Have I Got News For Ewe

NFU Conference 2019

posted by Cesca February 24, 2019 0 comments

I’ve been mulling over the NFU conference for a few days now, and have held off putting up tweets about it for the sole reason that a single, or a few tweets won’t be able to convey as much as a blog post could.

So, Cesca On The Farm is back, how long for? I’m unsure, but maybe I’ll gain momentum from this day forward?

#NFU19, where to start. I was fairly nervous the Tuesday morning when I was driving down to The ICC, Birmingham. Wondering if I would know anyone to chat to, whether I would stick out like a sore thumb if I was intelligent enough to be there to learn and understand?

The bacon bap and tea soon sorted me out once I had arrived, a bit of soul food to start the day right.

Minette opened with the most motivational, awe-inspiring opening address, what a woman I thought to myself, she’s courageous, humorous, quick-witted and knows her stuff. A lady with grace and great disposition, whom I thoroughly look up to.

Gove was clearly also very impressed with Minette and spent a few minutes praising her, well deserved too after her first year being so fantastic during what was an extremely difficult 2018. As ever, with politics, there wasn’t a huge amount that he could divulge, but he did promise to send a handwritten letter to Minette regarding food standards:


The next session was ‘The Future of Food – where are we going?’ with Dr Andrea Graham, Head of Policy Services, NFU, Jack Bobo, Vice President for Global Policy and Government Affairs, Intrexon Corporation, James Walton, Chief Economist, IGD, Chaired by Guy Smith, Deputy President, NFU.

Jack Bobo from Intrexon had my mouth on the floor at times, there was a lot of information which I will paraphrase:

Consumers don’t understand HOW food is produced, but they haven’t ever cared more about how it is produced.


Looking for some interesting facts on plant-based living? Well I have a few for you…

Plant-based living started in the Victorian times, it isn’t a ‘new-age’ thang.


Flexitarians are actually the most influential shoppers.

Innovators are always looking for ways to disrupt the UK food market

The session which I opted in for was ‘A Taste For The Future’, I won’t go into big details, but some interesting points again:

Anti-diet movement is moving fast, and there is a hugh interest from consumers who aren’t interested in diets, but just want to eat the right, nutricious foods, for their bodies

Mullenials are now looking for gut bio-healthy products more than ever before

1950/60’s food trends are relevant to now

We now have more food choice than ever, but consumers have less food cookery skills than ever

We have 7 opportunities in UK food ag for being a part of a consumers evening meal, but that is lessened by 1 being eaten out and 1 skipped. 3 of those will be unique evening meals and 2 repeated.

  • Is there a way in which we can ensure that UK food is on plates during those 5 mealtime opportunities? Do we need to look at marketing Great British food and making it sexy again?
  • Can we look at making Great British food quick, easy and tasty? Opportunities for innovators to come up with new products using our produce is definitely there, and consumers are extremely responsive.
  • A big key point – health is wealth, consumers see health as being wealthy.

I could keep going on, but I will leave it here, and say a final few points;

We have the most incredible industry, with some of the most incredible people working within it. I came away from the conference feeling extremely motivated, inspired, and ready to make a change, to make a wave within agriculture. I also felt extremely proud and honored to have been at the conference, it is an experience I will never forget, and I hope that it won’t be the last time that I get to attend.

So thank you to the NFU for inviting me, and sending me away with the most positive outlook.

Love, Cesca on the Farm x

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