Business support organisation The Food and Drink Forum has appointed Mark Nicholson as its new manufacturing innovation manager.

Mark will operate across Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire, Northamptonshire, Lincolnshire and Rutland offering support and advice to help the region’s food and drink manufacturers to discover more efficient ways of operating.

Previously an adviser with Business Link Yorkshire and before that a freelance business coach, Mark has spent 17 years in operations, specifically in the food sector. He has worked in the frozen sector for McCain, in confectionery for Needlers, and in fresh produce for MBM.

His role at The Food and Drink Forum includes helping to deliver the second phase of the CHIEFS project in collaboration with Food Processing Faraday and Optimat Ltd. The project, which aims to champion innovation between the engineering and food sectors, is being delivered on behalf of East Midlands Development Agency (emda) with funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

“I am delighted to join The Food and Drink Forum as manufacturing innovation manager,” said Mark.

“I am passionate about helping food and drink businesses to think more creatively, and really enthusiastic about innovative and novel approaches to business improvement.”

Mark’s specialist skills include the use of lean and continuous improvement methods for food businesses, the application of environmental technology, the deployment of motivational/behavioural strategy and systems thinking.

He will be offering support in improving production efficiencies, specifying and purchasing new equipment, managing and delivering turn key engineering projects, process mapping and value stream analysis, waste minimisation and resource efficiency, top team, middle and junior management training, and coaching and mentoring.

Fiona Anderson, managing director of The Food and Drink Forum, which is based at the Business Centre at Southglade Food Park, Nottingham, said: “Mark’s appointment will help The Food and Drink Forum to build on the support that we offer the sector in the East Midlands. Manufacturing efficiencies can bring immediate cost savings, as well as a range of other benefits, and are a popular service that we offer to our members and on a commercial basis to food and drink firms around the region.”

Married with three grown-up children, Mark’s qualifications include a BSc in Human Ecology and an MSc in Food Inspection & Control. He is also a certified trainer in Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP) and a licensed facilitator in two psychometric profiling tools.

He loves the great outdoors, enjoys hill walking and his favourite food is curry.

The Food and Drink Forum is one of the region’s largest business support organisations, championing the food and drink sector in the East Midlands through a variety of different ways.

If you are interested in finding out more about The Food and Drink Forum, please visit or call 0115 9758810.