New NFMFT conference structure sees attendance fall

The National Federation of Meat and Food Traders' annual conference has been called "very positive" by chief executive Graham Bidston, despite attendance of just 58.

"We would have liked, naturally, more people," said Bidston, of the event, which was held in Lincolnshire on Sunday 15 October and Monday 16 October.

Those attending saw presentations by Phil Davis of EBLEX, who spoke about trends in consumer marketing; Steve Smith of Anthony Rowcliffe & Son, who spoke about delicatessen products; Noel Dawson of Lucas Ingredients who spoke about spices; and Graham Bidston, who spoke about how to recruit staff, and if the worst happens, how to sack them.

This year saw a new structure for the conference, which divorced it from the AGM. Bidston was "delighted with it" and said talk over lunch was positive.

Butcher George Debman went, and said that although the changes were "certainly in the right direction" and the presentations were interesting, it was lacking in terms of practical demonstrations for butchers or events such as sausage competitions. "The federation need to be really radical," he said.

Debman suggested a partnership with the BPEX product evaluation roadshows would solve this problem, and the talks could take place while judging of the products was happening.

Bidston said he was looking at taking the conference format around the country, but said nothing had been formalised.

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