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College students meet HRH The Princess Royal at food event

27 February 2014

From left to right: Andrew Bissmire (MSc Postharvest Technology), Sarah Farnham (BSc Animal Science), Brian Smyth (BSc Agriculture), Nieky van Veggel (lecturer), HRH The Princess Royal, and Lucy King (BSc Agriculture)
From left to right: Andrew Bissmire (MSc Postharvest Technology), Sarah Farnham (BSc Animal Science), Brian Smyth (BSc Agriculture), Nieky van Veggel (lecturer), HRH The Princess Royal, and Lucy King (BSc Agriculture)

A group of students at Writtle College, a partner of the University of Essex, met HRH The Princess Royal at a food industry event in Guildhall.

The City Food Lecture is delivered every year by a leading figure in the British food business who is invited to speak about the issues they regard as most important in shaping the way food is produced, distributed, marketed, sold and consumed.

Held in the Great Hall at the capital’s Guildhall, the event is organised by seven City of London livery companies whose roots are in the food industry – namely the Worshipful Companies of Bakers, butchers, cooks, farmers, fishmongers, fruiterers and poulters.

Among those at the invitation only event were Writtle College’s Andrew Bissmire, who is studying an MSc Postharvest Technology, BSc Animal Science student Sarah Farnham and BSc Agriculture students Brian Smyth and Lucy King.

Lecturers Nieky Van Veggel, Dr Chris Bishop and Henry Matthews as well as governor Chris Newenham also attended the over-subscribed event.

Dr Chris Bishop, Reader in Postharvest Technology, said: “This was an excellent opportunity for the students to appreciate just how big the food industry is, ranging from companies with turnovers in billions of pounds to small niche suppliers.”

Charles Wilson, chief executive officer of leading wholesaler Booker, delivered this year’s lecture, entitled ‘Growth Outside the Supermarkets’.

His lecture was followed by a question and answer session with a panel of eminent food industry specialists. The panel included Doug Gurr, Vice President of Amazon UK, Ronald Kers, CEO of Muller-Wiseman, and Andrew Main, CEO of Aramark.

The students went to the event after visiting the Sainsbury’s store support centre in Holborn. Brian, who is also the College’s Students’ Union President, said: “This was an exceptional experience from a student’s point of view to meet and chat with heads of multinational companies in the food industry, discussing the future importance of food production and the numerous graduate programmes open to students studying in this sector."


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