Blake Gladman, Strategy & Insight Director, KAM

Blake has over 17 years’ experience delivering market leading shopper and consumer insight. He started his career at Kantar before joining HIM in 2009. Blake has worked across all areas of research and insights and has led the development of new products, content and marketing. He left his director role at HIM and joined KAM, as a partner, in 2018 to lead on insight and business strategy, driving forward expertise in delivering market-leading research products.

KAM are a creative insight agency. They provide hospitality and foodservice insights, consumer research and media content to help businesses understand their customer’s journeys. By using consumer and operator research and insights they help their clients identify ways in which they can improve their business.

Charles Banks, Co-Founder, thefoodpeople

Charles and his business thefoodpeople are known for shifting the future of food and drink by harnessing the power of trends. Charles has spent the past 30+ years in the food industry working across all sectors including food service, fine dining, hotels, food brands and food retailing.

thefoodpeople operate globally supporting brands, retailers, manufacturers, hospitality operators and even governments and not-for-profit organisations, to identify the trends of today and yesterday, build the foresight for tomorrow and the future so that they can act now, to make transformational impact to their business and the wider industry.

In addition, Charles co-founded thefoodpeople Foundation in 2020, partnering with affiliated charities and our community, to shift food, health and education in schools, to impact future generations.

Colin Smith, Chief Executive, Scottish Wholesale Association

Colin’s career in the wholesale sector spans more than 25 years. After graduating with Honours in Business Studies from Edinburgh Napier University, he joined Bellevue Cash & Carry holding various sales and marketing roles throughout his first seven years.

Following five years at Costco Wholesale, Colin rejoined Bellevue as head of sales and marketing and became Scottish regional manager for Bestway’s symbol group ‘Best-one’ after the wholesaler’s acquisition of Bellevue in 2010.

In 2013, Colin sourced private equity for building and managing his own business, the multi-award-winning Pinkie Farm Convenience Store in Musselburgh, before selling in 2018.

He was appointed chief executive of the SWA in 2018, bringing his extensive knowledge of the food and drink supply chain as well as a collaborative approach to help SWA members grow and evolve in partnership with suppliers and other stakeholders.

James Bielby, Chief Executive, Federation of Wholesale Distributors

FWD represents the sector to government, suppliers, customers and the outside world, aiming to create favourable trading conditions for members by lobbying for policy change and defending against regulatory burdens. FWD advises members on potential political opportunities, threats and requirements, and works to create a safer trading environment. FWD also provides a meeting place for wholesalers and suppliers on non-compete issues.

James is a member of the Food and Drink Sector Council, the National Retail Crime Steering Group, and is a school governor. He is a regular broadcaster on TV and radio and is a member of the co-presenting team on the Talk Radio Breakfast Show.

Jill Livesey, Managing Director, Lumina Intelligence & MCA.

Jill has vast experience in the food and drink sector in operator and supply side, formerly working with Marks and Spencer, Unilever and Birds Eye. A passionate supporter of the Wholesale industry, Jill and her team thrive on delivering innovation, quality data and intelligent insight to the industry.

Lumina Intelligence is an insights service created to equip the industry with tools to measure the evolution of science, online consumer engagement and regulation and its impact on product formulation, labelling, sustainable sourcing and new product development.

MCA delivers leading coverage of the UK’s dynamic eating and drinking out market, to keep operators, suppliers and investors informed of the latest developments in the industry.

Paul Johnson CBE, Director, Institute for Fiscal Studies

Founded in 1969, the IFS is the UK’s leading economic research institute. It has two major research centres and combines its leading role in public policy with world-leading academic economic research.

Paul Johnson has held the position of IFS Director since January 2011 and is also a visiting professor in the Economics Department at UCL and a columnist for The Times. He holds several board memberships, including positions on the Climate Change Committee. Johnson has also led reviews of pension policy for government and price statistics for the UK Statistics Authority.

Oxford graduate, Paul is a frequent contributor to written and broadcast media and has made many radio programmes, including the acclaimed ‘Austerity Audit’ for Radio 4. He has published extensively on the economics of public policy and he is the author of notable books on pensions, tax and inequality.

In 2018 Paul Johnson was awarded a CBE in the Queen’s birthday honours list for services to the Social Sciences and Economics.

Tom Fender, Development Director, TWC

Probably best known as managing partner of Him! (now Lumina Intelligence) prior to its sale to William Reed, Tom is a well-known member of the convenience retail community. A serial entrepreneur, Tom invested in Bolt Learning after selling Him! which grew rapidly prior to acquisition by Aliter Capital in 2020. Tom has joined TWC because of his interest in the power of data and insight and an ongoing drive to be a force for positive change in the channel.

TWC help their customers become more data led. They provide a unique blend of data services, digital platforms and unrivalled knowledge designed to drive growth for wholesalers, foodservice operators and convenience retailers – and their suppliers.