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Appetite: A Feast for Automation

13 December 2011

Appetite for Engineering, the ultimate networking conference for the food and beverage sector, will return for a fifth time at the Hinckley Island Hotel in Leicestershire on 12 June 2012

The good news is Appetite for Engineering will return for a fifth time, starring speakers from every part of the food sector, including Marks & Spencer, Warburtons and Oliver James Foods.

And the bad news... well, there isn't any, except that neglecting to book your place will cause you to lose out on what is expected to be one of the most important events of the year.

Why is it so important? The fact is the sector has never been so crucial to the UK economy; in fact, it's always been a huge player but it seems only recently that the government has awoken to the possibilities of looking after the goose that lays the golden eggs.

The theme of this year's event will be upbeat - we want participants and delegates to look beyond the endless gloom pervading the economy, and discover why the food sector offers us a real chance to return with a vengeance to the top of the agenda.

And here are just some reasons we should be so upbeat, as seen on the website of the Food & Drink Federation (FDF):

* The food and drink manufacturing industry is the single largest manufacturing sector in the UK, with a turnover of £72.3bn, with a gross value added of £20.0bn, accounting for 15% of the total manufacturing sector.
* The industry employs up to 400,000 workers. This represents just under 16% of the overall manufacturing workforce in the UK.
* Our sector is an important trading partner with Europe: exporting nearly £11bn of food and non-alcoholic drink products a year, 77% of which go the EU. We are the world's eighth largest exporter of food and drink.
* The industry is a key partner for British farmers: buying two thirds of all the UK's agricultural produce. All this economic activity is carried out by over 6,000 food and drink enterprises - many of which are small companies employing less than 10 people.
* Our sector invests over £1bn in to R&D each year enabling over 1,500 products to be launched every quarter.
* Production in our sector has been the most resilient and stable of all manufacturing industries throughout the recession with the industry consistently producing at levels over 10% higher than the manufacturing average.
* Our industry has increased the productivity of its labour force over the last 10 years by over 50% leaving food and drink workers in the UK 70% more productive than the EU average.

Confirmed speakers for this year's event include John Quinn, food technologist for traditional meals, gastropub and bistro at Marks & Spencer; the chief engineer and production manager at Warburtons; the owners of RM Group; the MD of Oliver James Foods in Redditch; and Macphie of Glenbervie and Interface.


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