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Investment in innovation top of the agenda at 2021 ‘Appetite for Growth’ event –

The ‘Appetite for Growth Conference’ is returning this September, bringing together leading food industry figures to discuss the multiple challenges facing the Northern Ireland food and drink industry.

Organised by the Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) and supported by InvestNI and HSBC UK, the 2021 NIFDA Business Conference Fresh Thinking for Future Growth will take place virtually on Friday 3rd September from 9.30am – 12.30pm.

The online event will provide an interactive forum for forward-thinking food and drink manufacturers and producers to engage with industry leaders, receive expert insights into emerging market and regulatory trends, and get practical advice.

Delegates will hear from experts from across the food and drink supply chain, with speakers including Dominic Darby, latterly Head of Innovation at Marks and Spencer; markets expert Dr Clive Black, Head of Research at Shore Capital; and former National Farmers Union President and AHDB Chair Sir Peter Kendall.

Michael Bell, Executive Director, Northern Ireland Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) said:

“We are delighted that Appetite for Growth is returning at what is a pivotal time for Northern Ireland food and drink. With new trading arrangements, recruitment issues, new food strategies from government and of course recovery from the pandemic, Northern Ireland’s biggest manufacturing sector faces many challenges over the coming years.

“At this year’s conference, we have a range of leading industry experts who will explore the growth opportunities presented by these challenges, identify the emerging megatrends of the coming decades and discuss how our industry can grow for the future through improved productivity and innovation.

“We are delighted to welcome Dominic Darby, latterly Head of Innovation at Marks and Spencer, to deliver a keynote address examining how consumer demands are evolving, and how retailers and manufacturers can stay ahead of the curve.

“We will also be hosting a conversation with Sir Peter Kendall, who is leading the Independent Strategic Review of Agri-Food in Northern Ireland. We have been working closely with Sir Peter as he assesses the industry and develops his thoughts on the way forward, and this discussion will offer some key insights into where the industry is succeeding, areas for improvement and how we can grow even further.

“Over many years the Appetite for Growth Conference has proved a valuable resource for our progressive and innovative food and drink manufacturers. This year’s conference offers

local companies the opportunity to engage with experts across the industry, share best practice and receive practical tips that can be directly applied to their businesses. I would encourage those interested in attending to register as soon as possible.”

Gillian Morris, HSBC UK Head of Corporate Banking, Northern Ireland said:

“We are delighted to be sponsoring this year’s NIFDA conference. As society begins to recover from the pandemic, the food and drink sector is seeing significant opportunities for growth. At HSBC UK, we have a long history supporting new and established food and drinks brands, helping them adapt to new demographics, buying patterns and eating habits in a rapidly changing macro environment. We’re committed to supporting these businesses and the ‘Appetite for Growth’ event will help to secure Northern Ireland’s strong position within the Agri-foods industry.”

For further information, and to book your place online, please visit