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The changing face of food retail

01/06/15
Dan Crossley
Dan Crossley explains what makes our Business Forums special.
The changing face of food retail

 

We’ve sat round the table 49 times with senior food executives, unpicking, exploring, chewing over, challenging and learning. Forty nine times we’ve given our guests an opportunity to take off their ‘corporate hats’ and dive into ethical food issues in a way they can’t do elsewhere.

During those eight years we’ve heard from a cornucopia of leading experts on food, farming, fairness, health, animal welfare and the environment. So, would the 50th anniversary meeting of our Business Forum live up to expectations…?

For the 50th dinner meeting, we were lucky to be joined by none other than Justin King, one of the leading figures from the world of food over the past decade and more.

Chatham House rule prevents me from sharing exactly what he said – suffice to say that Justin provoked and informed in equal measure and that it was inspiring to be a part of. We were also delighted to welcome my predecessor Tom MacMillan, who dreamt up the Business Forum concept.

We celebrated with a glass of champagne, a delicious meal, a lively discussion and a special publication we had produced for the evening, which drew out (some of!) the insights from our first 50 meetings. Please do read it, share it, comment on it and enjoy it!

The success and longevity of our Business Forum has, in my view, been down to a simple but perfect blend of ingredients – expert speakers, the careful creation of a safe space to explore contentious issues, good food (and wine) and engaged executives from progressive food companies who want to be stretched and challenged.

Crucially, we don’t do this ‘for fun’. It’s hard to formally track its impacts, but we know anecdotally from what our Business Forum members have told us that they have found the discussions invaluable and that they have taken different and more considered decisions back in the workplace as a result.

And for those that can’t come to the meetings, we share a non-attributed write-up of the event too – so you can all benefit from the collective wisdom of those in the room.

Here’s to the next 50!

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