13 March 2019 – During an industry leaders’ panel at the 6th Global Feed and Food Congress today, Nutreco, Alltech and Cargill expressed their clear optimism regarding the feed and food industry and what’s in store. The sentiment is that the sector is certainly on the right track, but is it doing enough?

The industry is and will be confronted with a massive amount of change, but as Dr. Rob Koremans, CEO of Nutreco pointed out: “we have a tremendous amount of knowledge available in our sector, but sometimes we seem to make life a bit difficult for each other.”

“We have to invest heavily in technology and deliver on the promises,” added Joe Stone, Executive Vice President and Chief Risk Officer at Cargill.

“We are ready to tackle the challenges but we should start moving,” Dr. Koremans went on to stress.

For Dr. Mark Lyons, President and CEO of Alltech, our industry is already producing food in a responsive and flexible way, but ultimately it’s the consumer who will decide.

“We absolutely must communicate to consumers more. But will they accept the changes? Yes, we need to bring the new technologies in. But the perception of consumers and the reality of situations are totally different things,” he commented.

For Dr. Lyons, Dr. Koremans and Mr. Stone, the issue is that if you lose the consumers’ trust, it is hard to recover. And the sector needs to be somehow more transparent as it builds trust with them.

“We have to change the consumer’s vision of our industry, Mr. Stone said.

For Dr. Lyons, the solution may be in the transparency and in the stories the industry tells. “People connect via stories. We have to be story-tellers,” he said.

Adding onto that, Dr. Koremans argued: “We can make a difference together. Let’s be proactive. The awareness in this industry and the willingness to work together is huge.”

Today, there may be a disconnect with the consumer but the food system will be completely different in the future as views on protein consumption and quality will without doubt be different than those of today.

“Farms will be more connected to the consumers. The networks we have today will be transformed,” argued Mr. Stone.

The future is also going to be strategic for partnerships and different parties will enter the industry that we haven’t even heard of.

According to Dr. Koremans, it’s a matter of working together and there is space for everyone in this industry.

And though there will inevitably be disruptions moving forward, there will still be opportunities.

As Dr. Lyons said, we have a responsibility as large companies to make small holders and by extension benefit from the new and emerging technologies our sector will be taking on-board.

“Sharing the technologies will ultimately make a good business case,” he commented.