The volatility in the economy in recent months has created new and fast-moving challenges to the food and drink industry. Now, more than ever, food manufacturers and retailers need to be efficient, agile and aware of their global food supply chains.

Food and Drink for Future Generations

Blas Cymru / Taste Wales 2021 conference aims to inspire delegates to take action in their organisations and their lives to address the challenges and opportunities presented by climate change.

This will be an opportunity to set the scene for future-proofing the Welsh food and drink industry and to continue to set our sights on global development.

By attending Blas Cymru/ Taste Wales 2021 conference, you will have the opportunity to hear from experts from across the food and drink industry; as well as prominent sustainability and climate change writers and presenters.

Mike Berners-Lee is the Key Note Speaker on the second day of the event. He is a leading expert on sustainability and carbon footprinting and the author of three books including; There is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make of Break Years; and How Bad Are Bananas? The Carbon Footprint of Everything.

The conference will be hosted by Sara Edwards.

Sara Edwards is one of Wales’ best known and much loved television presenters.

Sara has been co-presenter of the highly acclaimed ‘Wales Today’ programme as well as contributor to regular items om BBC Radio 4.

She has presented live television coverage from the Royal Welsh Show; the Llangollen Eisteddfod and the National Eisteddfod.

Sara Edwards has also presented a number of programmes for BBC Radio Wales, including ‘Sara’s People’ and ‘Food Matters’.

Sara also speaks passionately about environmental issues and the reality of climate change.

Day 1

***Timings are subject to change***

Morning Sessions


9:00 – Andy Richardson: Chair, Food and Drink Wales Industry Board

9:10 – Lesley Griffiths MS: Minister for Rural Affairs and North Wales, and Trefnydd

9:30 – David McDiarmid: Corporate Relations Director, Princes Ltd

The changing food consumer

9:45 – Sophie Colquhoun: Director, Category Insight

9:45 – Chris Hayward: Sales Director, Institute of Grocery Distribution

9:45 – Q&A

10:45 – Networking Break / Seminar Sessions

Strategic Perspective

11:30 – Ian Wright: CEO, Food and Drink Federation

11:30 – Julie Pierce: Director Openness, Data & Digital; Science; & Wales, Food Standards Agency

11:30 – Q&A

Lunch / Seminar Sessions

Afternoon Sessions

13:30 – Key Note Speaker TBA

How Wales is addressing the sustainability challenge

14:00 – TBC

14:00 – Jonathan Tench:  International Partnerships, The Office for the Future Generations Commissioner

14:00 – Q&A

15:00 – Networking Break / Seminar Sessions

Trade’s response to sustainability challenges and opportunities

15:45 – TBC

15:45 – Michael Fletcher: Commercial Director, The Co-op 

  • Chris Hayward

    Sales Director at IGD

    Chris is the Sales Director at IGD and has been working with FMCG manufacturers for over 20 years. He has a breadth of experience across Qual/Quant and continuous data and has worked with retailers, manufacturers, government bodies and trade associations, and particularly enjoys working with businesses looking to upscale in both in- and out-of-home environments. He has been working with TasteWales since 2017 and is very happy to help with insights on both the UK and the rest of the world.

  • Julie Pierce

    Director of Openness, Data & Digital;

    Science; & Wales at Food Standards Agency

    Julie champions the use of modern digital approaches and technologies both within government and across the whole food system while also pushing for modern, data-enabled approaches to Food Standards Agency research. Julie is a member of the FSA Executive and is the Director with oversight responsibility for the FSA in Wales, having previously been the CIO at Defra. She spent much of her earlier career in the private sector implementing technology-enabled change programmes as a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers in financial services, pharmaceuticals, defence as well as central government, both in the UK and mainland Europe.

  • Jonathan Tench

    International Partnerships at The Office of the Future Generations Commissioner

    Jonathan Tench is the Partnerships & Networks Changemaker in the Office of the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales and is responsible for supporting the Commissioner’s international and private sector engagement. Jonathan has over 10 years of experience in global food systems and sustainable development policy and programme work, having previously worked for Oxfam, Unilever and the Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition in the UK and the US.

  • Ian Wright

    CEO at Food and Drink Federation

    Ian Wright leads the Food and Drink Federation, 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, where he was a member of the executive committee responsible for the business’ reputation as it became one of the world’s most trusted and respected companies. Before this he worked for Boots the Chemist and Mars Confectionery, and also enjoyed spells in consultancy and politics. He chairs the Food & Drink Sector Council, the government’s industry advisory body, as well as the Food & Drink Trade Association Round Table. In August 2015 Ian received a CBE for political and public service.

  • Sophie Colquhoun

    Director at Category-Insight

    Sophie is an experienced leader in food marketing and a category strategy specialist, having spent over 20 years in the food industry, training with Mars and working as Category Controller at Ginsters and Group Marketing Director at Tulip Foods. She works with Brookdale Consulting to deliver the current Insight Program for Welsh Government Food and Drink while also running her own business Category-Insight.

Day 2

***Timings are subject to change***

Morning Sessions


9:15 – Welcome from Member of Food and Drink Wales Industry Board

How sustainability can be at the heart of a brand

9:30 – Mike Wilson: Business Director, Safe360

9:30 – Andrew Carlin: Director of Strategic Programmes, EIT Food 

10:30 – Networking Break / Seminar Sessions

Investing in the Future  

11:00 – Chris Stott: Partner, Head of Food and Drink, KPMG

11:00 – Rob Keegan: Regional Manager Scotland, North of England & Wales, Triodos Bank.

11:00 – Gwyn Rhodes: Head of Business Banking, Triodos Bank. 


Afternoon Sessions

12:00 – Mike Berners-Lee: Author and leading expert in sustainability and carbon footprinting. 

12:45 – Lunch / Seminar Sessions

Making food manufacturing more sustainable

14:00 – Emma Piercy: Head of Climate Change & Energy Policy, Food and Drink Federation 

14:00 – Gill Higgins: Head of Sustainability, Dawn Meats Group 

14:00 – Q&A

  • Gwyn Rhodes

    Head of Business Banking at Triodos Bank UK

    Triodos is a financial institution that only lends to customers who fulfil a positive environmental, cultural or social need. Gwyn has a passion for sustainability and D&I as well as over 20 years of experience in banking, having worked at several financial institutions in a range of international and domestic roles including relationship management, transaction structuring, sustainable business development, and credit risk. Gwyn recently completed the Business Sustainability Management course run by the University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership, addressing the critical need to embed sustainability practices into business.

  • Rob Keegan

    Regional Manager of Scotland, North of England & Wales at Triodos Bank One of the world’s most sustainable banks, Triodos believes that finance can be a powerful catalyst for achieving positive and lasting change. Following a 29-year career leading teams in business, commercial and corporate banking at NatWest and RBS, Rob joined Triodos over 3 years ago with a remit to help increase the bank’s reach and impact, which has involved introducing a full-time relationship manager into Wales for the first time. Rob recently represented Triodos in the Bankers for Net Zero project, culminating in the paper ‘Mainstreaming for Net Zero – Mobilising SMEs for Climate Action’, which was produced primarily for parliamentarians and policy-makers

  • Chris Stott

    Partner, Head of Food and Drink at KPMG 

    Chris leads KPMG’s Food and Drink business in the UK as well as KPMG’s Deal Advisory business in the North of England, having advised clients on their strategic agendas for over 25 years, including acquisitions, disposals, private equity, debt fund raisings, and flotations. 

    Chris’s FMCG clients are based in the UK, mainland Europe and North America, and include:  Valeo Foods, Alltech, Muller, Soya International, 850 Food Group, Hilton Food Group, Pipers Crisps, Primo, and Hain Celestial. 

    Chris also holds two global roles: UK representative for KPMG Global Agri team; and Advisory Board member for DIAL Global, a fast-growing global community for Diverse Inclusive Aspirational Leaders.

  • Mike Berners-Lee

    Founder of Small World Consulting and Professor at Lancaster University

    Mike Berners-Lee is an expert speaker on sustainability and how we can address this overarching 21st-century challenge, as well as the founder of Small World Consulting, an associate company of Lancaster University, a world leader in the field of supply chain carbon metrics and management. Small World Consulting works with organisations of all sizes and sectors, from the world’s largest tech giants to SMEs, while Mike is a professor at Lancaster University, where his research includes sustainable food systems and carbon metrics. He has made numerous speaking, radio and television broadcast appearances to promote public awareness of sustainability and climate change issues, most notably appearing in Climate Change: The Facts alongside Sir David Attenborough. He is the author of three acclaimed books.

    His 2019 book There Is No Planet B: A Handbook for the Make or Break Years is a practical and holistic tour of the 21st century’s biggest challenges, laced throughout with practical guidance for individuals, businesses and politicians. An updated version of this book was published by Cambridge University Press in early 2021.

    About Mike’s first book How Bad Are Bananas?: The Carbon Footprint of Everything, author Bill Bryson wrote, “I can’t think of the last time I read a book that was more fascinating, and useful and enjoyable all at the same time.” A fully updated version of this book was published in the summer of 2020.

    Mike’s book The Burning Question, co-written with Duncan Clark, explores the big picture on climate change and the underlying global dynamics, asking what mix of politics, economics, psychology and 

  • Emma Piercy

    Head of Climate Change & Energy Policy at FDF

    Emma joined the Food and Drink Federation in October 2019 and is currently focused on a Roadmap to Net Zero for the sector while also spending time working with stakeholders across the supply chain and in other sectors to help food and drink manufacturing in the decarbonisation challenges ahead. Building stakeholder commitment to net zero ahead of the UK hosting COP26 is another key focus area. Before joining FDF, Emma held a number of policy and regulation roles with RWE AG, RWE Npower Cogen, Elexon, Sustainable Energy Association, First Utility (now Shell Energy), and National Grid Gas.