Food producers face a rapidly changing world, filled with both opportunities and challenges. Global increases in beef demand. Increasing numbers of regulatory governing bodies in the food chain. Raised cynicism among consumers regarding food safety and traceability in light of “Horsegate” and other similar problems. There is much to consider. The ability of groups to effectively brand and differentiate themselves is key, agreed panelists during Monday’s Food I session.
“Trust is the key word,” noted Steve Sands of Performance Food Group. Philip Wilkinson of 2 Sisters Food Group agreed, noting that issues such as Horsegate and recent reports of pork in Halal products also have recently raised alarm in consumers. “It raises the profile enormously on labeling, ingredients, and mostly on traceability tests that what you’re getting is what it says on the tin,” he said. Henry Van de Velde of HyLife also agreed. The food business used to be all about cost, he noted. “Now, it’s about traceability in the Twitter world. Animal welfare and focusing on what’s right…those will be the game changers moving forward.”