FOR THE second year innovative suppliers and thought leaders of the foodservice buying community met for the annual Footprint Forum: Thought Leaders & Innovators Conference and Partnering Event 2013 at innocent's Ladbroke Grove HQ.
The recent tide of positive economic data, culminating in a revised OECD forecast suggesting that Britain would outpace the US, France and Germany in the second half of 2013, has innovation as one of its key ingredients. Much of this innovation is in the form of sustainable technologies and processes which address local and global issues and are having a positive financial impact on the bottom-line.
As a community the foodservice sector is progressive, leading the charge on innovation with an increasing understanding of the need to shift culture specifically in areas such as technology, waste, health and nutrition, logistics and general supply chain issues. In the words of Steve Jobs “Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower”.
Leaders of the industry participated in a dynamic plenary session which saw Dan Germain, innocent’s head of brand, talking about social media’s place in the context of sustainability. A later panel discussion with representation from Pret A Manger, Marine Stewardship Council, Vegware and innocent addressed the question of whether social media can aid environmental, social and therefore economic sustainability. A lively debate ensued.
The partnering session (a commercial speed dating session, as Footprint like to call it) was a huge success with 64 scheduled meetings and over 40 discretionary partnering sessions conducted. Innovations in the realms of logistics, waste management, packaging, protein alternatives, slaughter free milk, foraging, sea vegetables, cleaning materials, sodium free cheese and general food innovation were on display. The products were considered by some of the most important buyers in the industry representative of purchasing consortia, contract caterers in cost and profit sectors, leisure, hotel, pub and restaurant groups.
Footprint reported a number of commercial wins as a result of Thought Leaders & Innovators last year and hopes to announce more following the success of TL&I2013.
The full report and video of the event will shortly be available on the Footprint Forum members portal. A version will also be published in the November issue of Footprint Magazine.