliers, attending the ground-breaking event, was overwhelmingly enthusiastic and hugely positive. The event clearly put into focus the key challenges facing the baking industry today and a roster of outstanding speakers delivered plenty of food for thought, offering clear visions and potential solutions to future challenges.

Andrew Pyne, Chief Executive, of the Federation of Bakers commented: “The Baking Forum exceeded our expectations. It was wonderful to see so many key industry faces gathered together under one roof, sharing a common goal of navigating the best future for the baking industry. I thought the speakers were highly engaging, sharing their thoughts, visions and compelling ideas with real clarity. The knowledge exchange both from the speakers and between delegates was excellent and highly valued. I think this could only happen at this kind of unique baking industry event.”

James Walton, Chief Economist – IGD was the first speaker of the day and he delivered an absorbing overview of ‘The UK economic outlook and what it means for the UK Food & Beverage Industry’. This was followed and complimented by: ‘Trends, consumer behaviours and innovations for the baking industry’, a thought -provoking presentation delivered by Andrew Walker, Director, Client Service at Worldpanel by Kantar. Richard Hazeldine, Sales Director, Zealandia, commented: “All the speakers on the day were great however the ones that stuck out the most to me were James Walton from IGD and Andrew Walker at Worldpanel by Kantar. This is because they were most applicable to me and my role at Zealandia.” He continued: “There was plenty of opportunity to speak to a varied selection of people. It was a thoroughly enjoyable day and I would definitely like to see it take place next year.”

Jim Hawkridge, Product Development Director, AB Mauri UK & Ireland, was next up, and he grabbed everyone’s attention with his engrossing views on ‘The future of baking’, providing salient, thought-provoking answers to the questions on everyone’s lips.

Adopting Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices and standards is something that is hugely relevant to everyone in the industry.  Anna Turrell, Sustainability Director – Tesco, gave a well-received and engaging understanding of: ‘A retailer’s perspective on driving the ESG agenda.

The whole UK Food and Beverage industry is looking at alternative energy sources. Delegates benefited from a highly informed insight from renowned Emeritus Professor, Averil Macdonald OBE. Her key take out for delegates was ‘in the UK, the all-electric solution to achieving net zero can’t work in the timescales available – we can’t generate enough green electricity to go round or transmit enough to users – hydrogen has to be part of a multi-pronged approach’. Averil observed: “The event (a) demonstrated a clear agreement that the whole sector is experiencing the same problems – achieving net zero while struggling to attract the full diversity of talents – and (b) engendered an overwhelming atmosphere of willingness to work collaboratively to solve them”

The attention-grabbing net zero theme was continued in a conversation with Roger Harrabin, lead by Andrew Pyne on ‘The economic, social, political, and environmental case for the Bakery industry to accelerate a drive to Net zero.’ One of the key topics of conversation amongst many of the audience, throughout the day.

The FDF brings together business, government and stakeholders to ensure manufacturers have the right conditions to grow, invest and employ, while continuing to produce high quality, nutritious and affordable food and drink. With more than 1,000 members – from the most recognisable global brands to the most innovative start-ups – they represent the largest manufacturing sector in the country. The audience were lucky enough to have Karen Betts OBE, the FDF’s Chief Executive, highlighting the ‘FDF supporting the food industry and shaping the government’s agenda’.

The inspiring session of speakers was wrapped up with a Panel discussion and Q&A hosted by Roger Harrabin;giving delegates the opportunity to pose any burning questions to Roger, Anna Turrell, Professor Averil Macdonald, Karen Betts and Jim Hawkridge. Andrew Leroy, Sales Manager, Rondo Ltd UK commented: “I thought the complete panel and people that discussed today were fantastic and the event itself was magnificent and very well run. Looking forward to it again next year.”

Andrew Pollard, Managing Director of event Gold Sponsor, AB MAURI UK & Ireland, commented: “This has been an outstanding event. From the moment it began this morning, there has been a real buzz amongst the delegates. An outstanding collection of speakers, delivering exceedingly relevant material that we can all apply to our own businesses and use for the benefit of the industry as a whole. It’s been wonderful to have the opportunity to speak face to face with so many industry colleagues. The networking opportunities for everyone attending have been brilliant. We are very proud to have been the Gold Sponsor of what I think will be seen as a milestone event in the baking industry’s history”

Other delegates’ comments included: –

Michael Hamer, Baking Technology Manager, Warburton’s gave his verdict as: “Excellent session. Great speakers.”

Julie Fullilove, Director of Technical & Development, Allied Bakeries commented: “Great to see the coming together of so many businesses, and the dialogue between them.

Tom Hargate, Director, He gates Group of Companies thought: “ Very well organised and flowed well, with informative and qualified speakers. Ample time for breaks and discussion. Excellent.”

Dan McGlynn, Trace Gains enthused: This was a fantastic first event and one to be proud of.”

Steve Philpott. Head of Sales, Baker Perkins’ view was: “Excellent. Very good balance of presentation, discussion, and importantly – breaks for networking.”

The Baking Forum drew to a close in the evening, with a fabulous Gala dinner.

The Baking Forum proudly supports the Bakers Benevolent Society Fund, and was endorsed by the Federation of Bakers and the Association of Bakery Ingredient Manufactures (ABIM)

Editorial contact:
Editor: Kiran Grewal