Charles Banks Looks Back on 10 Years of the tfp Trend Summit

I can't quite believe it's 10 years since our 1st trend summit! 10 years ago, 90 curious innovators and change makers gathered at Pierre Koffmann's, 'Koffmann's at The Berkley Hotel' for our inaugural trend summit. Back then I vividly remember seeing the open eyes and mouths of attendees as I introduced the term 'Flexitarian', now a very familiar part our food lexicon. That'll never catch on, a few people told us! In addition, Personalised Coca-Cola bottles arrived on the scene, a Pop Tart renaissance was kickstarted, kale became THE vegetable of the moment, Chia were the seed of choice, Five Guys arrived in the UK (followed shortly thereafter by Shake Shack), mug cakes were the hottest thing since sliced bread, and Dominique's Cronut made its debut in New York and immediately stole our hearts - where would we be without the Cronut?!

Over the 10 summits, the format has changed and evolved with the times. The first six events were in person, the numbers growing each year, our final in person event over 450 people joined us. We've has some amazing chefs cater for our events, after Koffmann, it was the turn of Koffmann protégé Bruno Loubet, followed by the amazing traders at Hawker House, Isaac McHale from Clove Club and then a succession of events by Tom Kerridge. Then alas COVID brought an end to the in-person format. From 2020, our annual trend summit has been online, we made it free to access, meaning that many more attendees in many more countries could join - putting food trend foresight in the hands of many more people within the industry.

Over the last 10 summits we've welcomed over 12,000 attendees from 58 different countries and 123 incredible speakers and inspire and informed our audiences.

The speakers and topics that we've covered have been equally wide ranging over the years. From fire cooking, cellular agriculture, plant-based cooking, regenerative agriculture, eco labelling and foodservice robotics to veganism, gut health, on-demand delivery, fish butchery, Gen Z & Gen Alpha, Low and No, kitchen design and street food. The amazing speakers have included Henry Dimbleby MBE, social influencer Poppy O'Toole, Dr Giles Yeo, fashion guru Jane Kellock, generational insights master Emma Worrollo, Founder of BOL Paul Brown and Founder of the Social Pantry Alex Head as well as co-founder of Veganuary, Matthew Glover, CEO of Foundation Earth, Cliona Howie, Club Soda Founder Laura Willoughby, Bio & Me Founder Megan Rossi, through to Future Food Movement and Veris Strategies founder, Kate Cawley, CEO of New Age Meats Brian Spears, along with Strategic Forecaster, Risk Expert and Advisor to the British Government, Dr Chris Parry CBE and Cellular Agriculture guru Ira Van Eelen.

The chefs, wow the chefs that we've welcomed to the stage have been the true innovators and pioneers of the food and culinary world. They have included the legend that is Pierre Koffmann, Claire Clark MBE, Josh Niland, Tomos Parry, Andrew Wong, Doug McMaster, Kirk Haworth, Paul Ainsworth, Gurdeep Loyal, Chantelle Nicholson, Chetan Sharma, Judi Joo, Anna Hansen, Tom Aikens, David Carter, Atul Kochhar, Ben Tish, Jeremy Chan and Ire Hassan-Odukale, Derek Sarno, Justin James and Ross Lusted.

There are some moments that really stick in my mind when I reflect on the 10 summits….waiting for the guests to arrive at our first event and realising that the date on the invite was wrong, we thought nobody would turn up (thankfully they did)! Having the honour of welcoming the great Pierre Koffmann to the stage(s) and his line 'the difference between a good meal and a great meal is salt and pepper'! Derek Sarno swearing like a trooper! Doug McMaster lambasting the meat industry for his view on its practices with most of the meat industry in the room! Isaac McHale blowing the electrics at Shoreditch Town Hall while frying the chicken for his signature Buttermilk Fried Chicken with Pine Salt! Presenting Tomos Parry with a birthday cake as the event was on his birthday and getting 450 people singing happy birthday! Feeling the hairs on the back of my neck stand up listening to Henry Dimbleby talk about the problems with our food system and kids food provision.

One moment stands out more than all the others though, when in 2020 when we launched the TFP Foundation and our collaboration with the incredible team at Chefs in Schools, who work tirelessly to shift food and drink provision in schools across the UK. I and our entire team are humbled everyday by their work. Since then, through our commitment to donate 1% of revenue, the sales from our e-book and our public speaking, we've donated almost £100k to support their critical work. There is so much food inequality in our schools, too many kids rocking up to school too hungry to learn, so many children that have an unhealthy relationship with food. Change must start in schools and with our next generations.

This year we have another amazing speaker line up where we'll be discussing Ultra Processed Foods, Circular (but commercial) Food System, Vertical Farming, the Jamie Oliver brand as well as unveiling the highlights of our 2024/25 Food and Drink Trend Framework as well as the Cuisines, Gastronomy and Ingredients foresight.

My final thought goes to our incredible team TFP without whom we simply couldn't be, we couldn't have one trend summit, never mind 10. You can take all the data in the world, harvested from all corners of the food and drink landscape and beyond but it's the power of Human Wisdom, applied to quite literally millions of unique instances of trend manifestation, that unlocks the true foresight. The unity of Team TFP and their almost 600+ years of combined multi-disciplinary experience is at the heart of what we do.

So 10 summits in, it served as a poignant inflection point, it's certainly been quite a ride, I'm looking forward to the next ten years!

Charles Banks