Norwich-based professor wins prestigious farming lecture award

A Professor at Norwich Business School has won the 2020 Nuffield Farming Lecture Award, which will see him address the changing face of UK retail.

Andrew Fearne, of the University of East Anglia, will now give a lecture entitled ‘Brick-2-Click: How will the retail revolution impact on UK farmers?’

The lecture, to be held in the summer of 2020, will look at the possible opportunities for farmers arising from the evolution of the food retailing environment.

“The global agri-food sector is entering a period of significant, some would argue unprecedented, uncertainty, driven by political, economic, social, environmental and technological change,” said Prof. Fearne.

How consumers buy their food is changing rapidly. What changes will cascade back to the farmer as a result, and how we can capitalise on them, will lie at the heart of my study.

The Award is presented biennially by Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, and Prof. Fearne will be provided with a grant to research and prepare his talk over the next 18 months.

Commenting on his hopes for the lecture, Prof. Fearne said: “The 2020 Nuffield farming lecture presents an exciting opportunity to explore the potential impact of the retail revolution on UK farmers, through a multi-disciplinary lens that extends across the global agri-food sector, from primary production to food consumption, from life science to lifestyles.”

Prof. Fearne, an applied researcher, began his career at the NFU, before holding positions at the University of Newcastle, Imperial College and the University of Kent.

Mike Vacher, director of Nuffield Farming Scholarships Trust, added that: “The consumer interface with business is undoubtedly changing, and how food retail evolves in the future will certainly impact on farmers.

“This award will enable Prof. Fearne to explore this crucial area in detail over 18 months of travel and research, and will provide findings that can develop and promote new thinking that can benefit UK agriculture and society at large,” he added.