Healthy debate at Food Matters Live

24 October 2014 by
Healthy debate at Food Matters Live

Free school meals, the power of the celebrity chef and whether we should eat insects are just some of the topics that will be debated at the Food Matters Live event. Lisa Jenkins finds out more

By 2015, the annual cost to the UK from poor diets is predicted to reach £27b, with more than 60% of adults overweight or obese, as well as a

Designed to address some of these issues, Food Matters Live is a new event dedicated to food, health and nutrition. It aims to bring together the food and drink industry, retailers, foodservice providers, government and those working in nutrition and health to tackle the challenges and the relationships between food, health and nutrition.

The three-day event will include a programme of free conferences, seminars and demonstrations on these subjects, along with 450 speakers and 200 exhibitors.

Nutritional needs
The seminars will be organised into eight key themes. For example, public figures such as Profes Professor Susan Jebb, chair of the Public Health Responsibility Deal Food Network at the Department of Health, will underline the importance of diet on a societal level.

The Catering for Health attraction will cover issues for the foodservice sector, including new allergen labelling regulations, the Food for Life Catering Mark, healthy food for schools and hospital catering plus daily cooking demonstrations of cost-managed dishes for the audience to taste.

Alternative edibles are also on the menu, with talks and demonstrations from experts on the growing pressure on food supplies.

This feature will examine how an alternative approach to food sourcing and management could make an important difference. The sessions will include an exploration of how insects could feed the world, along with factory-grown meat and seaweeds.

Diet debates
Well-known figures from science, health, politics and the media will explore a range of topics, from childhood malnutrition to the food technology that will shape 21st century diets.

Key figures from the Children's Food Trust and the British Retail Consortium will examine the importance of collaboration between government and industry in improving the nation's diet, and ask what action needs to be taken to make healthy food a common feature in everyday society.

Emily Watkins, chef-proprietor of the Kingham Plough in Oxfordshire, joins the debate Does Provenance Matter? on 18 November, in which a panel of experts will ask if we care that our beefburgers contain horsemeat, or if our chicken is halal. Provenance and authenticity matter to some consumers and often carry a premium price tag, but for those whose food choices are price driven, should they also be able to trust the quality of what they eat?

Hosted by Justin Webb, presenter of the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, the panel will include Dr Dimitrios Tsivrikos, consumer and business psychologist at University College London, Patrick Holden, founding director of the Sustainable Food Trust and journalist Jay Rayner.

BBC news anchor Mishal Husain will be the host on 19 November, chairing various debates including one on food science, which examines 'open innovation' as a powerful new business development strategy. This session will uncover how to get all the factors right: from government providing
the right fiscal environment for industry R&D, through to flexible business cultures and models.

Celebrity chefs' influence
In the final session on Thursday 20 November, 'From Fanny to Heston: the influence of celebrity on what we eat', panellists including restaurateur Nick Nairn, food critic Matthew Fort and chef-patron of Murano restaurant Angela Hartnett will discuss how celebrity chefs have become ubiquitous in how we relate to food. Some studies suggest that celebrity chefs' influence on the nation's public health is not all positive, so should they put health and nutrition at the top of the menu? This discussion will be hosted by Simon Parkes, food critic, author and broadcaster.

Food Matters Live is set to attract 8,000 visitors and 200 exhibitors, including Kellogg Group and Warburtons, which will host a gluten- and wheat-free bakery at the show. Many of the event's supporters, such as Leatherhead Food Research, the Soil Association, the British Hospitality Association and the Hospital Caterers Association, will also be on hand to discuss their work and answer visitors' questions. And the Enterprise Zone, sponsored by the Unilever Foundry, will invite industry start-ups to pitch their ideas to a 'Dragons' Den' of marketing professionals.

When and where
Where London ExCeL
When Tuesday 18 to Thursday 20 November

To register for your free ticket visit

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