November 4, 2021 11.18 am

UK Food Valley launched at Lincolnshire LEP conference

“This is the place to run a food business”

More than 250 delegates returned to the Greater Lincolnshire Local Enterprise Partnership conference this week, celebrating the launch of the first game-changing UK Food Valley.

The programme comprised talks and Q&A sessions about sectors in Lincolnshire and Rutland; defence and security, energy, ports and logistics and the food processing sector.

Delegates also heard about the positive impact of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP.

Some speakers joined the event remotely, including Kate Halliwell from the Food & Drink Federation.

Since its creation, it has created 3,000 jobs and secured £307 million from Government.

The UK Food Valley is a project to create a top 10 global food cluster and level up Greater Lincolnshire.

Its priorities are to:

  • Accelerate food chain automation and digital technology adoption to deliver productivity growth and high value jobs
  • Deliver low-carbon food chains from farm to fork by focusing on low carbon technologies for production, processing and distribution
  • Develop the market potential of naturally good-for-you foods and new sources of protein such as fish, vegetables, salads, fruit, pulses and lean meat

The UK Food Valley currently supports around 75,000 food sector jobs, 18% of jobs in the area compared to 4% of the UK workforce.

At its heart this concentration is much higher, for example in South Holland, which focuses on fresh produce and logistics, where 42% of the local workforce is in agrifood.

Over 250 delegates attended the LEP’s first live event in two years.

“It was really fantastic to bring people together for an in-person networking event where delegates could meet and catch up with old colleagues and contacts,” said Pat Doody, Chair of the Greater Lincolnshire LEP.

“We gathered an impressive range of expert speakers under one roof and as a result the discussions were extremely insightful and worthwhile.

“The pandemic has been a difficult period for everyone but I’m very excited about the opportunities that present themselves over the coming years.”

Pat Doody, Chair of the LEP, co-hosted the annual conference.

Sarah Louise Fairburn, who co-hosted the event, was delighted with the response to the launch of the UK Food Valley. “The energy in the room was palpable and you could feel a growing sense of excitement as the scale of this opportunity became clear,” she said.

“What we’re creating here is something that is not just nationally but internationally significant. This is the place to run a food business. I am personally so excited about the UK Food Valley because it’s all about product innovation and product development. Every aspect of it can be done here in Greater Lincolnshire and that’s what I love about our area.

“The UK Food Valley really will take the agrifood sector to the next level.”

The conference attracted delegates of all ages!

Among the speakers at the UK Food Valley launch were Martin Hanson from HSBC (left) and Dr Nigel Davies from Muntons Plc.

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