The Times and The Sunday Times Scotland launch The Future of Food and Drink Summit, in partnership with Opportunity North East


THE TIMES and The Sunday Times Scotland today announce the launch of The Future and Food and Drink Summit, in partnership with Opportunity North East (ONE) on Tuesday 28th November. This summit will offer a fundamental “field to fork” overview of Britain’s thriving food and drink industry, bringing together global brands alongside start-ups to spotlight fresh avenues for future growth. 

Taking place in-person at P&J Live, Aberdeen – a city of strategic importance for the industry, with the region accounting for more than 20% of Scotland’s output. The summit will stage a dialogue on the future of the food and drink from several critical angles: product innovation, market development, the drive to net zero, challenges for supply chains and the radical potential in scaling-up for new businesses in the sector. With an audience and speaking cohort ranging from industry analysts, supermarket leaders, policy-makers and manufacturers, this event will amplify voices from across the entire supply chain to clear the road for future growth. The audience will hear from industry experts including Pip Murray, Founder, Pip and Nut; Martyn Lee, Executive Chef, Waitrose & Partners, and Martyn Gray, CEO, Nairns Oatcakes. 

Magnus Llewellin, Editor of The Times and Sunday Times Scotland, will open the day’s proceedings with a welcome talk, alongside Times Radio Presenter Calum MacDonald, before the summit begins with a series of panel discussions, fireside chats and keynote addresses.

Magnus Llewellin, editor of The Times and the Sunday Times in Scotland, said: “This summit will unite the biggest names and the upcoming stars in Scottish food and drink. By bringing the most important players together in one space we’ll be able to share insights, spot opportunities for innovation and produce a road map for growth in one of Scotland’s most important sectors.”

The summit’s agenda will centre around a thorough exploration into how the UK’s biggest manufacturing sector can deliver more entrepreneurial growth and high-skilled jobs, and increase productivity and profitability. Beginning with a discussion on the challenges of scaling businesses, leading entrepreneurs who have scaled successfully will share their stories, and explore the challenges facing today’s business leaders. Following this, Martyn Gray will explore how Nairns saw 600 per cent growth over ten years driven through global expansion, offering inspiration for start-ups looking to do the same. 

Following a networking break, the conversation will switch from production to investment, with an essential dialogue on what leading investors look for, and where the opportunities lie for Scottish entrepreneurs. Pip Murray’s fireside chat will be with Giles Brook, CEO of WhiteSpace Ventures, in a fruitful exchange on the relationship between an investor and a start-up. 

As the summit reaches the afternoon, conversation will lean into innovation, food production, and the future tendencies in customer market trends. As new technologies like vertical farming offer fresh horizons for agri-business, a panel will interrogate how technology is shifting the coordinates in food production, before David Farquhar, CEO, Intelligent Growth Solutions (IGS), offers a quick-fire study into how automation can be used for growth in the sector. Following this, a panel featuring Jonny Forsyth, Director, Mintel Food and Drink; Melanie Goldsmith, CEO, Juicy Brick; Martyn Lee, and Calum MacDonald, will investigate how the food and drink market will develop alongside current consumer trends to lay the track for future growth. 

To close the day, Jennifer Craw, Chief Executive at ONE, will give ONE’s perspective on the summit’s themes, before a drinks reception gives guests the chance to network, as well as sample some wonderful food and drink produced in the north east and beyond.

Jennifer Craw, speaking ahead of the summit, said: “The summit will bring together key people from across the UK industry to inspire ambition and explore the action and investment that will drive growth in this dynamic and innovative industry. North East Scotland’s food and drink businesses are industry-leading. With ONE SeedPod’s support, they will continue to invest in premium market development, product and process innovation and sustainable production. The sector will grow faster, create more value and provide more high-skill jobs – contributing to economic diversification.”

Speaker List:

Pip Murray, Founder, Pip and Nut   

Melanie Goldsmith, CEO, Juicy Brick      

Calum Macdonald, Presenter, Times Radio  

Giles Brook, CEO, WhiteSpace Ventures    

David Farquhar, CEO, Intelligent Growth Systems

Jennifer Craw, Chief Executive, @Opportunity North East (ONE) 

Graeme Littlejohn, Director of Strategy & Communications, @Scotch Whisky Association

Jonny Forsyth, Director, @Mintel Food and Drink     

Gillian Bowditch, Commentator, Chair, @The Sunday Times Scotland, @ The British Association of Women Entrepreneurs (BAWE)

Martyn Gray, CEO, @Nairns   

Martyn Lee, Executive Chef, @Waitrose

Keith Thornhill, Head of Food & Beverage UK and Ireland, @Siemens Digital Factory 

For more information about the event and to register, go to:

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