As it says on the tin - Connections - brings industry decision makers together to discuss relevant industry issues and how they can be better and more speedily be addressed by the industry - forgoing government intervention.

Connections: working with food producers and buyers

The Connections Programme is a collaborative initiative within the industry. The Programme consist of several Trading Partner Groups (TPG), each group consists of a board of members and partners who have a vested interest in resolving some of the industry issues which collectively they have the ability to lead the way on, make changes and improve the outcomes – for the industry and the consumer.

So, these are partner panel groups, led and moderated by the UK Food Council, they drive industry advocacy, forums that solve sector-specific issues, working groups that complete projects/tasks and advisory groups that assess industry trends emerging issues - vital decision-making intelligence for senior managers, director and 'C' level executives.

The longevity of each individual TPG is dependent on the core industry issue/s they must address; some are short term projects some long-term challenges running from 1 - 3 years. The TPG sessions take place either every month or every quarter, during the interim periods the participants have ongoing remote independent dialogue feeding back into the Council on any specific 'breakthroughs' that can be fed back into the relevant industry sector.

The TPG sessions are held under Chatham House rules, hosted by the Council, on average each session has 16 participants each with their own level of expertise, each session has a duration of 3 - 4 hours, virtual sessions run for 1 - 2 hours.

Some of our groups are limited in the number of participants to enable specific outcomes to be acted upon quickly and decisively. We are always open to creating new groups to address an area that members are passionate about collaborating on with others.

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There are several active TPG's working on a variety of issues including:

The Future of Food - TPG Forum
Climate Action, Sustainable Foods, Innovation, Supply Chain Resilience.

Together leading brands and key stakeholders identify the main areas of opportunity and innovation within the food industry. We’ll assess what supply chain transformation actually means on the ground to ensure a more sustainable and resilient food system.

Biodiversity Performance in the Food Sector - TPG Forum
The aim is to raise the biodiversity performance of the sector by commonly accepted and implemented priority criteria for biodiversity for the whole food sector. The project partners bring stakeholders from the food sector together in order to promote dialogue and starting sector initiatives, e.g. as a round table on biodiversity in the food sector. This initiative provides basepoint for more and regular exchange among representatives from the food industry standards organisation and other stakeholders.

During the next session updates on the pre-set agenda items will be tabled, these include:

(1) Implementation and continuous improvement of a basic set of criteria for biodiversity for the food sector. (2) Dissemination and application of trainings modules on biodiversity for representatives from the food sector (3) Expansion of the Biodiversity Monitoring Systems and publication of monitoring results on a regular basis (4) Information and sensitizations of consumers about the value of biodiversity for sustainable food systems and health.

Sustainability in Packaging - TPG Forum

There will be significant impact on packaging converters and their value chain, which could threaten the survival of many in the industry. However, for packaging converters with the right focus and innovation capabilities, the new landscape could offer significant growth and new partnership opportunities to support customers in revising their packaging portfolios. Going forward, converters will have to proactively embrace sustainability issues as consumer demands and regulatory requirements multiply. So how can this be opportunities be realised in the short to medium term?

Next Monthly TPG Session: 15/09/2022 - Langham Street, London, W1

Technology Deployment in the Food Industry  - TPG Forum

With the food industry facing a raft of post-COVID challenges, it has never been more important to have a clear strategy, embrace change and use digital technology to drive operational excellence.

How does the industry leverage the full potential of current and emerging technologies to improve industry competitiveness in an uncertain, digital world? The food industry utilises a diverse range of technologies which have been developed thanks to advances in a multitude of disciplines including, mechanical engineering, electronics and chemistry. Recent developments have led to several new technologies that will provide greater benefit to this sector. The group will be discussing the role and use of technology and innovation to plan, recover and come back stronger in a very different world. There are four sessions planned for 2022, the first of which will focus the foodservice sector.