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Sainsbury’s boss set to co-chair food economy taskforce

Sainsbury’s boss set to co-chair food economy taskforce

Justin King, the current boss of UK supermarket Sainsbury's, is set to co-chair a new taskforce that will aim to find ways in which to boost the UK's food economy by establishing partnerships with businesses, universities and the government.

One of the main areas will be to focus on providing high-quality graduates for research needed to help the UK remain competitive in the international market.

Mr King said that it was vital to continue to both attract and develop young talent and new technologies.

He said: "The agri-food sector is one of the most important industries in the UK which is why it is important to plan for the future now. Last week Sainsbury's proudly launched a graduate scheme dedicated to British agriculture, which adds to the 80 graduate placements we've offered in just the last five years."

Mr King will co-chair the group with Quintin McKellar, a professor and vice chancellor at the University of Hertfordshire, while a whole host of other experts from across the industry will also be invited to take part.

Mr McKellar claimed that one of the biggest challenges currently facing the industry was that of ensuring it was resistant to extreme weather and other disrupting events. He added that it would require innovative graduates, as well as ground breaking research.

Dr David Doherty, chief executive at the National Centre for Universities and Businesses, will also be on the taskforce, and said the venture was set to make a major impact.

He said: "Industry and higher education must unite to tackle the challenges of creating and sustaining a world-leading food sector."

The news has been welcomed by MP George Freeman, life science advisor to the government.

He stated his belief that the UK was a world leader in the food industry and said that this was an ideal opportunity for it to work with some of the countries top scientific researchers, all with the help of the government.

He also confirmed that the main aim of the taskforce was to help reach new and emerging markets.


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