New initiatives to extend IGD's role as grocery's central research and educational body, including building an international profile, were promised this week by incoming chairman, Rob Knight. But adding value to its range of services will not mean going cap in hand to members. Knight told The Grocer: "I'm determined to create the freedom for the organisation to reinvest without asking the food industry for higher subscriptions." Knight, who is Pedigree Masterfoods sales director, and recently succeeded Birds Eye Wall's' Tony Pearce as IGD chairman, said: "IGD has grown up during the past few years from simply being an academic group to something at the very heart of grocery. "But while it receives fantastic support, there are still companies who don't fully appreciate the role it plays. I aim to change that and build on the progress of recent years." And despite being widely respected as an influential body in MAFF and wider government circles, IGD is not, Knight insisted, becoming a political lobby group. "We are a research and educational organisation and we want to be the leading light in consumer attitude research. We're not into spin. We present the facts about the trade in a balanced way." Meanwhile, higher membership is a Knight priority. IGD has over 500 member firms, and the total has grown at the rate of 50 new companies in each of the past three years. However, most are in England, and during the next three years Knight plans to raise IGD's profile in Scotland, Wales and Ireland. He also has global ambitions. "There are plenty of opportunities to raise our international profile through links with like minded-bodies in other countries, especially in mainland Europe." Recently, IGD began an association with the Eurohandels Institute in Germany, and Knight believes similar unions can be effected in other EU states. On the domestic front, he sees the IGD extending its reach across other parts of the food chain, including agriculture and foodservice. The NFU is already a member and Knight hopes farmers will join its ranks. Talks have begun with the NFU about young farmers becoming part of IGD's Leading Edge network for young managers. Later this year IGD launches a careers service on its internet site. {{NEWS }}