What is Food Matters Live?
Food Matters Live is an annual event that provides a platform for thought-provoking, cross-sector debate and encourages cross-sector collaboration. Taking place from 22 - 24 November 2016 at London’s ExCeL, it includes:
- 600 leading organisations forming a carefully curated exhibition
- 400 speakers participating in the conference and seminar programme
- 100 free to attend conference and seminar sessions
- Six educational and inspiring attractions
- A series of special events presenting visitors and exhibitors with unique networking and business opportunities
- Thousands of visitors from a range of professions and disciplines, including food science and manufacturing, R&D, food marketing and brand management, retailing, nutrition and public health
What do you consider to be the key challenges in food and health?
This year has once again seen issues relating to diet, health and our food and drink landscape dominate headlines and be the subject of debate across all parts of society.
We’ve seen new and unexpected policies such as the UK sugar tax on carbonated drinks, and a controversial obesity strategy, which while welcomed as a starting point, fell short for many people on its promise to be game changing.
Elsewhere, we have seen Food Standards Scotland put the impact of diet on obesity at the heart of its approach, while in Ireland work has begun on an Obesity Policy and Action Plan - and other countries are looking to follow suit with Portugal among the latest to unveil plans for a sugar tax.
Large manufacturers, foodservice companies and restaurant chains are responding with pledges to make health and wellbeing even more core to their businesses in a bid to encourage healthier food choices by consumers. Across the food supply chain, momentum around health and wellbeing is showing no signs of slowing down. Ingredients’ manufacturers continue to keep a strong focus on clean label formulations and natural ingredients to support healthier product development, while also recognising the need to stay connected to the fast changing demands of the consumer.
But, while the health and wellbeing trend gathers pace, the paradox is the burden of diet-related disease is rapidly increasing worldwide, affecting communities and placing pressure on economies and health systems.
There is no one single solution to these complex issues – and the solution requires joined up, multi-stakeholder action to overcome these challenges.
What makes the event unique?
Because the food and drink industry is changing faster than ever, the issues that affect us all are multiplying too. So Food Matters Live is the one place where the entire industry can meet, in person, to discuss new ways of working. Progress comes from debate, from inspiration, from challenging assumptions. Food Matters Live is a forum, a convention, an exhibition, and more. From retail, marketing and manufacturing, to policy, health and nutrition, we're hosting great minds. People who come together to meet the challenges and take every opportunity to find solutions.
How has Food Matters Live evolved since its inception?
The 2016 edition of Food Matters Live will be the third time the event has run. Since 2014, it has developed into an event recognised for showcasing the latest innovation and a key place for debate and learning. With more than 15,000 visitors expected to attend this year, the three-day event is also fast becoming the best place for decision-makers in the food and drink industry, and those working in health and nutrition, to discover the latest products and innovation driving demand among healthy, environmentally-conscious consumers.
What are you most excited about on the programme this year?
There are so many great speakers on the education programme this year, it is challenging to pick out just a few aspects. It is pleasing to see an increase in business leaders from the food and drink industry join the high profile discussions and share best practice on their health and wellbeing strategies in the seminars this year – and engage with those working in nutrition and health in such a forum.
In addition, attracting speakers such as eating behaviour expert Professor Brian Wansink from the Cornell University Food and Drink Lab, renowned chef Raymond Blanc and athlete Paula Radcliffe, commissioner on the WHO Ending Childhood Obesity Programme indicates how far reaching the issues that Food Matters Live addresses really are.
The many innovative companies taking part this year is a testament to how the food and drink sector, and in particular the SME community, are setting future trends. In addition, attracting more international innovation to Food Matters Live in London is an exciting development for the event and one we look forward to building on in the future.
Describe Food Matters Live in 5 words