The Food and Drink Federation has pledged to double the number of apprentices in their sector and to encourage more young people to enrol on food engineering courses. The FDF hosted a fringe meeting at the Liberal Democrat conference in Brighton.
Terry Jones, Director of Communications for the FDF indicated that more innovation was needed. He said, the industry needs to meet the global food challenge of "producing more from less, with less impact on the environment".
He also stated that the food manufacturing industry could could grow by 20 per cent by 2020.
The President of the National Farmers Union, Peter Kendall said UK farmers needed to produce more to "reverse the gradual decline" of agricultural production.
He argued that farmers should not go to government "cap in hand" asking for subsidies. Instead politicians could help farmers to make better investments.
The newly appointed Liberal Democrat Defra Minister David Heath said he would be "fighting very hard" for British interests when it came to CAP reform.
He was also passionate about putting the interests of rural Britain higher on the political agenda. On the issues brought about by the recent protests by dairy farmers over milk prices, Heath said profitability and sustainability in agriculture were not mutually exclusive.
While he was committed to protecting the environment he said he recognised that farming was vital to producing the country's food needs.
Liberal Democrat president, Tim Farron MP warned that food scarcity was potentially a bigger crisis than the recession or climate change.
Rising global populations meant demand for food would nearly double by 2050, he estimated, meanwhile the UK's ability to feed its population had seen a "terrifying" drop.
Farron said that farmers should be leading the fight on climate change given how much it affected them. He added that land which could be farmed, should be farmed.
DEFRA spokesperson in the House of Lords, Baroness Kate Parminter, outlined environmental challenges such as greenhouse gas emissions, loss of biodiversity and water scarcity.
She suggested the government consider fiscal measures such as fat taxes to encourage healthy eating and combat obesity.