Discover what happened at our Women in Food Tech Event
In our week of celebrations around International Women’s Day we held a fascinating panel where strong voices of women in food tech shared their journeys and thoughts for the future. Here’s a recap of the night which was part of The Future of Food Meetup Series from Forward Fooding.
Lesley Stonier, CMO of Forward Fooding & Mecca Ibrahim, co-founder of Women in the Food Industry gave a brief introduction to their work. You can find out more about Lesley in our interview and podcast with her last year but in a nutshell Forward Fooding works to help create partnerships between established food organisations and startups to create a brighter future of food. She believes that big brands can learn a lot from start ups.
“Big corporates spend millions creating brand stories and brand identities to create trust with their audiences. Whereas entrepreneurs and start ups already have that story – the journey of the founder to where they are right now and having that passion and desire to go out there and bring their product to the world”.
We then went on to discover the stories of how Olivia, Hara and Tarryn came into food tech and some of the missions they have for their companies.
Starting with Olivia O’Brien who is Business Development Director at Growing Underground, the underground farm based in Clapham, London. Olivia joined Growing Underground in March 2016. Since then she has managed all areas of the business and has helped steer its strategic trajectory through various stages of growth with a focus on Operations, Sales and Technical Compliance.
She shared how 33m below the streets of London, Growing Underground are producing fresh vegetables and herbs in a disused bomb shelter and tube tunnel. Farms like this are a glimpse into the future of food production. We learnt how investors, such as Ocado, are installing hydroponic farms in their warehouses. It was also fascinating to hear how the system at Growing Underground uses 70% less water versus traditional open-field farming methods. This year round production negates seasonality, the necessity to import produce and also drastically reduces food miles for retailers and consumers. Additionally all of their crops are free from pesticides.
Hara Mihailidou is co-Founder of Todelli a curated online #farmtotable marketplace for chefs & restaurateurs. Hara has been in the tech industry for more than 6 years as a User Experience Designer and Director. She was previously a Head of Design & UX at the Lloyds Banking Group, at JustGiving and at Microsoft & Skype where she designed solutions for millions of users.
Hara grew up in a family where everything was coming from their farm straight to their table. She spoke of the importance of putting people & the user experience of what they do at Todelli first as her career in the technology space has taught her.
Tarryn founded Kafoodle in 2014 to help foodservice businesses better manage and communicate allergen information following the EU food information regulations. Her Mum was a Cordon Bleu trained chef. This ignited a passion in the hospitality industry that has not been dampened since.
Previously Tarryn spent 12 years in hospitality strategy, sales, marketing and management. She is a proud supporter of women in business and STEM as well as supporting food businesses with their challenges.
Tarryn shared her belief that when the right technology is introduced and embraced, it can provide operators with simpler and better controls and consumers with the information they need to make safer and healthier food choices.
After the panellists talks and a Q& A with the audience we had a short talk from Aida Khan – founder of Shola Kitchen. Aida’s restaurant is next door to Forward Fooding at White City Place and she shared her story of bringing flavourful Pakistani food from the streets of Karachi to West London.
Thanks to all of the above for being so generous and to MyLegoman for her photos of the event.
You may also like to read our Interview & listen to our podcast with Lesley Stonier from Forward Fooding and our Interview with Aida Khan at Shola Kitchen.
Watch this space for recaps of our International Women’s Day events and look out for more events in 2020 by following all of our social media channels. We are on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn and you can also sign up for our email newsletter. Plus Women in the Food Industry members receive discounted tickets to all of our events.