On Wednesday 29th March the first Nourish food & drink innovation conference was held at Barnham Broom, bringing together a group of speakers and attendees committed to shaping the future of food and drink in the Norfolk and Suffolk. Hosted by The Broadland Food Innovation Centre Project , a dynamic new project with the aim of making a bold difference
to local food and drink producers by supporting and nurturing with people, services and funding that will enable them to flourish. The sell-out conference saw over 120 attendees come together from across the region with many more joining virtually.
The Conference was curated by the University of East Anglia’s (UEA) Food Innovation Cluster , who brought together an inspiring roster of entrepreneurs, thought leaders and brand builders from the world of food and drink. Attended by local SMEs and start-ups this inaugural collaborative and innovative think tank event tackled ideas, issues and decisions facing small businesses today. From environmental and sustainable considerations; the impact of rising costs; the food supply chain, to advice around the skills and tools that will help businesses grow and develop.
Speaker James Averdieck, Gü and The Coconut Collaborative said:
“UEA have created a thriving entrepreneurial cluster of food companies in East Anglia, which will really help startup companies in their early years. It was a very successful event – Good speakers , great debates and an engaging audience with bundles of energy.”
Hannah Springham, speaker and co-founder of Farmyard Frozen said: “It was a totally wonderful event! By far the best I’ve been to in this sector. This is Edinburgh Film & Tv Festival for Food & Drink. A genuinely inspiring day with so much to take away from it.”
Highlights from the Conference:
- Cassandra Stavrou, Founder of PROPER Snacks inspired the audience with the story of her success and shared advice about how to embrace creativity and emotion within all aspects of your business.
- James Averdieck, Founder of Gü & Coconut Collaborative told his story from a job in middle management to founding a number of successful global brands – as well as being open about the things that haven’t always gone so well.
- Hannah Springham, Founder of Farmyard Frozen in Norwich shared the journey that she and her chef partner took in lockdown to innovate the frozen food sector with restaurant quality food and how they look after the welfare and mental health of their team.
- Joseph Cordy, Head of Commercial at Paddy & Scott's Coffee demonstrated how the business sustainability and ethical values are central to how they do business and how the brand decided to invest in the farms and community they work with in Kenya. This sustainable and ethical approach feeds into the wellbeing of the business.
- Professor Andrew Fearne of Norwich Business School, UEA, started his presentation with an energising dance to House of Pain’s ‘Jump Around’ whilst following with a fascinating talk on the tools they have developed to help small businesses.
The afternoon session included a series of hands-on workshops so that attendees could deep-dive into a number of key areas from how to innovate and develop your food and drink products with Fergus Fitzgerald of Adnams and how the Broadland Food Innovation Centre Project can support local business, amongst other things.
The event concluded with a drinks reception that encouraged all guests to network and make vital connections. Throughout the day, over £600 was raised for Nourishing Norfolk and Suffolk Community Foundation with a raffle full of local food and drink and a silent auction.