Plans for a food chain best practice centre have been put forward by a government sponsored study to predict the needs of the industry over the next 10 years. The Food Chain and Crops Industry Foresight Panel, made up of leading figures from all parts of the industry, has recommended that IGD and food research bodies should establish a best practice centre. The recommendation is contained in a report by the group, published this week after 18 months of work. Birds Eye Wall's chairman Iain Ferguson, who was on the main panel managing the report, said the Foresight project was set up to determine what skills and capabilities would be required by the industry in the next 10 years. He emphasised the group was not a talking shop: "We have come up with very practical steps that organisations which already exist have agreed to carry out." Jon Woolven, IGD's director responsible for new developments, said the best practice centre would be of most value to smaller businesses which find it difficult to afford to invest in best practice. He said: "The centre could help small businesses in two ways. The first would be in collection of data to enable them to benchmark themselves against other companies in their sector. The second would be to develop collaboration along the food chain from retailers back to growers to develop best practice." The report also recommended the Food Standards Agency should establish a forum comprising retailers, producers and consumers to promote a healthy diet. - A second Foresight report, by the Retail and Consumer Services Panel, called for pilot projects to demonstrate the role retailing could play in city centre regeneration and the use of local shops or post offices as centres for e-commerce in rural and urban areas. However no organisations were given the task of taking these recommendations forward. {{NEWS }}