Thought Leadership on the Food Sector from the City of London.

The City Food Lecture is an annual, invitation-only high profile fixture in the City of London and international food industry calendars. Held every February, the Lecture is delivered by a leading figure in the British food business who is invited to speak about the issues they regard as most important in shaping the way food is produced, distributed, marketed, sold and consumed. An expert panel then debates and explores the subject as well as wider questions from the audience   A buffet supper is then served in the Old Library.

The food sector contributes over £112 billion to the UK economy and evokes many areas of debate including sustainability, its carbon footprint, exports and imports post Brexit, the key role it plays in the physical and mental health of our people, sourcing, diversification and custodianship and much more. The City Food Lecture provides an excellent opportunity for discussion and debate on current and future food issues and encourage innovative thinking.  

Held in the Great Hall at the prestigious Guildhall , the evening is attended by over 650 from across the food sector.


The event is organised by the seven City livery companies whose roots are in the food industry – namely the Worshipful Companies of Bakers, Butchers, Cooks, Farmers, Fishmongers, Fruiterers and Poulters.

Worshipful Company of Bakers

The Company is the City’s second-oldest recorded trade guild, being first mentioned in the ‘Pipe-Rolls’ of Henry II in 1155. Often blamed for the Great Fire of London, in which it lost its Hall, the Company has been in residence at Harp Lane since 1506. Its modern raison d’etre is its links to support the baking industry, particularly at the grassroots level of bakery education.

Worshipful Company of Butchers

The Butchers’ Company can trace its history as far back as 975 AD when, in the Ward of Farringdon Without, a Butchers’ Hall existed. Today, the Company is a vibrant organisation supporting an active trade by way of training, education and charitable work. Almost all its members are involved in the meat industry and thus share a common value in good fellowship.

Worshipful Company of Cooks

Receiving its first Royal Charter in 1482, the Cooks’ Company supports apprentice chefs training at Westminster Kingsway College and sponsors catering competitions across the industry and in the armed services. It also funds major charitable projects related to education and catering, through the ‘Adopt a Chef’ programme for schools and by making grants to charities such as Crisis UK, The Clink and the Treloar Trust.

Worshipful Company of Farmers

A “modern Company”, the Farmers’ Company is active in the agricultural industry – promoting a better understanding of farming in the life of the nation; stimulating the development of agricultural education; and organising, promoting and sponsoring leadership and management courses at leading agricultural colleges.

Worshipful Company of Fishmongers

Since the 13th century the Fishmongers’ Company has exercised charter and statutory powers regarding the fish industry. Today it continues to promote a healthy, prosperous and sustainable fish and fisheries sector for the long-term benefit of the United Kingdom. The Company’s support for the sector includes making charitable and other grants for scientific research and educational purposes and encouraging rational, science-based debate of current issues, including sustainability.

Worshipful Company of Fruiterers

Over the 700 years of its history, the Company has assumed different roles. Today the Company promotes excellence across all sectors of the fruit industry, as well as supporting education and research. It is active in raising funds and giving to charity. Half of its members are involved in the fresh produce industry.

Worshipful Company of Poulters

The Poulters’ Company, in common with other livery companies, was founded in the Middle Ages to control the provision of services and the manufacture and the selling of goods and food. The Company’s charitable role is increasing and it is active in promoting research and education in the trade through its charitable trusts, with a strong nucleus of members from the various branches of the poultry industry.

The 2020 Lecture was held on 20th February and can be viewed on our past lectures page.

Tickets are invitation only, however if you would like to express interest in attending the event, please contact Jeff Mason at cfl@butchershall.com.

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