National Food Strategy - Discussing the Future of Food and Drink

06 October 2021

The Food and Drink Federation are delighted to host a timely event on the National Food Strategy, to consider the Government’s upcoming Food Strategy white paper for England due in early 2022. 


The strategy will aim to support the development of a food system that is sustainable, resilient and affordable, that will support people to live healthy lives, and that will protect animal health and welfare.

During the event we will be hearing from key speakers on the Food and Drink Sector Council report setting out its recommendations for a food strategy, and the Defra White Paper. We will consider what is needed in the strategy to deliver a sustainable and productive food sector and take forward the Government’s Build Back Better: Our Plan for Growth.

Guest speakers include:

  • Alex Dawson, Practice Lead - UK Politics and Policy, Global Counsel
  • Stefano Agostini, Chief Executive, Nestlé UK and Ireland 
  • Ian Wright, FDF CEO and Co-Chair of the Food and Drink Sector Council
  • Jayne Brookman, PhD. Acting Director, North-West CLC region
    European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) Food
  • Stuart McCallum, Partner / Head of UK Food and Drink Sector, RSM UK
  • Ian Mace, Head of Public Affairs and Policy, Associated British Foods plc
  • Laura Chapman, Head of Food Strategy, Defra
  • Caroline Keohane, Head of Industry Growth, FDF (chair)
  • Kate Halliwell, Chief Scientific Officer, FDF (chair)

Speaker profiles:

Jayne Brookman, PhD. Acting Director, North-West region, EIT Food

Jayne Brookman is a biochemist by training with a varied background in the academic, commercial and third sectors including lecturing on biotechnology at the University of Manchester and founding an antifungal drug discovery company, F2G Ltd. Jayne led the AgriFood team at the UK’s Knowledge Transfer Network, working with start-up and established food manufacturing and agriculture businesses, before taking up a role as KTN Lead for the Innovate UK – DFID AgriFood Africa project funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund. In September 2020, she moved to EIT Food as Acting Director of the NW Region to continue her passionate quest to ensure that innovation within the food system is pulled through to the consumer.

Stefano Agostini, Chief Executive Officer, Nestlé UK and Ireland

Stefano Agostini became CEO of Nestlé UK and Ireland on 1 July 2017. He is a member of the Food and Drink Federation Board and President’s Committee, and chairs its Plastics and Packaging Taskforce.

Stefano is also a member of the Food and Drink Sector Council, and leads its work on the National Food Strategy.Stefano joined Nestlé in Italy in 1989 as Regional Sales Manager, rising rapidly through a range of senior roles until becoming National Sales Director for Nestlé Waters Italy in 2001.He transferred to the UK in 2004 as Country Business Manager for Nestlé Waters UK, and was a member of the leadership team for Nestlé in the UK and Ireland market.

In 2007 Stefano was appointed President and CEO of Sanpellegrino, Nestlé Waters Italy. Under his leadership the Sanpellegrino and Acqua Panna brands delivered significant growth, with increased market share and profitability. In his ten years as CEO, Sanpellegrino tripled its international business.
Stefano was born in 1964 in Genoa, Italy, and is married with three children.

Alex Dawson, Practice Lead, UK politics and policy, Global Counsel

Alex leads the UK politics and policy practice. He previously worked as a special adviser to Theresa May at No 10 and the Home Office, and to David Cameron when he was prime minister. 

At Global Counsel, Alex advises corporates and investors on the issues that are driving policymakers in Westminster, Whitehall and devolved government, and how they can build up the political capital to be heard by decision makers.

Laura Chapman, Head of Food Strategy, Defra

Laura Chapman is Head of Food Strategy in Defra; leading on the Government Food Strategy. Laura has held a range of strategy and coordination roles in the civil service, including Agriculture Bill Manager and numerous EU Exit / Covid response roles including heading up the secretariat for the Food Resilience Industry Forum during winter 2020.



Ian Wright, Chief Executive, FDF

Ian Wright leads the FDF - the representative voice for companies and trade associations across food and drink.  Before joining FDF in March 2015 he spent 14 years with Diageo plc - the world's largest drinks business.  There he was the member of the executive committee responsible for the company’s reputation as it became one of the world's most trusted and respected companies.  Earlier, he worked for Boots The Chemist and Mars Confectionery and had spells in consultancy and politics.

He chairs the Food & Drink Sector Council - the Government’s industry advisory body.  He also chairs the Food & Drink Trade Association Round Table.  Ian received a CBE for political and public service in August 2015.

Kate Halliwell, Chief Scientific Officer, FDF

Kate Halliwell is the Food and Drink Federation’s Chief Scientific Officer.   Kate is accountable for the diverse food safety and science policy briefs, as well as for diet and health policy.

The role involves extensive liaison with food and drink manufacturing companies to develop cross-industry policy positions and responding to scientific consultations.  Previously Kate led the FDF’s diet and health policy work, and before that worked for the Department of Health and the Food Standards Agency on a range of nutrition and legislation policies.  Kate is a member of IFST and a registered nutritionist. 


Stuart McCallum, Partner / Head of UK Food and Drink Sector, RSM UK

Stuart is RSM’s National Head of Food and Drink. He works within the business advisory team in Glasgow where he supports clients strategic plans/growth aspirations. This ranges from the development of year end accounts and management information to supporting M&A plans, securing funding for growth projects and day to day financial needs.

Additionally he further develops existing corporate finance services covering advisory and due diligence for companies, banks and equity houses.

Through his career to date, Stuart has developed a wide advisory based skill set which has given him experience of a range of countries in addition to the UK. His banking roles (which included heading up an F&D sector team) has provided him with in-depth knowledge of funding solutions and strategies to enhance the success of a funding project. With a CF advisory background this skill set works well alongside his funding knowledge to enable him to take a rounded view of all parties perspectives on a range of transaction types and growth projects.

Stuart has developed links within Scottish food and drink industry and the Food and Drink Federation, and regularly speaks at a range of industry forums in the food and drink sector as well as being involved as a regular contributor to panel discussions.

Caroline Keohane, Head of Industry Growth, FDF

Caroline Keohane is Head of Industry Growth at the Food and Drink Federation (FDF) which is the representative voice of the UK’s largest manufacturing sector. Caroline leads FDF’s work on growth, skills and innovation and is a Non-Executive Board member of the National Skills Academy for Food and Drink. She joined FDF from HSBC in 2005 with an initial focus on European and international trade policy. She led FDF’s work on the development of UK’s first food engineering degree at Sheffield Hallam University in 2014 and more recently the creation of the Food and Drink Sector Council – a formal partnership between Government and industry.


Ian Mace ACA, Head of Government Affairs & Policy, Associated British Foods plc

After 12 years at KPMG, I joined ABF in 2002.  I held a number of finance roles (including Finance Director of Jordans Dorset & Ryvita and The Silver Spoon Company, UK subsidiaries of ABF) before moving into my current role as part of ABF’s Brexit preparations in 2016.

I represent ABF on various industry and government bodies and support George Weston (the group CEO) on the Food & Drink Sector Council.

National Food Strategy - Discussing the Future of Food and Drink