At the 35th AECOC Congress of Mass Consumption in Valencia on 28th October, Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber highlighted the social and economic changes that COVID-19 will cause and the impact this will have on the food sector. Faber notes that the pandemic has caused “a profound crisis in our way of life, which forces us to change the way we approach our business, and from which we will not emerge if we do not rethink our relationship with nature and food will be a socially and politically relevant issue in the coming years.”
Regarding the consequences that this will have on the food sector, he stressed the importance of maintaining the joint work of the entire chain, which allowed guaranteeing the supply of the stores during confinement, and pointed to the two major trends that will mark the future of food: relocation and sustainability.
“At present, only six plants provide 75% of the caloric intake of humans, and the same happens with animals: the virus has shown that we will be stronger if we cluster the industry.” To face the change, Faber proposes to promote a production system that is more committed to proximity and that values local diets and food products. “We need to reconnect with nature and be more sustainable by producing what the climate and soil of each place ask of us.”
Faber argues that this broader and more inclusive view of doing business in the food industry will not only be a sector initiative, but will be driven by consumers themselves. “Users ask brands for much more; they want to know who is behind the companies and how we accompany them in this health, economic and social crisis, so we must lead the way.”
Looking ahead, the CEO of Danone has ensured that
“consumers are discovering new realities about food that are leading to an awareness that will not disappear.” Along the same lines of argument, he has advanced that “this crisis is going to last long enough to change our way of life.”