Businesses linked to the food and drink sector in the East Midlands were given food for thought at an event aimed at inspiring innovation.

Delegates from Derbyshire, Lincolnshire, Nottinghamshire, Northamptonshire and Leicestershire attended the iThrive event organised by the Food and Drink iNet (Innovation Network), which stimulates innovation in the sector.

Held at the National Space Centre, Leicester, the event featured a presentation by strategic advisor and business book author Max McKeown, who focused on how to create an innovation culture within companies.

Among those in the audience were representatives from large firms such as Pepsico and Samworth Brothers Ltd, small and medium-sized enterprises, universities and supply chain companies.

“We had some excellent feedback from the event, with delegates saying they had been really inspired to return to their organisations and generate ideas for innovation,” said Richard Worrall, Food and Drink iNet director.

“Max McKeown is a strategic advisor for some of the most admired companies in the world, and it was an excellent opportunity to hear his ideas, which provided much food for thought to the delegates who attended the iThrive event.”

Caroline Evans, from Nottinghamshire gourmet food firm The Country Victualler, said: “I absolutely thoroughly enjoyed the event. It was inspiring and thought provoking.”

The Food and Drink iNet, which is funded by East Midlands Development Agency (emda) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), is one of four regional iNets developed to link academic and private sector expertise and knowledge with local food and drink business innovation needs.

It aims to build on the tradition of innovation in the food and drink industry in the region by helping to create opportunities to develop knowledge and skills, and to help research, develop and implement new products, markets, services and processes. It is managed by a consortium, led by the Food and Drink Forum and including Food Processing Faraday, Nottingham Trent University, the University of Lincoln, and the University of Nottingham. For more information visit

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