Lincolnshire Food & Drink and local businesses attend the DEFRA Regional Food Summit

Lincolnshire Food & Drink and local businesses attend the DEFRA Regional Food Summit

The DEFRA Regional Food Summit took place on Wednesday 2nd March 2022 in Birmingham, and brought together sector SMEs, regional food groups (RFGs) and other organisations with an interest in supporting regional and local food and drink.

Lincolnshire Food & Drink’s Business Development Executive Alex Bavin attended to promote Lincolnshire’s fantastic food and drink delicacies and make contact with like-minded delegates to work together on creating a strong regional presence.

With over 200 delegates, the Summit was well attended and Lincolnshire was highly visible with businesses such as The Lincoln Distillery, Stokes Tea & Coffee, and Ferry Ales Brewery., and other local organisations including The Greater Lincolnshire LEP and Lincolnshire Food Partnership.

The Lincolnshire Chamber of Commerce’s International Trade Coach Eve Farley also joined the delegates to discuss export options for the sector, to help these great businesses expand beyond our borders

The Summit also provided workshops, networking opportunities, and aimed to deliver the Government’s manifesto commitment to ensure that “people, both at home and abroad are lining up to buy British.”

Alex, Eve, and the other delegates enjoyed a great line-up of speakers which included Minister of State for Farming, Fisheries and Food, Victoria Prentice, who opened the Summit, and Ian Harrison, Head of Exports at Midlands DIT, who led an insightful Building Export Capability session.

Alex Bavin commented: “It was fabulous meeting the representatives of over 80 SMEs and organisations who all share a love for food and drink and are passionate about growing the sector further.

“We had an excellent day of listening, learning and sharing!”

We would like to share with you the key takeaways of the Summit for our food and drink sector: 

  • Many of the regions are suffering with shortages in the labour market. Victoria Prentis, Minister of State for DEFRA, who gave the keynote address, urged businesses to use local Job Centres for recruitment.
  • The government is here to help and support
  • Focus on encouraging careers in the food and drink sector
  • Drive to encourage retailers to stock local products
  • Opportunities for local producers through protected geographical indications schemes
  • The fantastic work of regional food groups was shared and in particular; Produced in KentThis Is CumbriaFood and Drink North EastShropshire Festivals
  • The National Food Strategy will be published in a few weeks.
  • Start of ongoing engagement with DEFRA and future summits

International Trade 

  • Made in the UK, Sold to the World – DIT 12 point plan to help support your journey  
  • DEFRA have Agri Food Attaches to act as representatives on the ground to unlock key markets across the world
  • A new Export Council is being set up – details yet to be released
  • Opportunity for producers to showcase their products to buyers via a digital platform – The Great British Food Programme Paul Abley, International Innovation & Delivery Manager & Agri, Food & Drink Specialist at the DIT will be sharing details about the platform at one of our events – details to follow!
  • Funding is available for exporting and also participation in trade missions.

LF&D Next Steps following the summit 

  • We will be joining the DEFRA SME forum to share updates from LF&D members.
  • We currently sit on the Food from England group together with the other representatives from regional food groups to provide a voice for a local producers, sharing knowledge and intelligence and promoting local initiatives to promote sales of local regional food and drink producers. Please let us know if you have anything you would like us to raise in this forum.
  • Going forwards we will be developing links with national retailers to understand the opportunities for producers in their local stores.
  • Continue with DIT engagement
  • Work closer with further education to promote the opportunities within the Lincolnshire Food and Drink Sector
  • Work closer with our job centres and sector specific recruiters


Three men and a woman dressed in business attire at a conference

L-R: Mike Nield, Warners Distillery, Matt Felgate of The Lincoln Distillery, Eve Farley, John of The Lincoln Distillery

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