Site operator, The Food and Drink Forum is led by an industry Board sourced from businesses, academic institutions and other key bodies involved in food and drink manufacturing and its supply-chains. They strive to always ensure the Forum’s services and funded support are reflective of businesses’ needs. Working with national funding bodies, local and regional economic development agencies, local councils and, most importantly, the businesses within the sector, the Forum continues to stimulate and support the sustainable development of the industry. Key projects the Forum has delivered include:
- The first public/private food park in England (Southglade Food Park) was opened in 2005 by Nottingham City Council to provide food manufacturers with modern food grade premises and easy access to business support. This uniquely successful £5m project and the Forum’s onsite food technical and specialist business support has enabled start-up and SMEs to build their businesses in confidence. The success of the project led to the development of Phase 2 in 2015, which with an additional twelve units makes Southglade Food Park one of the largest purpose-built food parks in the UK.
- The Forum also manages Leicester Food Park, in partnership with the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce. This Leicester City Council-owned site offers nine purpose-built food grade units to food and drink businesses and has proved to be hugely popular with all nine units being occupied on the site opening in February 2015.
- In conjunction with regional partners in the East Midlands, the Forum operated The Food and Drink iNet (innovation network) which co-ordinated specialist support to stimulate innovation in the food and drink industry. Working at the heart of the food and drink sector, the iNet developed an effective network that provided funding to bring businesses’ ideas and academic expertise together to drive innovation. In its first three years the Food and Drink iNet supported more than 80 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with grants for innovation projects and delivered over 1000 instances of one-to-one tailored business advice and guidance.
- In conjunction with regional partners in the Midlands, the Forum operates FEAST2 to co-ordinate specialist support to stimulate competitiveness in the food and drink industry. Working at the heart of the food and drink sector, FEAST2 has developed an effective network that can provide funding, and specialist technical / mentoring support to food and drink businesses to enable growth within the sector.
The Forum is managed by a team of dedicated food industry professionals with a wealth of experience and expertise between them. Their first-hand knowledge of a wide range of industry issues can be used to support businesses to avoid pitfalls and grasp opportunities so as to flourish and grow. The Forum’s membership is open to firms throughout the food supply chain, from primary producers to retailers and distributors, but the majority of our members are small and medium-sized processors and manufacturers. The Forum’s services provide relevant skills, knowledge and expertise to all companies – whatever size or stage of development they may be at.
As a not-for-profit organisation, you can be assured of the Forum’s commitment to the success of your business and the growth of the food and drink industry.