Food Matters Live hosted an industry briefing on Thursday 23rd February in association with Produced in Kent and HSBC, sponsored by Cripps LLP, which looked at how innovation in the food and drink sector is helping to drive growth and provide a range of new opportunities for food and drink businesses.


Presentation downloads:

Simply Icecream

Sally Newall, Simply Icecream

Innovation and growth

John Stapleton, Entrepreneur

Protecting and growing your business with retailers

Joanna Walker, Purple Basil Ltd




About Cripps LLP

Our dedicated team help food and drink businesses from large corporate manufacturers to local family run businesses and start-ups.

The team includes lawyers across the firm who have food and drink sector expertise. We can therefore provide expert advice on issues as diverse as buying and selling property, acquisitions and mergers, branding and intellectual property, commercial contracts, dispute resolution, trading agreements and employment advice.

We understand the sector intimately and provide succinct, strategic and commercial advice focussed on helping our clients achieve their commercial objectives.

If you would like to discuss a legal issue impacting your business, please contact Erica Dennett at / 01732 224 026.

Iain Hawthorn, DMS MA, Global Relationship Director, Corporate Banking - Kent, HSBC Bank Plc

Iain is a successful Relationship Director with HSBC Corporate Banking, providing a strategic business advisory, consultancy and support service to the Agri-Food and Food & Drink sector, primarily in Kent.

He has held a wide variety of leadership and relationship management roles in banking, and assisted business investment and growth plans with significant funding support over recent years. 

He is currently an active advisory board member to Hadlow College, Kent County Council Business Advisory Board, Canterbury Christ Church University Business School, Kent County Council Internationalisation Exchange Project and sponsor of the 2016 & 2017 Taste of Kent Awards.

Sally Newall, Founder, Simply Ice Cream

Sally Newall launched her own ice cream company from her kitchen table back in 2005.

12 years on, Simply Ice Cream is now a fast growing business employing 14 people from her family home in Ashford, Kent. Supplying supermarkets, independents food service and the tourist industry with indulgent award winning icecream made by hand.

David Farrington, COO, The Hofmeister Brewing Company

David Farrington began his career in the drinks industry in the early 80s and has worked for various companies covering all aspects of the supply chain.  He has extensive experience in a number of areas including production and manufacture, distribution in both existing channels and developing new routes to market all the way through to retail. Previous roles have included sales, marketing and logistics.

In 1997 David went on to be a founder shareholder at Beams UK ltd where he played a key role in establishing Beams as one of the country’s leading seasonal alcohol gift development and supply business. Beams provided most of the major UK retailers and worked with the UKs biggest drinks brands such as Smirnoff, Baileys, Famous Grouse, Glenfiddich, Guinness, and Stella Artois.

After identifying a gap in the UK beer market in December 2015 following the acquisition of the Hofmeister trademarks from Heineken UK, David co-founded The Hofmeister Brewing Company Ltd and Hofmeister Enterprises Ltd with the sole intention of re-launching this iconic 80’s brand. However, unlike the original, this time it would be a genuine premium imported beer; an authentic Helles lager brewed in the heart of Bavaria, Germany, according to the Reinheitsgebot of 1516. 

John Stapleton, Entrepreneur

John is an entrepreneur, business leader, CEO & Non-Executive Director with over 25 years’ experience in creating and building consumer brands in the FMCG sector in both the UK and the USA. A founder of three start-ups, John is an expert at developing new and innovative consumer-focused products & categories and has wide-ranging experience in operational management and strategic leadership roles. Currently, John actively manages a Non-Executive Director portfolio and consults to the food and beverage industry, providing business advice, guidance, coaching and mentoring to both early-stage and developed growth-phase businesses. John leverages his over 25 years’ experience in starting and growing his businesses to assist other organisations deliver their growth aspirations. 

John co-founded the New Covent Garden Soup Co Ltd in 1987, which pioneered and established the fresh soup category in the UK. In 1998 he moved to San Francisco, where he co-founded Glencoe Inc., bringing the fresh soup concept to the United States. On returning to live in Europe in 2003, John established a consumer food consultancy and has worked with a number of varied clients across the FMCG sector in the UK and central Europe. He has worked with a wide range of companies including both large corporations and numerous start-up and growth-phase businesses. In 2005, John co-founded Little Dish which supplies fresh, natural foods for children over 1 year. Little Dish, which created and established the toddler chilled food category, can be found in all national UK High Street retailers and is the dominant brand in chilled toddler food. John is a graduate of UCD (Industrial Microbiology); Reading University (Food Science); The University of Westminster (Business Administration and Finance) and holds a marketing qualification from the Chartered Institute of Marketing (UK). John lives in Munich, Germany and speaks fluent German.

Joanna Walker, Food Sales & Marketing Consultant, Purple Basil Ltd

Joanna Walker is a food retail expert with experience gained from Buying, Product Development, Marketing as well as National Account Management at companies including Marks and Spencer, Sainsbury’s, Netto UK and a Bakery manufacturer. Jo has managed food categories worth over £400m in sales turnover, developed numerous category plans and award winning private label products and led marketing strategies and research plans aimed at delivering profitable growth.

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