The first edition of Festival of Fresh attracted more than 650 delegates from over 40 countries who discussed the UK fruit and vegetable panorama. Organised by the Fresh Produce Journal in collaboration with NFU, British Growers, British Apples & Pears, British Summer Fruits, the National Fruit Show and the Worshipful Company of Fruiterers, the online event, held on 13th July covered topics from production and trade to marketing, retail, the Road to Net Zero, science, technology, and better business.
A panel debate of industry leaders featuring Lee Abbey (NFU), Ali Capper (NFU/British Apples & Pears), Nick Marston (British Summer Fruits) and Jack Ward (British Growers) expressed concerns about the slender margins currently available in the fresh produce sector. They called on retailers to ensure returns allow for reinvestment and for the industry to take advantage of the many opportunities it currently faces.
With the focus on sustainability, Caroline Drummond of LEAF outlined the valuable work her organisation is doing to help farmers on the road to net-zero production, while Protium’s Chris Jackson explained how hydrogen could become a key energy source for fruit and veg production going forward.
In a lively retail discussion, Kantar’s Joe Shaw Roberts and industry analyst Bryan Roberts presented their views on how the supermarket sector is performing.
Festival of Fresh programme manager Michael Barker said: “It was wonderful to see so many people from both the UK and around the world come together for a day of conversation, debate and presentations, sharing their expertise on how we can take this amazing industry forward. It’s been a terrific day, and I hope everyone has taken a huge amount of value from what they’ve heard.”